Philadelphia Flyers' Trades Will Set Future NHL Course

By Sean O'Brien
Philadelphia Flyers Danny Briere
Anthony Gruppuso – USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Flyers can’t afford to give up on any promising young players as the National Hockey League trade deadline approaches. Retooling, reshaping or whatever cliche is applied to what general manager Paul Holmgren does with his roster in the next few weeks will likely determine the fate of Ed Snider’s team during the next few seasons.

In offering the above, I’m obviously stating that I don’t believe that this team is Stanley Cup bound this season. Anyone who has seen the orange order this year knows that. The question is, will Peter Laviolette’s squad play well enough down the stretch to slip into the postseason ice dance this year? Of course, the ongoing presence of the head coach may also be considered in the near future as well.

According to Capgeek, the Flyers have the highest payroll in the League. If the team doesn’t have a realistic playoff chance by the time the trade deadline arrives, Holmgren will need to begin the process of revising his roster in preparation for 2013-14 and beyond.

Danny Briere, who is currently tagged with the largest cap hit ($6.5 million through the 2014-15 season), is a viable trade candidate. At 35, he has enough left in the tank to be valuable to another team.

Braydon Coburn is having an off year. While he’s only 28, his $4.5 million cap hit through the 2015-16 season could mean that a style change on the blue line might be made.

Even though Kimmo Timonen just signed a $6 million one-year extension for next season, this veteran defenseman would be a fine addition for any other team.

While there are a variety of other candidates who could be moved, including the less likely swap of Ilya Bryzgalov for another crease man, what’s certain is that the Flyers will begin a roster evolution if the front office determines that the 2013 playoffs can’t be reached.

Follow Sean on Twitter @SeanyOB, Facebook, Google+ and read his blog Insight.

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