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5 Players the Philadelphia Flyers Could Pursue Via Free Agency or Trade

After the Flyers’ big signing of 33-year old Vincent Lecavealier, there is a lot of excitement, but also uncertainty surrounding the team. What will they do about the salary cap? Will they address the defense? Is another move coming? It is likely more moves are to follow at some point this offseason, and it could happen soon as free agency opens this Friday, July 5th. There are several intriguing names available. Here are five moves to watch for in free agency or by way of a trade.

1. LW Viktor Stalberg or Damien Brunner, UFA

Stalberg with the Blackhawks (via Committed Indians)

Viktor Stalberg is a 27-year old, 6’3″, 210-pound left winger. He was a member of the Stanley Cup-winning Chicago Blackhawks this past season. He was mainly used as a depth player and averaged around 12 minutes per game. Stalberg averaged about 2 takeaways per 60 minutes and he is one of the fastest skaters in the league. He scored 22 goals in 2011-2012, which shows he has offensive upside. For a team that always wants to get bigger and faster, Stalberg could be a nice fit in Philly and be a solid third liner.

Damien Brunner is a 27-year old winger, who stands at 5’10”, 176 pounds. He is a very talented player who just came over from Sweden to play in the NHL last season. He has a very good shot and skilled playmaking abilities. Brunner received ice time with Henrik Zetterberg early on and performed extremely well before hitting a wall midway through the year. He bounced back towards the end and finished the season with 12 goals and 14 assists. Brunner added a very respectable 5 goals and 4 assists in 14 playoff games for the Detroit Red Wings. Considering it was his first year in the NHL, Brunner had quite a successful season. He still has upside to keep improving his game and becoming more consistent. Like Stalberg, he would not break the bank and he would help improve the Flyers already solid depth.

2. G Tim Thomas, UFA

It’s no secret the Flyers need another goalie. Names like Ryan Miller, Jaroslav Halak, and Ray Emery have been brought up a lot, but a much more likely candidate is Tim Thomas. Yes, the heavily outspoken, sometimes controversial, former Stanley Cup and Vezina Trophy-winning Tim Thomas. Thomas took a year off of hockey last season but is looking to come back. It is believed as many as three teams are interested in him, and that includes Philadelphia. He has also said that the Flyers are intriguing to him and his agent, Bill Zito, met with them yesterday.

Thomas does come with question marks. What kind of level of play can he bring now? Is he still in playing shape? Still, Thomas is an appealing candidate. He should be able to play about 30 games, splitting time with Steve Mason. He can be a great mentor to Mason as well, just like he was for Boston netminder Tuuka Rask. Thomas would provide stability back there and give the Flyers hopefully two solid goaltenders. What will he cost is the big question. If it is under $3 million per year, it is extremely possible that Tim Thomas will be a Flyer next season.

3. D Jonathan Blum, UFA

Blum rips a one-timer (via Getty Images)

It is also no secret that the Flyers need help defensively. Even with the Mark Streit signing, the back end still needs help. The Nashville Predators decided against extending a qualifying offer to RFA Jonathon Blum. Blum is a 24-year old, 6’2″ 194 pound defenseman. He has a right-handed shot, which the Flyers could use, and he still has a lot of potential.

Blum was the 23rd overall pick in the 2007 draft. He has shown flashes of developing into the defenseman he was projected to be, but hasn’t put it all together yet. He has the potential to become a top 4 two-way defenseman who can log big minutes night in and night out. Blum would come cheap and he is a low-risk, high-reward player. For a team in dire need of defensive help, he is someone the Flyers need to go after in free agency.

4. Keith Yandle, Phoenix Coyotes

Yandle had 10 goals and 20 assists last season (via ThePinkPuck)

Keith Yandle, 26, is a well-known, top 4 defenseman in the NHL. He is more of an offensive defenseman, but is not a liability defensively. It was reported that the Flyers were trying to trade for him at the trade deadline but nothing got done. Now rumors have sparked again. It was believed that Phoenix wanted Sean Couturier-plus for Yandle.

With the recent signing of Lecavalier, it is easy to imagine that Couturier is much more expendable now. Yandle was 5th in the NHL for scoring defensemen last year. He is a very durable player as well and logs heavy minutes (22:15 minutes/game). Yandle has a steep price of $5.25 million and it is believed the asking price is very steep in a trade. A couple teams are interested in Yandle and that could drive the price up even more. He would be hard to acquire, obviously, but it is a possibility.

5. Zach Bogosian, Winnipeg Jets

Bogosian could really help the Flyers (via TheScore)

Zach Bogosian is a big, 22-year old defenseman with a right-handed shot for the Winnipeg Jets. He is currently a RFA and in my opinion, the Flyers should be pushing very hard to trade for him. Bogosian was drafted 3rd overall in 2008, which was a draft loaded with defenseman. He is a good skater and a solid all-around player. Bogosian will give you heavy minutes and around 30 points in a full season. He can rush the puck up the ice and has a heavy shot.

Bogosian also logs big minutes and can shut down opposing forwards. He would be a ginormous addition to the Flyers defense corps, and would not cost as much as Keith Yandle. A couple sources have said the Flyers and Jets are talking about a trade, and possible players available from Winnipeg are Dustin Byfuglien, Evander Kane, and Zach Bogosian. All three are excellent players, but I believe the Flyers should heavily pursue Bogosian, as he would solve a lot of problems, and may not cost them as much. His is also incredibly high and he could be a top defenseman for the Flyers for a long time.

The Flyers have several options for this offseason. This is just 5 that I see as the most likely and helpful for the team. Sorry fans, no Bobby Ryan on here. Bobby Ryan is a possibility still, but the price is believed to be extremely high and there are bigger needs to fulfill. Bringing Bobby back home may have to wait a while longer, but with Paul Holmgren, you never know. Buckle up though, as it should be a very interesting couple weeks coming up.

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Categories: Beat Writing, Flyers

Author:pwpollock

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