Simply, the Olympics throw a wrench into things.
General managers are forced to evaluate their teams heading into the three week break then get one week to see where their team stands before the March 5th trade deadline. It is not an easy job and it is even tougher for teams like the Flyers who are as streaking as they come and flirt with mediocrity as often as they flirt with elite.
Paul Holmgren will have to decide if he should be moving parts to try and position the Flyers for a Stanley Cup run or selling expiring contracts like Steve Downie. Seeing as he is likely to be under pressure from a number of people to improve the team, I think we can cautiously speculate as to potential players who could be on the Flyers radar.
The team's problem is the defense. Plain and simple, their defense is suspect and should be upgraded.
One name to keep in mind as the trade deadline approaches is Florida Panthers defenseman Tom Gilbert.
The 31-year-old defenseman signed a one-year, $900,000 contract with the Panthers in the off-season and has become one of their best offensive weapons from the blue line. He leads Florida with 22 assists and is third on the team with 24 total points, trailing team-leader Brad Boyes by two points.
Someone like that would certainly be welcome on the Flyers blue line.
But the Flyers need someone who can move the puck while also providing help in their own zone. Gilbert has some solid Corsi numbers (Corsi = shots on goal + blocked shots + missed shots) ranking second among Florida defensemen trailing only former-Lady Byng winner Brian Campbell.
Gilbert boasts a Corsi-For-Percentage (CF%) of 52.9% and a CF% relative of +2.9% meaning that when Gilbert is on the ice, his team is averaging 2.9 more shots than the opponent. This is as close as we can get to basically saying he is not a liability in his own end which, for the record, would be an improvement for the Flyers.
So to recap: Gilbert is defenseman who contributes at the offensive end, isn't a liability on the defensive end, and is an expiring contract with a cap hit of only $900,000 where even the Flyers could find room for that.
Sounds like the perfect guy for the Flyers to target as we head towards the trade deadline.
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