He's not Rick Nash. But the Flyers got their defenseman.
After weeks of deliberating, the Flyers bolstered their defensive corps by adding Dallas blue liner Nicklas Grossman in exchange for a 2nd round pick in 2012 and a 3rd round pick in 2012.
Grossman, 27, posted 5 assists and 26 penalty minutes in 52 games with the Stars this season. From Sweden, he will now be teammates with fellow countryman Andreas Lilja.
He’s been on the Flyers’ radar for quite a while, though Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said on Thursday night that the Stars didn’t make him available until “just recently.”
“He’s a guy that we’ve talked about over the last few weeks,” Holmgren said. “He’s a bigger body, a good, solid defensive defenseman. He can kill penalties for us, play a regular shift. He’s just a guy who can chew up minutes.”
Grossman earns $1.65 million on the salary cap. Like many of the other names available before the Feb. 27 trade deadline, Grossman will be an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
When asked if the Flyers were interested in signing Grossman to a new deal, Holmgren was non-committal. The Flyers would probably like to see more of him before making a decision.
“I think that kind of goes both ways,” Holmgren said. “I think Nick needs to see whether he likes it here, too. We like him. We’ll see where it goes from there.”
In Grossman, the Flyers haven’t acquired a flashy player. Instead, they’ve found a better positional defenseman who can clear the front of the net if needed. Grossman can also contribute on the penalty kill. In Dallas, he posted the third-highest ice time per game on the penalty kill.
And most importantly for the Flyers, they were able to acquire a player who will help now without giving up a key roster piece that will affect them down the stretch toward the playoffs.
“He’s not a guy that will put up a lot of points,” Holmgren said. “ I think he’s really going to give us a boost in our own zone and get us out of our zone quickly. He makes a good first pass. He’s not a guy that will put up a lot of points. He’s developed over time in Dallas, and he’s still a good, young player. We’re excited to have him.”
Holmgren said the Flyers were trying to get Grossman on a late commercial flight tonight to have him arrive in Philadelphia in time for Friday’s practice. He’d likely be available to play his first game in a Flyers uniform on Saturday afternoon against Pittsburgh.
And the Flyers might not be done.
Holmgren then added to the intrigue, after being asked about Grossman, whether he'd use the term 'unlikely' to describe the Flyers' chances on landing a "superstar forward," a la Nash.
"I don't know if I'd use the word 'unlikely'," Holmgren said.
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