With the unfortunate news about Chris Pronger being done for the regular season AND playoffs, Philadelphia Flyers GM Paul Holmgren has a large hole to fill on his back-end. The Flyers Captain was obviously a major part of how that team was put together, but with his severe concussion troubles keeping out of action (maybe for good), Holmgren has stated that he has contacted 29 other teams for defensive help. This got me thinking about the Jets and our own defensive situation, and I started thinking that perhaps there could be a match here. Are the Winnipeg Jets one of the teams that could help the Flyers attempt to fill the void left by Pronger while also benefitting their own blue-line situation?
The Winnipeg Jets blue-line has been decimated by injuries this season, as they have already deployed 12 different players on the backend this season. The Jets started the season with Dustin Byfuglien, Tobias Enstrom, Zach Bogosian, Mark Stuart, Johnny Oduya, Ron Hainsey, Randy Jones and Derek Meech as their "top-8" so to speak. However, with Enstrom, Hainsey, Jones and Meech all missing extended periods of time, it was necessary to bring up Mark Flood and Arturs Kulda from the AHL, and both have been very impressive. Paul Postma and Brett Festerling also saw some time with the Jets. But now some healthy bodies are beginning to return, and the question arises: What do we do with all of the d-men?
As it stands right now, Randy Jones apparently injured himself again and appears to be back on the IR, joining Derek Meech (knee) and Tobias Enstrom (collarbone) on the shelf. Ron Hainsey (foot) returned two games ago and has been very good, but his return forced the Jets to put Kulda on waivers. I held my breath while waiting to see if he would clear waivers, and much to my delight he did. However, with Enstrom apparently being cleared to return as early as tomorrow versus the Ducks, we now have a glut of d-men, and this is before you even count Jones and Meech.
Why don't we just put Mark Flood on waivers and send him down to St. John's? Well, Coach Noel really likes Flood, as he coached him last year in the AHL while with the Manitoba Moose, and Flood has been very good since being called up. Noel even stated in a media scrum that he would be concerned about losing Flood to waivers if that is what it came down to. Is it worth the risk of losing him for nothing?
With a healthy Enstrom potentially returning tomorrow, our d-corps would look something like this (pairing subject to change obviously):
Buff - Enstrom
Bogosian - Stuart
Hainsey - Oduya
Injured - Meech, Jones
That "3rd-pairing" of Hainsey and Oduya combines for $8M in salaries. That is simply too much money for the third pairing, but I am having a hard time moving the other guys out of those top-4 slots. This lead me to wonder if the Flyers would have any interest in Ron Hainsey or Johnny Oduya as potential additions to their lineup. Obviously neither guys would replace Chris Pronger, but who would? When it comes right down to it, Hainsey and Oduya are solid defenders that could (or maybe should based on their salaries) play top-4 minutes on a 2nd pairing somewhere.
When healthy, a top-4 of Buff, Enstrom, Bogo and Stuart would be very good, and with how Mark Flood has performed think he has earned a spot on this roster as a 6th or 7th d-man. He is also a bargain at $525,000. I would much rather move Hainsey or Oduya for something, whether it be a prospect or a draft pick, then lose Flood for nothing on waivers.
So, what are your thoughts? Would you move Hainsey or Oduya to the Flyers in order to save some money, add a pick or prospect to the bank, and to open up a spot on the roster for Flood? If so, who would you prefer to move?