January 25 2014 04:42PM
Several sources confirmed that Craig MacTavish and Kevin Lowe were at the Flyers-Bruins game today. Mr. Panaccio (a respected source) tells us the Oilers have been there before, so what are they looking for? What do the Flyers need?
OILERS LOOKING FOR SKYSCRAPERS!
I don't think there's much doubt about the players Edmonton would be looking for when viewing the Flyers.
- Braydon Coburn, veteran defenseman who is having a solid year. We've discussed that top pairing lefty for Edmonton many times, and we know the Oilers-Flyers talked about this player at last year's draft.
- Wayne Simmonds, again a player mentioned often as being an ideal acquisition. I assume the Oilers would plug him in on a skill line at RW. What that says about the name heading out is interesting.
- Sean Couturier, whose reputation as a two-way center might be running well ahead of his actual value, but that happens with young people.
There are tons more, from the unusual (Scott Hartnell) to the very unusual (Steve Downie) to the likely untouchable (Brayden Schenn). MacT and Holmgren talked at length during the draft and I imagine the same suspects are being discussed now.
What might have changed? What's going the other way.
WHAT DOES PHILLY NEED?
I think there's some evidence that the match could be stronger today than in summer or fall. Why? Two reasons. The Oilers don't have the pressure of making the playoffs to worry over, but the Flyers do. A trade that helps them now is likely front and center, whereas Edmonton can look more into the future.
Second, the problems of summer are slightly different, with some holes being filled (Edmonton doesn't need a center quite like they did, and their young defensemen have developed more—giving a team like Philly a nice chance to glimpse the future).
- Kurt R, Broad Street Bullies: How many guys on this team do you watch and think "this guy skates really well" or "this guy moves around the ice nicely"? Four? Five, in total? The three guys on the top line, Matt Read, and ... then what? Braydon Coburn is this team's quickest defenseman, and though I like Braydon Coburn a lot and think he's a plus skater, that shouldn't be the case for any team that considers itself to be decent.
Interesting. The Flyers are looking for speed merchants, and the Oilers are looking for veterans. This is a nicer match than in summer, when we heard Smid whispers, or fall when it was about Eberle.
WHO ARE THE FAST AND FURIOUS OILERS BLUE?
That's one thing about the Oiler kids on the blue: most can scoot. Justin Schultz is freaky on skates, Jeff Petry is a smooth skater, Marincin is all arms and legs but can bust a move, even the minor leaguers like Klefbom and Gernat can go man go. The question is: which one do the Flyers want? Edmonton has several, and I imagine a deal could be struck for a player outside the NHL quickly. No, I'd bet it is someone playing NHL hockey currently, which leaves Schultz, Petry and Marincin. Unlikely they'd move Marincin so soon, right?
Up front, once again there are all kinds of options available. I'd say the Flyers would be looking for wingers, since they appear set for a long time down the middle (Giroux, Schenn, Couturier). The other thing about center? This Scott Laughton kid looks like he might be the real thing.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
The Oilers have been a million-to-one shot since Pronger left town. Perhaps the city of Brotherly Love offers Craig MacTavish a puncher's chance at making things right and finding a brand new day.
Names like Coburn, Couturier and Simmonds on one side and Justin Schultz, Jeff Petry and Ales Hemsky on the other may make sense for both sides.