Flyers trade for Dallas defenseman Grossman

Posted: February 17, 2012

WITH A PLATE of food perhaps simmering to the side and a press box overflowing with pro scouts from a bevy of teams, the Flyers' brass put its first foot forward last night toward improving the team before the Feb. 27 trade deadline.

Without giving up a key piece of their lineup, the Flyers bolstered their defensive corps by adding Dallas blue liner Nicklas Grossman in exchange for a second-round pick in 2012 and a third-rounder in 2013.

Neither one of the picks is the Flyers', though both are shaping up to be better than their current selections in those rounds, based on standings. The second-rounder was from last summer's trade with Los Angeles and the third was acquired from Minnesota in exchange for restricted free agent Darroll Powe.

Grossman, 27, is a player who has been on the Flyers' radar for quite a while. He posted five assists and 26 penalty minutes in 52 games with the Stars this season, and blocked 100 shots.

"He's a guy that we've talked about over the last few weeks," Holmgren said of the 6-4, 230-pounder. "He's a bigger body, a good, solid defensive defenseman. He can kill penalties for us, play a regular shift. He's just a guy who can chew up minutes."

This seems to be the draft to make such as trade. According to one scout in attendance at last night's 7-2 win over Buffalo, this summer's edition is not astonishingly deep. The consensus is that the same player could be had with a late first-round pick or a third-round pick.

Grossman earns $1.65 million on the salary cap. Like many of the other names available before the Feb. 27 trade deadline, Grossman will be an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

When asked if the Flyers were interested in signing Grossman to a new deal, Holmgren was non-committal. The Flyers could get their first look at him today in practice, if he made a late flight from Dallas as they had hoped.

"I think that kind of goes both ways," Holmgren said. "I think Nick needs to see whether he likes it here, too. We like him. We'll see where it goes from there."

In Grossman, the Flyers haven't acquired a flashy player. He is sound positionally. Grossman also can contribute on the penalty kill. In Dallas, he posted the third-highest ice time per game on the penalty kill.

"He's not a guy that will put up a lot of points," Holmgren said. " I think he's really going to give us a boost in our own zone and get us out of our zone quickly. He makes a good first pass. He's developed over time in Dallas, and he's still a good, young player. We're excited to have him."

With 10 days left before the deadline, this doesn't mean the Flyers are done. Holmgren said he "wouldn't use the word "unlikely" to describe their chances of landing a superstar forward, like Columbus captain Rick Nash.

Blue Jackets senior adviser Craig Patrick was in attendance last night. Assistant general manager Chris MacFarland also was listed on a press-box seating chart but never showed. San Jose had two representatives, including director of pro scouting John Ferguson.

TSN's Darren Dreger reported that the Flyers would still like to add one more defenseman before the deadline and named Toronto's Luke Schenn, Colorado's Erik Johnson and Montreal's Hal Gill as the possibilities.

Adding one of those, or even toying with the idea of Nash, would serve as one heck of an appetizer for a march to the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Dropping like flies

Jaromir Jagr sat out last night's game with the flu. Andrej Meszaros missed the game with an "upper-body" injury. Zac Rinaldo served the first of his two-game suspension handed down by the NHL for a high hit Sunday at Detroit. James van Riemsdyk was scratched for the 15th straight game with a concussion.

And if that wasn't enough, the Flyers sustained three more injuries during the game.

Wayne Simmonds required repairs before the contest even started after taking a puck to the face in warmups, but that was the least of the Flyers' worries. He missed only a shift or two before turning in a monster performance, with two goals and seven shots on goal.

Danny Briere left the game after the first period and did not return with what the Flyers termed an "upper-body" injury.

After brawling with Zack Kassian in the second period, tough guy Tom Sestito left with a "lower-body" injury. Sestito was shaking his hand and grimacing as he left the ice, possibly injured in the fight.

Despite the rash of recent injuries, Paul Holmgren said he believes van Riemsdyk might be closer to returning.

"I think he is getting close," Holmgren said. "I hate to put any kind of a time frame on it because that particular injury is perplexing. I think he looks good. I think now it just comes down to how James is feeling and when he feels ready."

Leino back

Former Flyer Ville Leino, who has endured a miserable season in Buffalo after signing a rich deal last summer worth $27 million, was back in Philadelphia for the first time.

"It's always different to come and play at home," Leino said. "I miss Philly. I had a lot of fun here, it was definitely a great town. It was a great place for a hockey player to be."

Leino is one of many Sabres who is having a down year. He has just 15 points in 46 games and has spent a little time on injured reserve.

"It's been frustrating right from the start, frustrating pretty much for everyone in the locker room," Leino said. "We should be a lot better, but we're not."

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