Paul Holmgren is on the clock.
The Flyers’ general manager had a rough 24 hours as the rival New York Rangers traded for Rick Nash and then the Nashville Predators matched Philadelphia’s offer sheet for Shea Weber.
The question is not if, but when, Holmgren will move on to the next option. And the pressure is on.
Weber would have fit nicely, but defenseman was not a glaring need for the Flyers. They still have Kimmo Timonen, Braydon Coburn, Luke Schenn, Nick Grossmann, Andrej Meszaros, Marc-Andre Bourdon, Erik Gustafsson and Bruno Gervais. Weber would have made an above-average blue line the best in the league.
Holmgren just needs to find an impact player, regardless of position (though the team’s depth at center might make a winger preferable over a center).
So who is available?
The two most obvious guys are wingers Shane Doan and Bobby Ryan. The Flyers have been rumored to have interest in both for years. Doan is a free agent, and Ryan has said he’d like to be traded to Philadelphia.
Doan is a gritty veteran who has averaged 25 goals over the past 12 seasons. He turns 36 in October, but he scored 22 goals last season so he still has plenty to offer.
Doan has said he would like to stay in Phoenix — he is the Coyotes’ captain and has spent his entire 16-year career there — but the unstable ownership group has led him to visit several other teams recently, including the Flyers and Rangers.
As for Ryan, he’s a Cherry Hill native who just turned 25 in March. He has scored 31 or more goals in each of the past four seasons.
Ryan wants to be traded, and his first choice is the Flyers. He told the Courier-Post last month that “Anaheim to me has been a team over the past year that really has shown me nothing to prove that they want me here. ... For me, if I'm moved, Philadelphia would be a very ideal and comfortable place for me.”
The question is what it would take to get Ryan. If any player was worth the Flyers giving up Sean Couturier or Brayden Schenn, it was Weber, and the Flyers chose to try the offer sheet rather than the trade route with Nashville.
Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer suggested in a radio interview that Matt Read, Erik Gustafsson and a first-round pick might be enough to pry Ryan away. The Flyers also could dangle the rights to restricted free agent Jake Voracek.
If they don’t get Doan or Ryan — or even if they do — the Flyers could go after another defenseman via trade. Three top blue-liners have been mentioned in trade rumors recently: Keith Yandle, Jay Bouwmeester and Dan Boyle.
Yandle turns 26 in September and has been an All-Star each of the past two seasons, but Phoenix could be looking to unload his contract due to the ownership uncertainty. He’s not Weber, but who is? Yandle would be an excellent addition to the Flyers’ blue line if they could get him for some combination of draft picks and youngsters not named Couturier or Schenn.
Bouwmeester, who turns 29 in September, is a player in whom the Flyers have had interest in the past. The Flames have missed the playoffs three years in a row and might be willing to unload his contract in exchange for draft picks and young players. Again, if the Flyers could get him without dealing Couturier or Schenn, it would be a great move.
Boyle likely would be much less costly to acquire from the Sharks — and for good reason. He’s not quite at the level of Yandle or Bouwmeester, and he turned 36 this month. But if the Flyers strike out on their other options and can get Boyle for just draft picks or marginal young players, it wouldn’t be a bad fallback. But Read and Voracek should join Couturier and Schenn as untouchable in this case.
So, to recap: Doan, Ryan, Yandle, Bouwmeester and Boyle appear to be the best options.
Any other suggestions? Leave comments below.