The Philadelphia Flyers have a problem and they have been attempting to solve it all offseason but to no avail. Simply put, in the absence of Chris Pronger–who may very well choose to retire as a result of post-concussive syndrome–the team is in need of some more defensive strength.
The Flyers’ attempt to get Shea Weber from the Nashville Predators came very close to becoming a reality, but thrifty Nashville had enough money to match the gigantic offer sheet and retain their captain. Earlier in the offseason, Philadelphia was considered in the running for Ryan Suter, Weber’s defensive partner, but Suter chose to go to the Minnesota Wild.
With those big blueliners off the market, there are still some options that Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren may be able to take, but they may not be of the same caliber.
Holmgren might send out more offer sheets to restricted free agents such as John Carlson, Michael Del Zotto or P.K. Subban. Keep in mind, though, that more often than not, offer sheets extended to RFAs result in the player staying with their original team. Weber’s rejection of the Flyers’ offer sheet keeps that trend going.
Knowing that trend with offer sheets, a trade could be the preferred route. A name often mentioned in trade talks for defensemen is Jay Bouwmeester from the Calgary Flames. It seems unlikely, but considering the state of the market for defensemen, Bouwmeester could very well become an attractive option.
For starters, Bouwmeester has an enviable attendance record. He’s the holder of the league’s longest ironman streak, meaning he has played in 588 consecutive games and never missed a single one in that span of time. He had 29 points last season, all but five of them assists, which isn’t near his career high of 46 points from back in 2005-06 but could still be good enough, or something to build off of, on a new team.
He’s also never seen the NHL postseason in a career that began a decade ago. A trade to a team like the Flyers could show him a part of play he’s never really seen before.
His contract does have a no-trade clause that would need to be dealt with, but at $6.68 million a season over the next two years, he’s actually more affordable than the salary per year that was offered to Weber in the offer sheet.
Ultimately, it’s Holmgren’s call to decide what to do with his team’s defense issue. But, the Flyers could very well make headlines again–and soon–with more attempts to try to fix the problem.