Better With Popcorn

Flyers turn down deals; Keep roster intact for playoff push

As 3 p.m. came and went, so too went with it the Philadelphia Flyers last opportunity to improve their team.

With the NHL trade deadline expiring Monday afternoon, the players currently on the Flyers roster were able to breath a sigh of relief for the first time in weeks.

Despite speculation as to the team’s interest in adding a depth forward (in addition to other surprising areas of possible interest), the organization decided to stand pat with their current roster.

"We like our team,” Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren told reporters. “We like the direction we're heading and we didn't want to do anything to disrupt that."

Considering that the Flyers are at the 50-contract limit (meaning any deal needed to involve a player), have minimal cap space and lack any expendable assets, it’s understandable why the team didn’t make a deal.

In addition, with so many teams still fighting for a spot in the playoffs, the price to add players was far too expensive for the Flyers.

Ultimately, any trade was going to be made for the sake of making a trade.

"There wasn't anything pitched to us that would have made us as good a team as we are now," Holmgren said to reporters.

The GM did admit that the team had at one time had interest in making a deal for Buffalo Sabres forward Paul Gaustad. However, the two teams couldn’t agree on value and after the Flyers traded for Nicklas Grossman and Pavel Kubina the discussions dissipated.

Gaustad ended up being packaged with a fourth-round pick to the Nashville Predators for a first-rounder.

While the Flyers could have used a forward of Gaustad’s likeness in their bottom-six, the reality of the situation is that even if they traded a first-rounder for him (which would have made little sense), the team already has a wealth of forwards who are doing a capable job.

Realistically, the most important improvement that needs to be made with the forwards is that they need to be grouped in consistent lines.

“They're not necessarily experiments,” said head coach Peter Laviolette at the start of February when asked about the different line combinations the team had been using.

“We're wacked with injuries constantly here […] That's part of the game and if it were up to me I'd rather just go with the status quo with the line-up and push forward with what needs to be changed.”

While they have found success more often than not, chemistry throughout the lineup and secondary scoring will be crucial in the push for the playoffs.

Especially considering the Flyers biggest weakness.

With the defense rounded out, Ilya Bryzgalov and Sergei Bobrovsky are going to have to put together stronger performances than they have thus far.

It had been reported late Sunday night that the team had interest in adding a number one goaltender.

On Monday, it was reported by several sources that the San Jose Sharks approached the Flyers with a one-for-one deal that would have swapped James van Riemsdyk for Sharks starting goaltender, Antti Niemi.

The Flyers flat out rejected the trade.

With a little over a month left in the season, the Flyers need to improve on these areas of weakness.

Holmgren stated that the team never came close to making any deals on deadline day, which means the organization feels the team is capable of working out the problems with their current personal.

Now, only time will tell if that was the smartest move of them all.


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