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Flyers Free Agency 2012: Philadelphia Will Try To Add Right-Handed Defenseman; A Look At All Available UFA Options

With the Stanley Cup Final out of the way, the NHL offseason can officially begin. For fans of the Philadelphia Flyers, this means that their attention is firmly focused upon the NHL Draft coming up on the weekend of June 22 and the start of free agency, which will begin on July 1.

At the top of every list regarding the Flyers’ needs is that of a defensemen. With Chris Pronger’s career considered all but over at this point, it is assumed by many that the Flyers will be looking to acquire someone capable of filling his void (as impossible as it may seem).

More realistically, the Flyers probably need to add a right-handed defensemen as well. With the exception of Pavel Kubina (who is not expected to return to the team next season), every other defenseman who dressed last year was left-handed.

This proved to be problematic, especially in the playoffs.

Via Elliot Friedman’s 30 Thoughts column:

“In discussing the New Jersey forecheck about a week ago, [Zach] Parise gave some insight into what Philadelphia will be looking for [this offseason]. Parise said one of the reasons the Devils successfully pressured the Flyers was the lack of a right-shot defenceman to move the puck on that side. The only one on the roster is Pavel Kubina, who was a healthy scratch for the series. “

The need for a right-handed shot was discussed at great lengths prior to the trade deadline, which was why Kubina was acquired. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out according to plan.

With that in mind, it certainly seems like Friedman is on point with his assessment of where the team will be looking to upgrade.

Listed below are the right-handed unrestricted free agent defensemen who potentially will be available at the start of free agency, unless they come to an agreement prior to reaching the open market.

Note: All statistics provided are based on last season; all three ‘time-on-ice’ values are averages. UFA status determined via information on CapGeek.com.

 

AGE

GP

TOI

PP

SH

BLOCKS

GIVEAWAYS

Aucoin, Adrian

38

64

20:14

:29

2:06

67

17

Bickel, Stu

25

51

10:26

N/A

:17

52

8

Brookbank, Sheldon

31

80

15:36

:04

1:49

110

29

Carkner, Matt

31

29

11:54

N/A

:53

26

6

Commodore, Mike

32

30

12:36

:02

:50

32

7

Corvo, Joe

35

75

18:48

2:24

:18

56

32

Eminger, Steve

28

42

13:16

:05

1:12

53

9

Flood, Mark

27

33

15:20

1:01

1:06

43

8

Foster, Kurtis

30

51

15:53

3:06

:10

35

17

Gervais, Bruno

27

50

14:16

:42

:47

63

14

Gilroy, Matt

27

67

17:30

:31

1:07

75

29

Harrold, Peter

28

11

14:36

:45

:12

11

2

Jurcina, Milan

28

65

18:46

:50

1:41

116

25

Martinek, Radek

35

7

19:26

:31

2:42

7

4

Reese, Dylan

27

28

17:05

:06

:43

25

12

Rozsival, Michal

33

54

19:19

:04

1:53

91

16

Salo, Sami

37

69

20:26

2:45

2:19

77

35

Sarich, Corey

33

62

16:06

:03

:53

60

39

Sauer, Kurt

31

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Staios, Steve

38

65

17:04

:03

1:41

140

32

Wideman, Dennis

29

82

23:54

3:16

1:56

132

68

 

As has been noted by several outlets, the free agency market is going to be slim this offseason and this is especially true of defenseman with a right-handed shot.

It is common knowledge that the Flyers like to acquire big names and with the Pronger situation where it is, there is no doubt that the club would love to acquire a player that solves that problem as well as the right-handed shot.

Unfortunately, that player doesn’t exist in this market.

Dennis Wideman is likely the most attractive right-handed UFA option and by all accounts he will be receiving a sizeable increase in salary this summer.

He is a capable puck-moving defenseman, who plays big minutes as well as in all situations. The issue rises that he isn’t strong in the defensive zone, isn’t as physical as he should be and turns the puck over a lot.

This doesn’t sound like the kind of player the Flyers are looking to add especially considering the problems they had in their own end this past season.

When looking at this market, there are plenty of depth guys who could be attractive additions for a single season but have shown inconsistencies in their game that may scare off some teams.

Players like Matt Gilroy, Milan Jurcina, Sheldon Brookbank and Bruno Gervias are all examples of these kinds of players. Some team will take a chance on them, but it probably won’t be the Flyers.

One other potential option could be college free agent Justin Schultz, who TSN's Bob McKenzie considers the third best free agent option this summer behind only Ryan Suter and Matt Carle.

Schultz recently informed the Anaheim Ducks that he plans to test the open market and while all 30 teams will make a play for his services, it would be in the Flyers best interest to at least kick the tires on this right-handed, big name prospect. 

Read more about Schultz, here

Unless the organization has plans to utilize Matt Walker, Blake Kessel or Tyler Hostetter for the right-handed shot (the only players currently in the Flyers system who fit that role), they are going to need to find someway to bring someone else in.

Whether it comes via the open market or by trade, a right-handed defenseman will probably be added prior to the 2012-13 season.

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