Columnist: Flyers need defensemen, not Bobby Ryan

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CSNPhilly.com’s Tim Panaccio thinks all the Bobby Ryan talk is a waste of time. If GM Paul Holmgren really wants to improve his team, he should go out and get a defenseman, not another high-scoring forward.

They don’t need 35 more goals as much as they need 35 less on the back end. Ryan (plus-1 this season) is not on par with other two-way defensive-conscious forwards such as Mike Richards, Claude Giroux or Sean Couturier. He won’t save them 35 goals.

Yeah, they’re centers and Ryan is not, but the point is: the Flyers still have a gaping hole on the blue line and Ryan isn’t going to fill it.

And if the cost of obtaining Ryan is to further weaken the blue line – Ducks GM Bob Murray reportedly wants defensive help – then such a trade makes even less sense.

Not that Holmgren hasn’t tried to address his blue line. He pushed hard to get Shea Weber and Ryan Suter, only to fall short in each attempt.

Writes Panaccio: “That Holmgren tried so hard to get the best two defensemen out there is an acknowledgement by management that Chris Pronger will never play again in Philadelphia.”

Holmgren would vehemently disagree there (at least publicly.) And he did acquire Luke Schenn in a trade with Toronto for James van Riemsdyk.

Besides, even if Holmgren does still want to add another defenseman, his options are limited. The free-agent pool is dry, save for the likes of Michal Rozsival, Pavel Kubina, Scott Hannan, Jaroslav Spacek and Carlo Colaiacovo.

Jay Bouwmeester could possibly be pried out of Calgary, but not for free.

Related: Pronger’s health represents other big question for Flyers’ D