Sunday, April 20, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Trade on the Flyers' horizon?

BUFFALO – Despite being snagged by the injury bug early in the season, a league source familiar with the Flyers’ thinking told the Daily News yesterday that the Flyers are not interested in making a move to bolster their roster’s depth.

Trade on the Flyers' horizon?

Paul Holmgren and the Flyers are dealing with injuries to several key players. (Yong Kim/Staff file photo)
Paul Holmgren and the Flyers are dealing with injuries to several key players. (Yong Kim/Staff file photo)

BUFFALO – Despite being snagged by the injury bug early in the season, a league source familiar with the Flyers’ thinking told the Daily News yesterday that the Flyers are not interested in making a move to bolster their roster’s depth.

Danny Briere, Matt Read, Brayden Schenn and Chris Pronger are four players who will likely remain out of the Flyers’ lineup tonight against New Jersey (7 o’clock, Comcast SportsNet).

In fact, Briere is the only player among those four who is a possibility to play in tonight’s game.

The hockey world was abuzz on Tuesday night, when the names of three Flyers front office members appeared on the attendance sheet in Washington for the Capitals’ matchup with Anaheim, including general manager Paul Holmgren, pro scout Al Hill and director of player development Dave Brown.

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While it would not be unusual to have one member in attendance with a West Coast team in the region, three names raised eyebrows.

Holmgren, of course, has swung a deal in each of the last three calendar years with Ducks GM Bob Murray – the biggest being the trade for Pronger in 2008.

Holmgren, though, was actually with the Flyers in Buffalo.

And it’s not strange for Hill, who lives in the Hershey, Pa., area, and Brown to make a trip down south in order to catch teams from the West Coast that might not always be in the area, in order to cut down on travel.

The Flyers were thought to have interest in a Ducks depth defenseman, an affordable stop-gap to help tide the team over between prospect Erik Gustafsson – who has played in each of the last 3 games – and veteran Matt Walker.

Sheldon Brookbank, 31, who makes $750,000, was thought to be one of the names on the Flyers’ list.

Instead, as it stands now, the team is satisfied with its current makeup and would rather ride out the injury wave than make a rash move.

“They’ve made it clear that they are not willing to make a trade to just make a trade,” the source said. “They don’t have that much wiggle room under the salary cap and it’s not as if they’re in a tailspin. No matter, they would have no shortage of teams to deal with, as Columbus, Boston and others try to sort out their problems.”

The source also indicated that Walker’s demotion to the Phantoms appears to be temporary, saying that he was just sent to Adirondack briefly to allow the recall of two replacements (Harry Zolnierczyk and Ben Holmstrom) for the price of his $1.7 million salary.

“He’ll be back,” the source said. “That’s for certain.”

That does not mean the Flyers’ situation – with regards to willingness to make a deal – is something that will not change rapidly. They would like to wait until a semblance of a healthy roster is together before re-evaluating.

“One thing that Ed Snider will not stand for this year is a team that limps into the playoffs,” the source said. “They would much rather nip any problems in the bud early in the season to allow Peter Laviolette to have his roster clicking on all cylinders in March and April.”

SUSPENSION: Sabres forward Patrick Kaleta was suspended four games by the NHL for his hit on the Flyers' Jakub Voracek in Wednesday night's game.

THAT’S STRANGE: Speaking for the first time since the Flyers temporarily put a gag order on him on Monday during practice – in an effort to keep his mind focused on hockey – Ilya Bryzgalov spoke the media. He was far from his usual, affable self.

His quotes (below) are presented without comment:

Question: Was this win even more satisfying than the shutout [on Oct. 8]? You made a lot of big saves, especially late.
Bryzgalov: Why you bring [up] the word shutout? You know, it was a really tough game for us. The players played good in the first period. In the second period, they probably made too many turnovers with the puck and [we had] too many penalties. The game went in the opposite direction. Fortunately, we able to stand tall and win the game. We were able to battle hard and win the game, it was a great job.

Question: What was that last minute like for you? You made a lot of key saves, especially on [Tomas] Vanek in front of the net.
Bryzgalov: It was like normal. I’m just trying to stop the puck. That’s it.

QUICK START: Last night’s 3 goals in the first 6 minutes and 23 seconds – their best start to a game since Nov. 15, 2001 – was tied for the 16th fastest three goals in franchise history. Here are the first 15 games:

1. 2:19 01/05/2001 PHI 6 at ATL 4
2. 2:36 02/27/1982 PHI 9 at CGY 8
3. 3:10 03/08/1987 PHI 7 vs NJ 3
4. 3:40 11/15/2001 PHI 5 vs WAS 0
5. 4:20 03/15/1995 PHI 4 at NYR 3
6. 4:28 04/02/1994 PHI 6 at HFD 5
7. 4:31 04/01/1978 PHI 4 at LA 2
8. 4:53 03/22/1984 PHI 13 vs PIT 4
9. 4:56 11/27/1984 PHI 4 vs CHI 2
10. 5:39 03/22/1973 PHI 9 vs VAN 0
11. 5:44 10/09/1983 PHI 7 vs PIT 1
12. 5:52 12/12/1974 PHI 6 vs MIN 0
13. 6:04 12/18/1986 PHI 9 vs NYI 4
14. 6:07 02/07/1977 PHI 7 vs ATL 4
15. 6:15 10/17/1976 PHI 7 vs DET 4
16. 6:23 04/01/1976 PHI 11 vs WAS 2

SCOTTY TOO HOTTIE: Scott Hartnell now has 10 points (5 goals, 5 assists) in his last 5 games. He has scored in three straight games.

MINUTE MAN: Claude Giroux saw 25:01 of total ice time, undoubtedly an up-tick with Danny Briere and Matt Read out of the lineup, his second-most ever in a regulation-time game, playoffs or regular season. His previous high? 25:27 in Tampa Bay on Feb. 1, 2011. Giroux spent 4:05 on the penalty kill last night, his most this season. Before last night, most of Giroux’s penalty killing duties had been shifted to Max Talbot, Sean Couturier and Read.

SHOOTING GALLERY: The Flyers are outshooting opponents, 135-94, in the first period of games this season. They have outshot their opponents in 25-of-36 periods played this season.

UP NEXT: Since the Flyers do not have a morning skate today at the Wells Fargo Center, it’s impossible to have any sort of idea whether or not Sergei Bobrovsky will start in the second end of back-to-back games tonight against New Jersey. Peter Laviolette could also very well stick with Bryzgalov, as he has won two straight starts.

Tonight’s game is also a back-to-back game for the Devils, who fell to Toronto, 5-3, in Newark.

For the latest updates, follow Frank Seravalli on Twitter: @DNFlyers

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Frequent Flyers is your home for news and analysis of all things orange and black. Reach Frank at seravaf@phillynews.com.

Frank Seravalli Daily News Sports Columnist
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