February 26, 2012

When Does Daniel Briere Become Expendable?

Trying my best to not sound like the typical Philly curmudgeon, the answer is respectfully now.

Look, I'm fully aware of Briere's stature in the city, and with Flyers fans. He's charitable, a mentor to the youth, and perennially clutch in the playoffs. But at some point, Paul Holmgren is going to have to go all in with this "rebuild mode" and force coach Peter Laviolette to play the kids, groom them, being them along a la Claude Giroux's development. The Flyers shipped out two stars in the offseason, yes in part to satiate the eternal need for a prime time goaltender via overspending for Ilya Bryzgalov, but mostly it was for the chance to inject new life into the roster. One that has grown a bit stagnant over the past few seasons. A roster perhaps still suffering from Stanley Cup Finals hangover. When you acquire a 20 year old center deemed "the best player in the world not playing the NHL" in Brayden Schenn, then proceed to land another center, one who should've gone number one overall but dropped to 8th all because of a bout with mono in Sean Couturier, you're going to have to clear the logjam in the middle. Throw in Max Talbot and anyone following the Flyers clearly sees the dilemma.

Danny is an incredible player, no doubt, but one who comes at a severely high cost for someone who is counted on when the season is actually over more than during it. He eats cap space at a whopping 6.5 Mil dollars, and people moan about Bryz, who makes nearly two million less. This is the primary reason for trading him, attaining yet more youth to grow with the 10-12 rookies who have already played for the Flyers this season. His age (34) and his complete ineffectiveness in goal accumulation recently practically warrant it. The Flyers aren't truly built for a true Stanley Cup run this season, so why pretend? Anyway, let's have a look at trade possibilities hopefully Homer has been thumbing through, not to mention young wingers to accompany the two future superstars developing at the C for Philadelphia.

1) Bobby Ryan, Anaheim Ducks - This guy is 24 years old, scores an average of 30 goals annually, and when the Ducks collapsed earlier this year, his was the name steadily mentioned in trade rumors. It doesn't do wonders for a player to constantly hear he could leave town at any time, and with the Ducks suddenly contending, Briere would make a pleasant number two center behind Getzlaf, and a savvy vet for Selanne to pair up with. This is win-win for both clubs, so long as the Flyers add a pick for the consideration of the Duck's future.

2) Loui Ericksson, Dalles Stars - This guy is a meager 26, is a talented multifaceted winger, and would again compliment a player like Brayden Schenn. Briere and JVR for this guy, and presto, Flyers look a lot tighter.

3) Max Pacioretty, Montreal Canadiens - 24, shows a very gritty side, would fit in easily with either of the big two youngsters. This guy has a nose for the net, plays with a sense of determination someone much larger would, and is extremely tough. Briere could close out his career in front of his native fans base, everyone wins.

4) Dustin Brown, Los Angeles Kings - The Captain, at 28, seems to slowly be wearing out his welcome in L.A., or maybe Dean Lombardi likes alienating players. Perhaps both. Regardless, the Kings love the Flyers leftovers so much, they might be willing to get yet another sloppy second helping to add to their impressive roster of ex-Flyers so that both clubs truly benefit.

Again, these are merely options, ones hopefully Paul Homgren has given thought to, and has the moxy to make happen. The Flyers, and Daniel Briere, would both be better off for it.

- Clayton Taylor


  1. I could tell that to Simon Gagne too, perhaps? How about Zidlicky. Maybe even Rick Nash as we currently await the trade deadline possibilities.