Saturday, December 20, 2014

Don't expect blockbuster deal; JVR returning?

With crease-clearing Nicklas Grossman acquired from Dallas on Thursday, the Flyers' defense got some much needed physicality, and opened the possibility they could trade puck-moving defenseman Matt Carle, a potential free agent after the season.

Don't expect blockbuster deal; JVR returning?

Flyers winger James van Riemsdyk has been sidelined for weeks with a concussion. (Matt Slocum/AP file photo)
Flyers winger James van Riemsdyk has been sidelined for weeks with a concussion. (Matt Slocum/AP file photo)

With crease-clearing Nicklas Grossman acquired from Dallas on Thursday, the Flyers' defense got some much needed physicality, and opened the possibility they could trade puck-moving defenseman Matt Carle, a potential free agent after the season.

Will the Flyers move Carle? Will they make a play for Columbus' Rick Nash?

Doubtful on both counts.

Nash is available, and Columbus had a scout and an executive at the Wells Fargo Center Thursday, watching the Flyers' 7-2 win over Buffalo.

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A source, however, said the Flyers and Jackets have not had any conversations about Nash, who has a whopping $7.8 million cap hit.

If they do, the Flyers should say "no thanks." Columbus would probably want draft picks, Sergei Bobrovsky and two of the Flyers' three prized rookies (Matt Read, Sean Couturier, Brayden Schenn). Those rookies are the franchise's future cornerstones.

From here, I do not sense the Flyers making a blockbuster deal.

Then again, not many of us saw the Mike Richards trade coming.

* * *

Grossman, who appears much thicker than Chris Pronger, practiced with the team Friday in Voorhees.

 To make room for Grossman on the roster, Erik Gustafsson will be sent to the Phantoms.

Gustafsson scored his first career goal on Thursday.

* * *

After Friday's practice, James van Riemsdyk didn't rule out the possibility of returning for Saturday's game against the visiting Penguins.

Van Riemsdyk, sidelined since Jan. 12 with a concussion, has missed 15 games. The Flyers are just 6-6-3 in his absence.

The 22-year-old left winger said how he feels when he wakes up Saturday morning will probably determine if he plays.

* * *

Winger Tom Sestito will have surgery to repair a torn groin, the Flyers announced.

Sestito was injured in a fight during Thursday's game against Buffalo. He will have surgery Tuesday and will be sidelined for six to eight weeks.

* * *

Jaromir Jagr and Andrej Meszaros returned to practice Friday after missing Thursday's game. Both are expected to play Saturday. Danny Briere wore a non-contact jersey in practice.

Briere and Tom Sestito left Thursday's games with injuries. Wayne Simmonds (battered lip) did not practice Friday.

Despite being shorthanded because of injuries and illnesses Thursday, the Flyers overcame a 2-0 decfit and trounced Buffalo by scoring seven straight goals.

"A character win," said center Max Talbot, who scored a pair of goals.

No one showed more character than Wayne Simmonds. In the pregame warmup, Scott Hartnell's shot hit iron and then struck Simmonds in the mouth. Two teeth were moved around and he needed 25 stitches to close his upper and lower lip.

Then he went out and scored two gritty goals on power-play rebounds.

"He' a warrior," goalie Ilya Bryzgalov said.

Sounds about right.

* * *

When the Flyers host Pittsburgh in a Saturday matinee, it will match the NHL's top two scorers: Evgeni Malkin (69 points) and Claude Giroux (67), who climbed back into the race with a career-high five assists Thursday.

The Flyers and Pens are battling for the fourth spot in the East.

* * *

Follow Sam Carchidi on Twitter @BroadStBull.

Sam Carchidi Inquirer Staff Writer
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Sam Carchidi Inquirer Staff Writer
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