Back in 2014, prior to the June Draft held in Philadelphia, the Flyers were struggling to find a blue line staple.
Before Shayne Gostisbehere was ready to make the leap to the NHL, before the Flyers drafted Travis Sanheim and Ivan Provorov, and with Sam Morin still several years away in juniors, the Flyers were looking to replace a Hall-of-Famer.
Chris Pronger's injury had left a hole in the Flyers defensive core and the Flyers were trying desperately to fill. It is already well documented that the team signed defenseman Shea Weber to a 14-year, $110 million offer sheet deal that was matched by the Nashville Predators. Now, there may be another big-name defenseman that nearly joined the Flyers.
Back in 2014, the Flyers were the closest to acquiring P.K. Subban from the Montreal Canadiens when there were conflicts in going through arbitration, according to Elliotte Friedman of SportsNet in his weekly 30 Thoughts.
Friedman writes that while the Canadiens ultimately decided against trading Subban, the Flyers may have offered a first-round pick — which in 2014 was used to select Sanheim — Morin and "something else." Friedman notes that the something else was an important piece to a deal, but that it wouldn't have been someone like Claude Giroux.
The Flyers may have ultimately ended up on the better end of that deal as well. Under Ron Hextall, the Flyers have drafted well, building up a strong blue line core that starts with Gostisbehere and will soon include Provorov, Sanheim and Morin among others.
Friedman also uses his 30 Thoughts piece to present two possible trade options for the Flyers.
He lists Mark Streit and Radko Gudas as two potential candidates and reasons for and against trades.
Streit still has a year remaining on his contract worth $5.25 million, which limits the Flyers ability to trade him since they can't afford to eat more salary.
Gudas presents an entirely different scenario. He has played well in several games where he remains disciplined and effective. In others, he's thrown out in a matter of seconds for undisciplined play that lands him in hot water. Friedman believes that over the Flyers next three games prior to the deadline, if Gudas stays out of trouble, then the Flyers could try to move him to open up a spot for a future defenseman or weigh the option of keeping him around.
But to think, the Flyers now could be considering keeping Streit and Gudas and certainly seem to be forming a long-term bond with Michael Del Zotto, whose season-ending injury is viewed as a big loss, while having four other prospect defensemen making news in the minors and juniors. They have certainly come a long way from trying desperately to add a proven defenseman like Subban or Weber.
Kevin Durso is managing editor for Flyerdelphia. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.