With captain Chris Pronger still bothered by headaches and his future unknown, Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren was asked Monday if he felt he had to add a veteran defenseman when free agency starts on July 1.
“In a perfect world, probably yeah, but it's easier said than done,” he said, mindful that Nashville defenseman Ryan Suter is expected to be the top free-agent defenseman. “We'll take a peak on July 1st and see what's available and if there's a way we can improve our team, we'll take a shot at it."
Holmgren added he had no plans to make a deal for a free agent before July 1 to get their negotiating rights.
"There's nobody there right now that I would do that for,” he said.
The conversation drifted back to Pronger, who missed most of last season with post-concussion symptoms.
"Assuming Chris can't play, those are big shoes to fill. It's hard to find a Chris Pronger. I don't know if he's out there,” said Holmgren, who still is hoping Pronger can return. “Having said that, we are continuing to look to improve our team. I think getting Nicklas Grossman signed when we did was a positive step for us. If we can get Matt Carle signed I think that will help us long term.”
Holmgren noted that Braydon Coburn, Andrej Meszaros and Kimmo Timonen were established veterans. “Kimmo's still under contract for one more year. He's doing great, by the way, following his surgeries. We're still in decent shape there. Kimmo's getting older, so we have to look toward the future here to make plans to improve that area."
Holmgren wouldn’t comment about promising defenseman Justin Schultz, who is expected to become a free agent, because he didn’t want to be accused of tampering.
Schultz, who was drafted in the second round by Anaheim in 2008 but did not sign, figures to have a long line of suitors. Some consider Toronto the favorite to sign him.
The 6-foot-2, 185-pound Schultz would be a great signing by the Flyers. He would give them a much-needed right-handed shot and he is considered a can't-miss prospect.
In 121 games at the University of Wisconsin, Schultz had 40 goals and 73 assists. He reportedly is looking for guaranteed playing time on an NHL roster.
Flyers a PR finalist. The Flyers’ public-relations staff, led by the gimpy (and incomparable) Zach Hill, was named as a finalist for the Dick Dillman Award, given to the conference’s top media-relations department. The Flyers, Boston and Carolina are the Eastern Conference finalists.
Hill, by the way, recently had replacement surgery on BOTH knees.
Follow Sam Carchidi on Twitter @BroadStBull.