The rumor mill has started in the NHL, and the Flyers are linked to more than a couple of rumors. Some of them, don't even deserve to be called rumors, as their originating source is simply stating the obvious.
But others come from beat writers with contacts around the League. One such beat writer is Anthony SanFilippo. On Sunday, SanFilippo published a story about the Flyers shuffling lines to get Mike Richards going, but included a few rumors, such as this one:
They apparently kicked the tires with the Columbus Blue Jackets the last couple of weeks.
One NHL source indicated the conversation got to a point where Columbus GM Scott Howson pulled aside former Flyer R.J. Umberger to get his thoughts on some of the Flyers that may have been offered, but any possible deal there seems to have fallen through.
First, I must admit I like the Blue Jackets. If I had to pick a favorite Western Conference team, they are right there with the Kings. Yes, part of that is Matt Calvert. But among those players on the Blue Jackets that would look great in orange and black include Steve Mason (if you read the article, the Jackets apparently offered him), Jakub Voracek, Matt Calvert, and R.J. Umberger (again).
Second, take a moment to think how awesome (even if it's common) it is that the GM goes to his alternate captain for opinions on players offered. Now, this is what piqued my interest. If the GM is asking R.J. Umberger his opinion on players that may have been offered, just who was offered?
If you look at who R.J. Umberger played with that still play for the Flyers, you get: Mike Richards, Danny Briere, Jeff Carter, Kimmo Timonen, Scott Hartnell, Braydon Coburn, and Claude Giroux. This is a fascinating list. If Umberger was asked about the players offered by the Flyers, surely they would come from the list of players who were here with Umberger.
But we can agree that Richards, Briere, Carter, Timonen, and Giroux are not going anywhere. That leaves Hartnell and Coburn, but Hartnell has a no-trade clause. And couple that with Columbus' need for defense, and suddenly it appears as if R.J. Umberger was asked his opinion on Braydon Coburn.
Now, this doesn't mean that the Flyers offered Coburn, but it sure looks like they were discussing him. Sure, the deal fell through, but isn't this a little troubling? Look at the Jackets' roster. Who is likely to be targeted? Ethan Moreau and Chris Clark, maybe Sammy Pahlsson, Kristian Huselius, or even R.J. Umberger. Are any of those players worth Braydon Coburn? No, and thankfully the trade wasn't made.
However, this little rumor gives some context to what is going through the Flyers' minds. They are looking to improve the team and they will be hearing lots of offers from teams which are probably going to be asking too much. So keep in mind, when you hear rumors, that those struggling teams will want a steep bounty. If talks persist, maybe that bounty comes down. But it's unlikely that the Flyers move a rostered player, which the Jackets apparently asked for.