Philadelphia Flyers Players Most Likely to Be Traded in 2013-14
The opening-night roster is set, but that doesn't mean the Philadelphia Flyers won't be afraid to make changes throughout the coming year to ensure the Orange and Black return to the postseason.
Several key pieces have been added (Vincent Lecavalier, Mark Streit, Ray Emery), but this is still a Flyers team that projects as a mid-level team in the highly competitive Eastern Conference.
Philadelphia is a market that expects to be in championship contention year in and year out, so the Flyers won't be afraid to shake things up as the season moves along.
With that, here are the five Philadelphia Flyers most likely to be traded during the 2013-14 campaign.
Having been with the club since the 2006-07 season, Coburn is the longest-tenured player on Philadelphia's roster, but if the Flyers look to shake things up this season, it could be the 6'5", 220-pound blueliner that's on the move.
The former eighth overall pick in the 2003 draft still has three years remaining on a four-year, $18 million extension he inked with Philly back in November 2011. The subsequent $4.5 million annual cap hit wouldn't be overwhelming for potential trade partners, particularly for a defenseman of Coburn's stature. Meanwhile, that figure would provide the Flyers (a team annually at or near the salary-cap ceiling) with a fair bit of cap relief.
Coburn has a modified no-trade clause where in any potential trade scenario, he would provide Philadelphia with a suitable list of trade-partner destinations.
Timonen has been the heart and soul of the Flyers defense for the past six seasons but is exactly the kind of veteran defenseman that's extremely attractive to postseason contenders at the trade deadline.
The 14-year NHL veteran is about to enter the one-year, $6 million extension he signed with Philadelphia last season. The Flyers want, and quite frankly need, Timonen to be a part of their defensive unit, but should Philly falter in the standings, his expiring contract is exactly the type that are easy to move and attractive for potential suitors at the deadline.
The Finnish native has never won a Stanley Cup, and at age 38, his time is running out.
Come February, if it doesn't look as though the Flyers are going to compete, they could receive a decent package in return while giving Timonen a chance at hockey's ultimate prize.
Like Timonen, Meszaros is entering the final year of his current contract and could prove to be an attractive addition for playoff-bound teams looking for defensive depth.
Meszaros' tenure in Philly hasn't exactly gone as the Flyers had hoped when they acquired the 6'2", 220-pound blueliner in July 2010.
After winning the Barry Ashbee award as the team's top defenseman following his first season with the Orange and Black, Meszaros has struggled to simply stay healthy ever since. Over the last two campaigns, Meszaros has missed 57 of a possible 130 games due to injury.
And when healthy, the returns haven't exactly been earth shattering. In just 73 games over the last two years, Meszaros has managed just seven goals and 27 points while posting a minus-three rating.
If youngsters Erik Gustafsson or Marc-Andre Bourdon prove they can play regular minutes at the NHL level, Meszaros could quickly become expendable.
His lackluster performance in recent years coupled with his injury concerns will likely mean the Flyers won't get much in return for Meszaros. Still, he's a name to watch in the months to come.
Steve Mason (or Ray Emery)
The Flyers will enter the coming year with two goaltenders entering the final year of their respective contracts who have both battled consistency issues throughout their NHL careers.
Steve Mason and Ray Emery are locked in a genuine goaltending battle, with both players expected to receive ample opportunities to secure the No. 1 assignment.
The reality is that either Mason or Emery will eventually emerge as the team's starting goaltender, which won't necessarily make the other expendable but will certainly make them easier to part with.
Whoever the odd man out is would be an attractive depth-goaltending option for contending teams who would only be on the hook for a small percentage of a one-year agreement.
It's hard to see the Flyers still splitting time between the two in February when a younger netminding option could serve as the backup to the eventual No. 1. With that, expect either Mason or Emery to finish the season somewhere else.
Couturier burst onto the season in 2011.
Less than six months after being tabbed with the eighth overall pick in the draft, Couturier was a regular in the Flyers lineup en route to recording 13 goals and 27 points in 77 games during his rookie campaign. What's more, he quickly established himself as one of the team's top defensive forwards.
But that positive momentum from his first year quickly evaporated during a sophomore slump last season that saw the Phoenix native manage just four goals and 15 points in a lockout-shortened 46 games. What's worse, Couturier had to endure a stretch of 15 games from February 21 to March 28 where he didn't record a single point.
Like fellow youngster Brayden Schenn, this will be a critical year of development for Couturier.
Either he takes another step forward and begins to assert himself as a consistent offensive performer, or questions will begin to surface about his NHL value. If it's the latter, the Flyers could look to move Couturier in an effort to restock the cupboard.