This is the downside of not signing Ryan Suter.
As I'm sure you can tell, Matt Carle - everyone's favorite scapegoat - has signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning for six years, 33 million bucks. The Flyers seemed to refuse to make him the priority he deserved to be going into the off season, and now they're paying for it as they watch their defense get significantly worse. As of now, this is how the defensive pairings supposedly look:
Timonen / Coburn
Grossmann / Meszaros
Schenn / Bourdon - Lilja - Gustafsson
Are you comfortable with this? I'm not. Unless Chris Pronger makes some miraculous comeback (and let's be serious that's pretty unlikely at this point) this team is lacking big time in the D department. There IS options via trade, such as Chicago's Niklas Hjalmarsson, but the 'Hawks are probably going to ask quite the ransom for him. And of course Nashville's younger Pronger clone, Shea Weber, will be a free agent... But not for another year. So the question looms; what do they do? Should they make a move now or hold off and go hard after Weber next year? There are reports that Philadelphia has a deal in place for former Tampa Bay defender Bruno Gervais, but he's hardly the answer. Thankfully, despite the defensemen well running dry for UFA's, free agency is hardly a week old, so there's more than enough time to mull over a deal. Hopefully Paul Holmgren can spin this in the next few months so we hardly remember the name. It'll take some wheeling and dealing to do so, though.