As the trade rumors thaw during these winter months, I have decided to give my own personal view on where the Philadelphia Flyers stand with who they may be open to trade and who they may get. Most of this is personal opinion and I do not mean to set off any Eklund like "buzz" (see what I did there?).
Who they could get
I think the Flyers should look into a 3rd line gritty winger who can put in the puck. Langenbrunner would have been the ideal guy but that didn't happen. Although Homer did try and I can't fault him for coming up short. The devils would have to be overpaid to trade within their division even if they are out of it this year. But a guy like that would bring so much to the table. He has playoff experience, grit and offensive skill. The Flyers would be smart to carry 10 top 9 forwards instead of the 9 they have now. Because if an injury should occur they are forced to bump Powe or Carcillo up to the third line. That throws off whatever line they are playing on because, honestly, they just can't play with the talent the Flyers are blessed to run through all 3 scoring lines. That is something that needs to be looked into. The Ducks may be willing to part with Teemu Selanne, who has an expiring contract and can still play with immense skill, depending on how the next week or so goes and its effect on their playoff picture. He would give Philadelphia more speed, more grit, more goals and a wealth of playoff experience and bring to the table one more cup ring. This would bump Nodl down to the 4th line, but in last year's playoffs Andreas Nodl was a huge factor down there.
Dont expect Vokoun.
FLA will want a young promising player for him. So unless Giroux Carter or JVR are expendable than Vokoun is likely out. Furthermore, the other goalies out there are no upgrades. The one that is, Nabokov, will have to clear re-entry waivers which is risky. The Blues lost Marek Svatos to the Predators just a week or so ago that same way. Unless another team signs him and the Flyers scoop up and get him, I think he is also out. Mike Smith from Tampa or even Dan Ellis may be available. But they are not as reliable as Brian Boucher and would make no sense. I think we are staying put between the pipes unless Holmgren can work an incredible deal.
Guys who could go
Carcillo will most likely not return next year and so to clear more cap he could easily be moved. He is not a piece we need at all, especially this year. He has only played a few games where his impact has been felt and with his poor defensive abilities, he does not see a lot of ice time in the playoffs (when not paired with Richards and Gagne who made up for that).
I could also see Oskars Bartulis being moved. He has enough upside to get value but not enough to make it a bad idea to let him go. Bourdon, Marshall and Gustaffson are all better D prospects than him--I feel they can afford it. Also his one way contract handcuffs the Flyers. He is not able to crack our top 6 but can't get AHL experience with only a one-way.
A few forum posters have been saying this may be a good time to get value for Nodl. But do not expect him to be going anywhere. Unless for a great return I think he stays. He is a great PKer and plays perfect for this system. Also since his scoring touch has been transitioned to the pro level, he will most likely be kept on board.
Zherdev is iffy. I want him to stay and bias aside I really do think he has more value in Philly than in a trade. His status as a UFA after this year and his skill-set makes him a piece to move to a cup contender. Which means they won't get anyone back in a trade they could use NOW. So what point would it be to give him up with games left to be played? He may get a good draft pick in return, but he would most likely get that same draft pick in June after the year is over.
I don't see any D moving besides Bartulis and maybe Walker. After last year, Homer will want to have a strong top 6, maybe even strong top 7. But Carle or Coburn may be moved after the year. maybe.
Hartnell is my pick as a "I wouldn't be surprised" move. He is having a good year and playing on a consistent line. However, his salary is a little too big and they may be able to get a similar player with less of a price tag in return if they pair him with Bartulis or a pick. The player coming back would be a winger who can help us win this year and would be a good future piece as well. The only reasons I see him moving, besides salary, are that although he has been playing solid hockey, he can take some bad penalties and make some stupid plays. Those things can hurt a team in the playoffs and down the stretch. Also his NTC is not as much of a problem as people think. I am not advocating it by any means, just if I had to pick a surprise player to go, he's my horse.
A lot can happen from now until deadline day but I think the Flyers make smart, non-flashy moves. They can not afford to give up too much in a trade as it may hurt the chemistry they have now. It is not always about who they get in return but who they give up. Sure they could make the flashy Vokoun trade, but if they have to say goodbye to James van Riemsdyk in return, does that make the team better overall? So Flyers fans, don't expect any big names coming or going this trade deadline for the Orange and Black. But I do have a feeling you will be happy with the results.
Note to Paul Holmgren: Do not make me look bad.