The Philadelphia Flyers have gotten a jump on the trade deadline frenzy (or maybe helped to kick it off), acquiring defenseman Nicklas Grossman from the Dallas Stars in exchange for a 2nd round pick in 2012 and a third-round pick in 2013.
As we all know by now, the Flyers have been after a left-side defenseman to help fill the gap since losing Chris Pronger to a concussion, and Grossman should be able to do that.
The big Swedish blueliner probably won't be picking up any of the offensive slack that Pronger left behind, mind you. Grossman, 27, has never been a prolific scorer. He had two pro assists with Södertälje SK when the Stars drafted him 56th overall in 2004, and he wasn't a late-bloomer by any stretch: Grossman has scored 7 goals since coming to North America in 2005, 4 of which came with the Iowa Stars of the AHL.
That's fine, though. The Flyers' problem has never been offense. Even without Pronger, they're one of the league's highest-scoring teams. At the back end and on special teams, however, they need the help, and Grossman should be able to provide it.
From CSN Philly:
Grossman is a stay-at-home guy, obviously, given he has no goals (five assists) in 52 games this season with Dallas.
He will help on special teams. Grossman averaged the third highest minutes on Dallas' special teams -- 2:13 on the power play and 2:12 on the penalty kill. The Flyers could use a little boost on both right now, especially the PK units.
Grossman was one of several defensemen the Flyers were eying. The other was Montreal's Hal Gill, who is older and has a Stanley Cup ring.
Technically, this is a rental, as Grossman is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year, but unless he really disappoints, you have to think the Flyers will consider re-signing him. He's currently making $1.65 million.
But, as rentals go, Grossman came even cheaper than you think. Neither pick the Flyers traded away was originally theirs: the second was acquired from the Los Angeles Kings in the Mike Richards trade and the third-rounder was the return for sending Darroll Powe to Minnesota.
Grossman has just three goals and 41 points in 333 career games with the Stars and the past few seasons has seemingly hit a bit of a stumbling block. Despite his size, Grossman never embraced his physical side and was limited in the overall effectiveness he had during games. While he has been one of the Stars best penalty-killing defensemen the past few seasons (and perhaps the best this year), Grossman's struggles with the puck likely meant he would not be re-signed as an unrestricted free agent this summer.
We've discussed the possibilities of Grossman's future with the franchise and whether his limited upside would lead to him becoming expendable this season. GM Joe Nieuwendyk came to the decision that with the pending and likely departure by the defenseman it was time to get what the team could by sending him to a team that needs him for a playoff run, and Philadelphia has made the most sense -- and has been mentioned as the potential destination for over a month now.
Grossman was averaging the fifth-most icetime among defensemen, so he was certainly expendable. Plus Dallas gets draft picks, and who doesn't like those? It's like being given Scratch & Win tickets for your birthday. So much fun.