The Flyers are still trying to add a player before Wednesday’s trade deadline, but head coach Peter Laviolette thinks the team can challenge for the Stanley Cup _ without making a deal.
“I think if we continue to play hard and execute, we can beat anyone that we have to beat," Laviolette said after his team skated Tuesday morning in preparation for tonight's game against Tampa Bay. "Over the last 25 games, we’ve found more consistency on a lot more nights than not. We’re playing with a style and an identity that I think is conducive to winning."
The next six weeks "will determine our seed and our place in life _ and our right to play for the Cup, really," he said. "We’ve got to get there before we can actually try to win it.”
An NHL source said the Flyers have Ottawa’s Matt Cullen, Los Angeles’ Alexander Frolov and Columbus’ Raffi Torres among the forwards on their wish list, along with Nashville defenseman Dan Hamhuis. Atlanta winger Colby Armstrong has also drawn the Flyers’ interest.
“My gut feeling is that we’re going to get something done,” a Flyers official said.
The source said the Flyers are content with the goaltending duo of Michael Leighton and Brian Boucher. Ray Emery will miss undergo hip surgery and miss the rest of the season.
The trade deadline is 3 p.m. Wednesday.
“The trade deadline is unsettling for everybody,” Laviolette said. “It presents possible change, and change sometimes is hard. But it happens every year at the trade deadline, so it’s just something you have to deal with.”
Defenseman Danny Syvret and forward Riley Cote cleared waivers Tuesday and can be sent to the AHL Phantoms.
As expected, the Flyers announced that Emery will have surgery and not play again this season.
The question is, should the Flyers resign him for next year?
My answer: No. A goalie coming off hip surgery is a risky proposition. Move on.
Give me your take on it.
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Defenseman Ryan Parent, who is the subject of trade rumors, will replace the injured Oskars Bartulis in Tuesday’s lineup against the Lightning. Parent, 22, who is returning from back surgery, will play his first game since Dec. 23 _ coincidentally, that game was also in Tampa.
Bartulis suffered a groin strain while playing in the Olympics for Latvia. He is day to day.
General manager Paul Holmgren on Saturday said Bartulis was healthy and that he hadn’t practiced since his Olympic return because the Flyers wanted him to rest.
Yesterday, the GM backtracked and said Bartulis had some soreness in his groin when he returned from Vancouver. Holmgren said an MRI showed there was no damage.
After a slow start, Bartulis had improved dramatically in recent weeks; he was plus-7 in his last 13 games.
Parent will be paired with Braydon Coburn on Tuesday.
Laviolette said he would not reduce the minutes played by the three Flyers who won Olympic medals _ Chris Pronger, Mike Richards and Kimmo Timonen.
“We need them playing well tonight," he said. "They’re the leaders on this team. We need them to lead tonight. We’re going to try to win a hockey game, and the players who give us the best chance to do that will probably get a majority of the minutes."
Added Laviolette: "Everybody wishes we could give them a couple of days off and relax a little bit, but that’s not the case. That’s not the way it works.”
The Flyers play 16 games in the next 27 days.