Will the Flyers Trade Sean Couturier or Brayden Schenn for a Defenseman?

Will the Flyers Trade Sean Couturier or Brayden Schenn for a Defenseman?

The NHL offseason sure is long when the Flyers don’t make the playoffs. It’s been more than seven weeks since the Orange & Black last skated, and we’ve still got roughly three to go until the draft or free agency arrives. Just imagine if there was no lockout and the regular season actually ended on time.

We’ll be taking closer looks at the Flyers’ options as those days approach, but according to at least one hockey insider, business might pick up sooner than that. TSN’s Bob McKenzie floated the idea on Sunday that general manager Paul Holmgren could be a busy man this summer as Pro Hockey Talk deftly summarized.

That the franchise will be looking to make some sort of splash during the offseason barely qualifies as news, as such is typically the case around here. Specifically McKenzie mentioned two potential moves to expect from Philly’s front office, one of which would be particularly bold – not like, say, buying out Ilya Bryzgalov’s contract as one of his suggestions entailed.

McKenzie is not alone in his thought process. The Bullies’ biggest problems for much of last season were on the back end, where the club was ravaged by injuries and hurt by suspect play by select veterans. Even with the emergence of a few quality young players – Luke Schenn, Erik Gustafsson, and Oliver Lauridsen – you would have a difficult time convincing another person this area is anything other than a glaring weakness. There really are only two questions left to ask.

First of all, is a true number one defenseman available? That is always the unknown as they can be among the most coveted players in the league, and not all of the names that have been tossed out there are definitively ones.

The big name at the moment is Phoenix’s Keith Yandle, who Holmgren reportedly tried to deal for last offseason up until the trade deadline. Broad Street Hockey takes a more in-depth look at the possibility of a Yandle deal, but a soon-to-be-27-year-old who’s been to two All-Star games and is signed through 2016 is going to be tough to pry away, even from (perhaps especially from) a franchise with ownership issues such as the Coyotes.

Which leads us right into question two: what would the Flyers have to package to land Yandle or another D-man of his caliber? Obviously the two biggest bargaining chips are Sean Couturier or Brayden Schenn, a pair of young talents who could develop into stars, and either is likely only going to start a conversation. What else will such a package entail?

It’s easier to judge the merits of any deal after it’s done, but hypothetically speaking would you be willing to give up Couturier or Schenn plus more for Keith Yandle or another top defenseman if you were the GM?

As I’ve written before, I am partial to riding out the current youth movement, thus giving guys like Lauridsen and Gustafsson opportunities to sink or swim, and L. Schenn a chance to be the workhorse, as long as it means holding on to talents like Couturier and B. Schenn. Then again, I can’t deny what a boost it would be for the Flyers to add a stabilizing piece to the defense, and Yandle's youth and contract situation make him an enticing add.

On the off chance Homer isn’t busy making moves this summer, he’ll be working plenty of hours merely weighing the seeming myriad of options in front of him.

MLB Notes: Josh Hamilton may need another knee surgery

MLB Notes: Josh Hamilton may need another knee surgery

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Texas Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton went to Houston on Sunday, facing the possibility of another knee surgery in his bid to return to the majors.

Hamilton will be examined Monday by Dr. Walt Lowe, who performed reconstructive surgery on the former AL MVP's left knee last June.

The Rangers acknowledge Hamilton might require arthroscopic knee surgery. If he does, Hamilton would likely be out four to six weeks and then need a minor league rehab assignment.

"We'll know once Dr. Lowe sees him," Rangers assistant general manager Mike Daly said. "Josh felt and Dr. Lowe felt that he needed to go back down and get an evaluation."

Hamilton was examined by Lowe in Houston last Wednesday after his knee flared up in running drills. He was given a platelet-rich plasma injection to alleviate the discomfort.

Hamilton returned to camp on Thursday and he experienced discomfort after riding a stationary bike for two days. (see full story)

Orioles: Bourn broke finger during football drill
SARASOTA, Fla. -- Baltimore outfielder Michael Bourn hasn't played football since his sophomore year in high school. But it's a pigskin injury that's preventing him from playing this spring for the Orioles.

On Friday, the speedy 34-year-old broke his right ring finger catching a football at a workout. Bourn, who signed a minor league contract on Feb. 20, will be out for four weeks, making it difficult for him to be ready for Baltimore's April 3 opener. He'll make $2 million if he's put on the 40-man roster.

Bourn has difficult competition. Another veteran major league outfielder, Craig Gentry, signed two days before, plus the Orioles want to take long looks at Rule 5 outfielders Anthony Santander and Aneury Tavarez. Joey Rickard, a Rule 5 pick who played with the team last season, is also a serious contender.

Because he signed late, Bourn hadn't played.

