For much of the summer, the sky has almost literally been falling for the Philadelphia Flyers when it comes to their defense.
They’ve lost defensemen to free agency and injury this summer, left with a collection of blue liners that have many fearing for the success of Ilya Bryzgalov and the rest of this team next season.
While the blue line may not be as bad overall as many of us think, it’s certainly not one that is going to allow everyone to rest easy. Still, it’s easy to forget there are still some solid aspects in this group, the most underrated of which is Nicklas Grossmann.
Grossmann was acquired from the Dallas Stars last season and re-upped with the Flyers before the season was over, signing a four-year deal worth $14 million. It’s not a bad cap hit considering what you get from Grossmann.
What the Flyers will get from him isn’t so much points, but it’s going to be a sound defensive game. Grossmann posted just 11 points on the year last year, between Dallas and Philadelphia. With the Flyers, he had six assists. He has just three goals in his career, but that could change with an increased role.
Given the chemistry between Grossmann and Braydon Coburn, we could very well see Grossmann log minutes on the top pairing on the blue line. With Coburn providing much more of the offense between the two, Grossmann will likely focus on the defensive side of things on that pairing.
Grossmann is strong defensively and knows how to use the body. He’s not ideal as a no. 1 guy, but he’s going to be a very important pice of this Philly blue line. He’s going to have to be a shutdown guy and is going to see minutes against the top lines of other teams.
But he should be up to the task. He’s not going to put a ton of points up there, but he’s a tough guy to play against and will be a big piece of the puzzle as the Flyers try and sort out their defense this season.