Trade rumors in the NHL are something that everyone is used to hearing, but the St. Louis Blues are not normally talked about too often. Having struggled as of late, are the Blues looking at the Phildelphia Flyers to be a trade partner?
Last night Andy Strickland tweeted that the St. Louis Blues and Philadelphia Flyers had sent scouts to one another’s game. His comment on twitter was:
— Andy Strickland (@andystrickland) February 12, 2013
Immediately, St. Louis Blues fans and hockey fans alike began to question what Strickland was talking about give that the St. Louis Blues are having a hard time scoring goals as of late and the Flyers have been searching for another D-Man since Chris Pronger went down.
Although it may seem like a distant possibility, St. Louis does have the depth to give the Flyers some pieces that might help both sides. Watching the Blues play the past few games, it seems like the Blues really need to add some size and grit to their roster on defense and could use the top pairing guy for Alex Pietrangelo. While David Backes is managing to throw his body around, the back end seems a lot smaller than the Blues of the past.
Looking at the Flyer’s roster, their current defenseman are:
If this were before Pronger’s injury, Blues fans would be crying to have Chris Pronger return as they did when he signed his big contract with the Flyers just a few years ago, but this is now an impossibility. While the Blues want a veteran defenseman, they also want someone who can stay with this team for years to come. It is well known that GM Doug Armstrong is looking for a left handed partner to play alongside Alex Pietrangelo on the top line, so who would fill that role on the Flyers?
Luckily, the Flyers have four current blueliners who shoot from the left. Let’s start with the least likely to be traded in Kimmo Timonen. Timonen has been with the Philadelphia Flyers since 2007 when he was acquired from the Nashville Predators. The top brass in Philly have always been happy with the veterans play and just signed a one-year extension with him last week. In order for the Blues to pry Timonen away from the Flyers, the Blues would have to give up a proven scorer and possibly a draft pick. While Timonen’s value is going to begin to decrease fairly quickly to other organizations given his age, the Flyers are sure that he fits their program for this season and the next. Don’t look to see number 44 donning the note anytime soon.
Braydon Coburn is also a lefty who could fit into the St. Louis Blues lineup, but would most likely not be easy to pry from the Flyers either. The eighth overall draft pick in 2003 might not be having his best season, but he is also a cornerstone on defense for a team that is looking to build with time. The Flyers are much like the Blues in that they are only one or two pieces away from a team that could truly contend for the Cup. If the Flyers want to keep the solid core that they have on defense, they won’t be going anywhere by moving Coburn. One possibility would be if the Blues offered Kris Russell and a bottom six guy, but I think it would take more to entice the Flyers. If they need to add scoring, it would take a top 6 guy, a seventh defenseman, and probably a draft pick to get Philly to part with Braydon Coburn, so don’t expect to see him in the note either.
Andrej Meszaros is one of two likely players that the St. Louis Blues would have interest in on the Flyers blueline. Meszaros has played in just 4 games this season as he was injured early on in the year. Having been out since January 24, the Blues might be able to convince Philly to move a player they are now used to playing without. The 23rd overall draft pick in 2004 is a 6’2″, 223 pound, left-hand shot that could be a great match for Petro. Meszaros plays a physical game and would fit in nicely with the Blues and Hitchcock’s style of play. The big question is whether Philly would want him once he is back from injury. To get Meszaros out of Philly I would assume it would take a top end draft pick, perhaps a second round, and a player like Matt D’Agostini. Dags is the most likely Blue to be moved as he has consistently been out of the lineup for the club this season and is the odd man out. Also, Dags has speed and skill and could add a punch that the Flyers could use on the wings.
With Jamie Langenbrunner out for the season, the Blues look like they may rely on D’Agostini more than they would have had Langs not needed surgery, but he is also not an essential piece to the puzzle. In Peoria the Blues have the option to recall Chris Porter who has proven to be a solid fourth liner or turn to one of the many young guns they have been developing.
Probably the most likely target for the St. Louis Blues is Nicklas Grossmann. To date this season, Grossmann has just two points and is a -2, but he is also a big guy that could line up next to Petro and recapture his play. At 6’4″ and 230 pounds, Grossmann would be a big body, and willing to use that body, for a Blues team that desperately needs to shake things up on the back end. Grossmann is also the only left handed defenseman for the Flyers not be selected in the first round. In 2004 Dallas picked up Nicklas Grossman 56th overall in the 2nd round of the draft. To get a player like Grossmann could be as easy as sending D’Agositin to the Flyers. A more likely situation would see the Blues sending a forward like Dags along with a defenseman like Kris Russell for Nicklas Grossmann and Jody Shelly. Shelley has just appeared in one game for the Flyers and is seen as an extra player, but the Blues won’t want to give up a pair without getting a pair back. Shelley would give the Blues the same depth that they already have while adding on defense. GM Doug Armstrong does have a stockpile of draft picks for the Blues, but he will use those in a smart way. Don’t be surprised if Grossman wears the note, but don’t count on it either.
What do you think Blues fans, who would you like to see from the Flyers? Do you think Armstrong will make a move for any of these guys or is he just looking around the league?
Let’s hope the Blues pull it together and get back to playing Hitchcock’s system.
LET’S GO BLUES!