First the Philadelphia Flyers acquired defenseman Nicklas Grossman from Dallas. Then the club added defenseman Pavel Kubina from Tampa Bay.
Now is Philly going to do something really big, like land Columbus power forward Rick Nash? Or will the Flyers focus on getting better in goal, given Ilya Bryzgalov’s startling failure?
Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren met with Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson and they likely discussed more than the weather. Expect Holmgren to be one of the key players as the NHL trade deadline nears.
The two trades bolstered the Philadelphia defense at a cost of a second-round pick in 2012, a second-round pick in 2012 or 2013, a third-round pick in 2013, a fourth-round pick in 2013 and minor league center Jon Kalinski.
Grossman and Kubina both arrive with expiring contracts; they will be become unrestricted free agents after the season.
The moves strengthen the injury-depleted Flyers for the stretch run. Grossman should add sturdy defense and Kubina will add some offensive skill – although his days of scoring 40 per season appear gone.
Might these deals become a precursor to something bigger, like a Nash deal or a goaltender upgrade? The Flyers firmed up their near-term roster without subtracting a key player or spending a first-round draft pick.
Help up front may not be necessary, now that Philly is healthier. The Flyers should become stronger offensively by returning Daniel Briere (concussion), Jaromir Jagr (groin strain) and James van Riemsdyk (concussion) to active duty.
Briere hasn't been productive since his return from the injured list, but a reunion with a healthy Jagr could change all that.
Marek Zidlicky is still with the Minnesota Wild and Pavel Kubina is still with the Tampa Bay Lightning, at least in name.
But a notable defenseman did change places Thursday. The Dallas Stars sent Nicklas Grossman to the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for a second-round selection in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft and a third-round selection in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft.
Grossman brings size (6-foot-4, 230 pounds) and depth to Philadelphia. With just 41 points in 333 NHL games, he is not a major offensive threat. He has just five points in 52 games this season.
He could be come an unrestricted free agent after this season and the Dallas Morning News noted that the Stars aren’t interested in investing $3 million to $4 million a year for the next four to five years on a supporting cast D-man.
Dallas could also move veteran Sheldon Souray before the trade deadline. Souray is currently sidelined with a foot injury.
Mark Fistric, Philip Larsen and Adam Pardy figure to play more with Grossman gone and youngsters Brenden Dillon, Jordie Benn, Patrik Nemeth and Jamie Oleksiak will soon move into contention for jobs on the blue line.
By adding a couple of decent draft picks for a player likely to depart after the season anyway. Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk added a few trade chips to his pile. Like a lot of GMs, he has made inquiries with Columbus about cornerstone forward Rick Nash.
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