"I was ready to go and pretty much ready to get into games the next couple days and now I've got to wait a about four weeks to heal. I want it to heal correctly but I want to push it, too. There's really nothing I can do about it," he said. (see full story)

Indians: Kipnis sidelined by shoulder injury
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Cleveland Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has a rotator cuff strain and will stop throwing for a couple days.

Kipnis got a cortisone shot on Saturday, and manager Terry Francona didn't sound very worried about the situation.

"If it was during the season we wouldn't do anything," Francona said before Sunday's spring game against the Chicago Cubs in Mesa. "There's so much time to get ready that to kind of put a Band-Aid on it now didn't seem to make sense."

The 29-year-old Kipnis hit .275 with 23 homers and 82 RBIs last season, helping Cleveland to the AL Central title. He added four more homers and eight RBIs in the playoffs as the Indians made it all the way to the World Series before losing to the Cubs in seven games.

Kipnis had been on a shoulder program.

"I would say probably eight out of 10 guys, as they get their arms loose, you feel something," Francona said. "You throw through stuff and you get through the aches and pains of getting back, but then when there is some history there, you just try to use good judgment.

"He can do all his cardio and everything and all that stuff, but throwing is shut down for four to five days. I don't think he's going to hit today."

The Indians also announced left-hander Tim Cooney will be sidelined for 10 to 12 weeks because of a muscle strain in his arm. Cooney went 1-0 with a 3.16 ERA in six starts with St. Louis last season and was claimed off waivers from the Cardinals in November.

"Originally, they thought it was forearm," Francona said. "It's lower than that. By all accounts, it is an extremely unique area."

 

 

 

NBA Power Rankings: The Sixers remain in the bottom third of the NBA

NBA Power Rankings: The Sixers remain in the bottom third of the NBA

The most recent NBA power rankings have the Sixers dropping further or remaining in the lower third of the NBA. 

Recent news of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons’ injury situations have the experts assuming the season is a lost cause and the team is focused on this June’s draft.

A trade of Nerlens Noel confirms the Sixers are banking on building around Embiid and wanted to get a return on Noel instead of letting him walk at the end of the season.

Last week
The Sixers split their only two games of the week: A 120-112 win against the Wizards Friday night and a buzzer-beater 110-109 loss to the Knicks Saturday night.

Against the Wizards, Robert Covington recorded a double-double with 25 points and 11 rebounds – both team leaders. The Sixers had seven players in double-digit points including Dario Saric and Gerald Henderson both pouring in 20. The Sixers did not give up the lead after the beginning of the second quarter. 

Carmelo Anthony drained a game-winning shot on Saturday for the Knicks. Jahlil Okafor led the Sixers with 28 points while Saric added 19 and Covington tallied 20. 

This week
• Tonight, the Sixers face the Warriors in Philadelphia (7 p.m./CSN)

• Wednesday against the Heat in Miami (7:30 p.m./CSN)

• Friday they face the Knicks at home (7 p.m./CSN)

• Saturday they stay at the Wells Fargo Center for the Pistons (6 p.m./CSN)

What the experts say
John Schuhmann of NBA.com was gracious only dropping the Sixers from 21 to 22 this past week. Maybe he trusts the process. 

He makes a good point about Okafor's situation after the Noel trade:

“The Sixers have been at their worst offensively with Okafor on the floor, but he scored 28 points on 11-for-19 shooting on Saturday, getting two huge, final-minute buckets in the post before Carmelo Anthony hit the game-winner. He may not be the better fit, but he has two more years on his rookie deal.”

Grant Hughes of Bleacher Report dropped the Sixers to 24 on his list, three spots lower than last week. 

He took a look into Embiid’s efficiently in the post and found some interesting numbers from Chris Herring of ESPN's FiveThirtyEight:

“The 7-footer has really been in a giving mood near the basket, where he's coughed the ball up on nearly 22 percent of his post-up looks, the highest turnover rate among NBA players with at least 100 plays, according to Synergy. And his turnover rate jumps up to a whopping 32 percent when teams aggressively send a second defender to double Embiid in the post."

Hughes ended his piece by saying the Sixers look to be on a downturn for the rest of the season. 

Jeremy Wood of Sports Illustrated moved the Sixers one spot from last week which leaves them at 26 on his list. 

He questions “trusting the process” stating that there are many questions surrounding Bryan Colangelo and the front office after the Noel trade. 

“It’s a longer-term question, but there will be short-term clues.”

Couldn’t have said it any better. 

Finally, Matt Moore of CBS Sports drops the Sixers from 22 to 26 this week. Moore is starting to see a repetitive story with the Sixers and it’s struggles. 

“Usually if a team loses both its top picks in a rebuilding year, you feel awful for them and their fans. With the Sixers, you're left just feeling like this is the status quo, forever.”