After a brutal third period in a 6-4 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Philadelphia Flyers acquired defenseman Pavel Kubina from the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for forward Jon Kalinski, a 2nd round pick, and a 2013 4th round pick. The 2nd round pick can be used in either the 2012 or 2013 draft, the Flyers acquired that pick last summer in the trade that sent Kris Versteeg to the Florida Panthers. To make room on the roster for Kubina, the Flyers sent rookie defenseman Marc-Andre Bourdon to the AHL’s Adirondack Phantoms.
According to capgeek.com, the trade leaves the Flyers with about $521,232 in cap space. While that number may be small, word is spreading that the Flyers may not have made their biggest splash yet and could still acquire the captain of the Columbus Blue Jackets, forward Rick Nash. TSN’s Darren Dreger reports that the asking price for Nash is some combination of forwards James van Riemsdyk, Brayden Schenn, Sean Couturier, and goalie Sergei Bobrovsky. The Flyers would need to move some serious salary to be able to fit Nash’s $7.8 million cap hit into their budget.
The Flyers have been slumping in the month of February having gone 3-5-1. For the most part, the offense has been lacking and the goaltending has been brutal. $51 million goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov was pulled in the second period of today’s game and said afterwards, “I’m trying to find the peace in my soul to play in this city.” Not very comforting words from the man signed
to be the franchise goaltender for the next nine years.
The recent play of Bryzgalov and Bobrovsky have forced the Flyers to add the depth to their blue line, they started on Thursday when they acquired Niklas Grossman from the Dallas Stars and continued it today when they added Kubina. If the Flyers trade Bobrovsky before the deadline, they will most likely have to go out and acquire a cheap veteran goalie to backup, or replace, Bryzgalov, the most recent rumors have them going after New York Islanders’ goalie Evgeni Nabokov. In comparison to Bryzgalov, Nabokov allows .6 goals per game less and boasts a save percentage of .925%, .024 higher.
One reason the Flyers could be interested in Nash is that their division rival, and arguably the best team in the NHL right now, the New York Rangers are rumored to be one of the frontrunners in the Nash sweepstakes. Adding Nash to the Rangers would not be good for the rest of the league as they are already one of the best defensive teams allowing 1.96 goals per game, good enough to be second in the league. The only problem with New York is that their offense only scores 2.77 goals per game which puts them in 11th place. Nash could be the missing piece that could put this team over the top.
The Flyers do not need to acquire a guy like Rick Nash, but putting him on a line with guys like Claude Giroux or Danny Briere could be absolutely lethal. Nash, Kubina, and Grossman could help the Flyers overcome shaky goaltending and make a run at the Stanley Cup. Don’t forget that it was only two years ago when the Flyers made a run with Ryan Parent and Lukas Krajicek as their fifth and sixth defenseman and Michael Leighton and Brian Boucher as their primary goaltenders. The Flyers may have the deepest blue line in the Eastern Conference now, even without captain Chris Pronger who has been sidelined since November with a concussion. If Bryzgalov can manage to “find his way out of the woods” and be solid down the stretch and into June, there could be an orange and black parade down Broad Street for the first time since 1975.