Better With Popcorn

Grossman trade leaves room for future moves

It is the first step in the right direction.

With the addition of defenseman Nicklas Grossman, the Philadelphia Flyers have addressed one of their biggest weaknesses.

"He is experienced, he is a bigger body and he is a good solid defensive defenseman,” general manager Paul Holmgren said on Thursday night. “He can kill penalties for us and play regular shifts. He can chew up minutes. Like I said, he is a big body."

Standing at 6’4”, 230 lbs., it certainly is accurate to say he has a big body.

Grossman’s physicality is probably the strongest element of his game. With 96 hits this season and 100 blocked shots (the most of any other player on the Dallas Stars), his ability to create congestion in the defensive zone is something that the Flyers desperately need.

Although offense isn’t his strong suit, the organization believes that he is a player that can help the group transition out of their own zone.

“I think he is going to give us a boost here in our own zone and get us out of our end quickly because he makes a good first pass,” Holmgren said. “He is not a guy that is going to put up a lot of points, but he is a good all around defenseman."

Much of the talk since the start of December has revolved around the Flyers needing to add a defenseman to improve their standing as a contender in the Eastern Conference.

While Grossman is a great addition considering the price (two draft picks), he isn’t a game changer. This move was to shore up the defense, not solidify it.

"It is just adding to the depth,” Holmgren said of the move. “So, it was more of adding experience, bigger body and depth."

With the deadline just ten days away, the Flyers still have plenty of time to continue to tweak their roster.

It was largely expressed that the team was looking to add a defenseman, meaning a single individual, to come in and replace Chris Pronger. It now is becoming more apparent that they club may be thinking in the plural sense.

Considering how inexpensive Grossman was in terms of what it took to get him, as well as how inexpensive it is to keep him (a $1.625 million cap hit that will expire at the end of the season), the team is still in position to be active before the February 27 deadline passes.

"This is a crazy time,” Holmgren said when asked about possible future moves. “There are a lot of conversations going on and you never know what might come up."

As was stated by Dustin Leed of The Hockey Guys on Flyers Corner, the Flyers have a lot of assets in terms of draft picks that other teams will be interested in. While many fans fear losing one of the team’s many young stars, it may not take that kind of package to bring in another defender.

However, they do need to trade at least one player to bring in a player because they are currently at the contract limit of 50. 

By acquiring Grossman, the Flyers give themselves more leverage when negotiating future deals. With the team starved for defensive help, other teams may have been able to ask for more because the Flyers were coming to the table in desperation.

Now they are in better position with a little more depth.

Realistically though, the Flyers are going to need more than that to truly contend with the Eastern Conference elites, which is why another deal (possibly deals) could be in the works.


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