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Philadelphia Flyers' Free Agent Deal Maintains the Status Quo: Fan Analysis

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Philadelphia Flyers' Free Agent Deal Maintains the Status Quo: Fan Analysis

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Bourdon was part of the Flyers' defense for 45 games last season.

News that the Philadelphia Flyers signed their own restricted free agent Marc-Andre Bourdon generally would be seen as a simple transaction line on a hockey fan's smartphone screen. Because a variety of troubling alerts have previously been received this summer, the two-year contract extension that the soon-to-be 23-year-old defenseman signed was actually a welcomed bit of digital information.

This restricted free agent

Bourdon obviously isn't the restricted free agent defenseman who has gotten the most attention this offseason. But, he is a promising prospect who could become one of head coach Peter Laviolette's top six blue line men this year.

After suffering a concussion in February, Bourdon missed time but was able to return to action. The 45 games (four goals, three assists, plus 4 rating) that he played and the time that he averaged (16:11) on the ice last season may help him to earn a starting spot this fall.

Meszaros' Injury

Bourdon's stature increased after one of his teammates recently met an unfortunate fate.

Andrej Meszaros had back surgery in March and then returned (possibly unwisely) to play in the Flyers' fifth game of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the New Jersey Devils. While training in Slovakia last week, he tore his right Achilles tendon. The resulting surgery could keep him out of action until next spring.

Losing a veteran, who was currently considered as one of the Flyers' top four defenders, would be tough under any circumstances. In consideration of what has already transpired this summer, this latest development is very troubling and also leaves no immediate solution in sight.

The Shea Weber gamble and other matters

General manager Paul Holmgren has been attempting to address his defensive liabilities since the playoffs ended.

Trading James van Riemsdyk to the Toronto Maple Leafs for Luke Schenn in June was a good move. 'Homer' used his offensive depth to add a young blue line man who was languishing in that hockey hotbed. Schenn's four years of National Hockey League experience should prove to be valuable as he becomes the fourth man on the Flyers' revised defensive depth chart.

After being spurned by Nashville Predators unrestricted free agent defenseman Ryan Suter (who opted for the Minnesota Wild instead), Holmgren made his push for Predators' restricted free agent Shea Weber. It's difficult to know if the Flyers were simply playing a two-step game with the Suter and Zach Parise (the former Devils winger) offers.

Did they really expect to get one of those players (or both), or were they just trying to prevent divisional opponents from doing so? Possibly, the aim was for Weber all along, or maybe Philadelphia was just throwing darts at a very expensive board and was hoping to hit something.

It would be easy to conclude that Matt Carle was allowed to join the Tampa Bay Lightning, via free agency, because Holmgren believed that Weber was on his way. While that makes the most sense, we don't truly know what the Flyers overall feeling was about Carle's recent performance.

Holmgren's continued dilemma

Hoping that Chris Pronger might eventually recover is wasted energy. Unless new information is learned, it appears that this great hockey player's career will go the way of Keith Primeau's and other such affected men.

Kimmo Timonen, Braydon Coburn, Nicklas Grossmann, Luke Schenn, Marc-Andre Bourdon, Bruno Gervais, Andreas Lilja, Erik Gustafsson and Brandon Manning represent the defensive unit that will play in front of Ilya Bryzgalov and Michael Leighton this season.

Holmgren is surely continuing to review the remaining list of unrestricted free agent defensemen in hopes of adding depth to his thinned ranks.

Sean O'Brien is based in the Philadelphia region. He has written professionally for over two decades and is currently a Featured Contributor for Yahoo! You can follow him on Twitter @SeanyOB and also read his daily Sports Blog: Insight.

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