Despite enduring a wretched summer, the Philadelphia Flyers manage to inconvenience the Rangers. On top of all their bad news the Flyers have had this off season came the recent announcement that veteran defenseman Andreas Lilja would miss at least the start of the next season, assuming it starts on time.
How does this affect the Rangers? Now, more than ever the Flyers will be looking to add defensive help to their roster. Ideally the Flyers are looking for an impact player, something that the Rangers aren’t desperate for, but the Flyers – given the scarcity of talent available – might have to be content with adding depth and a veteran to plug a whole, short term. In short, the Flyers are likely to compete with the Rangers for any and every viable blueliner over the next few weeks and months.
The Rangers top four is set, and ideally Mike Sauer and Anton Stralman will round out the blueline giving the Rangers enviable depth. However, with Mike Del Zotto’s contract situation, Sauer’s ongoing health concerns, injuries to kids like Dylan McIlrath and the lack of trust John Tortorella appears to have with Stu Bickel, competition promises to be minimal right now on the blueline come camp time.
Everyone assumes the Rangers will add some competition, at least for camp, to the blueline and this is where teams such as the Flyers and the Red Wings will influence availability to the Rangers. While Lilja isn’t the same solid depth player he was several years ago, he was still playing 13 minutes a night for the Flyers last year and will need to be replaced. Are the Red Wings happy Ian White will be munching major minutes in Detroit? Probably not.
With clubs like the Red Wings desperate for depth (disregarding the impossibility of replacing Nik Lidstrom atop of their depth chart) the price will be driven up for clubs such as the Rangers. Thanks to demand all of a sudden outnumbering supply don’t expect any moves on the Rangers behalf any time soon.