ST. LOUIS MO - DECEMBER 01: Eric Brewer #4 of the St. Louis Blues checks Matt Bradley #10 of the Washington Capitals into the boards at the Scottrade Center on December 1 2010 in St. Louis Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

Flyers' Eastern Conference Rivals Loading Up, Tampa Bay Lightning Acquire D Eric Brewer

The Flyers Eastern Conference rivals are loading up today and they’re doing it on the blue line.

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NHL Trade Rumors: Tampa Bay Lightning Acquire D Eric Brewer

The Flyers Eastern Conference rivals are loading up today and they’re doing it on the blue line. As we reported earlier, the Boston Bruins traded from defenseman Tomas Kaberle from the Toronto Maple Leafs. Now, the Tampa Bay Lightning have acquired defenseman Eric Brewer from the St. Louis Blues.

Tampa sent prospect Brock Beukeboom, who is the son of former NHLer Jeff, and a 3rd round pick. Brewer has been the Blues captain for the past 4 seasons and will provide some much needed defensive depth for Tampa.

Clearly both the Bruins and Lightning, who sit at #2 and #3 behind the Flyers in the Eastern conference, see defense as the way to compete with Philly. All three teams are in the top 4 in the conference in scoring, while both Boston and the Flyers are at the top in fewest goals against. The Lightning on the other hand, had give up the 4th most goals in the conference, so adding Brewer to that team could have an even bigger impact that Boston adding Kaberle to an already defensively solid team.

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NHL Trade Rumors: Flyers Looking To Deal Jody Shelley Or Dan Carcillo?

The Columbus Dispatch is reporting that there are rumors that the Flyers are looking to unload one of their tough guys, Jody Shelley or Dan Carcillo. According to Bob Hunter, the Blue Jackets would be "reluctant" to commit over $2 million worth of salary for Shelley over the next two seasons. However he did say that when Shelley was in Columbus he was "enormously popular" and if his return put a few hundred more butts in the seats most nights, it might make taking on his salary financially worthwhile.

As Broad Street Hockey points out, there's really no reason to keep Shelley & Carcillo, when at least one is all but guaranteed to be scratched on a nightly basis after the Kris Versteeg trade. Plus, Carcillo is all but guaranteed to be gone after this year so anything the Flyers got for him at this point would be a bonus.

The article also mentions that the team is looking to deal Nikolay Zherdev, which should have been obvious at this point.

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NHL Trade Rumors: Boston Bruins Acquire Tomas Kaberle From Maple Leafs

The Boston Bruins acquired long-time Maple Leaf Tomas Kaberle from the Toronto Maple Leafs today, sending a 2nd round pick and last year's first-round pick (Joe Colborne) to Toronto. In order to make the salary work, Boston sent Blake Wheeler and Mark Stuart to Atlanta for Rich Peverly and Boris Valabik.

While the Bruins will surely miss Blake Wheeler and they will likely miss Joe Colborne down the line, Boston just became very, very scary. They have been hanging round in 3rd place in the East, but many people aren't convinced they are for real. This is probably because of previous perceptions of offensive weakness or the correct assessment that Tim Thomas is playing better than even he should be expected to.

But Boston ranks fifth in goals per game with 3.10. Without Marc Savard - who is out for the year with a concussion - the Bruins needed somebody to fill-in up the middle. Rich Peverly does just that, and adds more offense than Blake Wheeler does. Consider the offense upgraded.

Then, Boston knew they had to upgrade the defense since they were giving up 33.5 shots against per game, 4th most in the NHL. So they go get Tomas Kaberle, which will surely improve the defense. Now, Boston has Chara, Seidenberg, Boychuk, and Kaberle in the top-4. That's a top-4 which should rival the Flyers for best top-4 in the East, at the minimum.

And since the Bruins have been the second-best team in our own Power Rankings for over a month, the Flyers should take notice. Despite the Penguins' injuries or the Lightning's perceived lack of defensive depth, the Flyers should fear multiple teams in their conference, and Boston more than any other team in the East.

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