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Trade winds following Flyers

Sixteen scouts were at the Wachovia Center to watch Ottawa outlast the fading Flyers, 2-0, on Thursday night.

That's a stunningly high number of scouts, and, with Flyers starting goalie Ray Emery sidelined for at least six weeks, speculation is running rampant that the club is interested in a goaltender.

But the fact is, Brian Boucher _ who had another strong performance Thursday _ is good enough to carry the load until Emery returns.

It says here the Flyers need to add a sniper or two, because right now, this offense just isn't producing.

On Thursday, they were shut out for the third time in six games, and their power play was 0 for 7. It marked the second time since 1968 that they were blanked three times in six games or fewer.

Virtually the entire team has gone into a slump at the same time. The so-called stars, like Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, have been alarmingly inconsistent. That would be expected from young players like Claude Giroux and James van Riemsdyk, but not proven guys like Carter and Richards.

Van Riemsdyk, by the way, has hit the proverbial wall. He is goal-less in his last 11 games and would be better-suited playing on the third line.

But because of injuries, he is playing with Carter and Danny Briere.

Yes, the Flyers dearly miss injured left winger Simon Gagne, who could return next week and push van Riemsdyk down to the third line.

Dan Carcillo has one more game to serve on his suspension before returning, and injured forwards Darroll Powe and Blair Betts could be back in about two weeks.

Even when they do return, the Flyers need to add another offensive piece. Losing Mike Knuble and Joffrey Lupul  has hurt more than they expected. Compounding matters was the loss of Gagne (hernia, abdominal surgery). Those three players combined for 86 goals last season.

At the very least, the Flyers should promote right winger Stefan Legein (7 goals in 17 games) from the AHL Phantoms. Maybe he'll get hot and prove he belongs. Hey, he can't do any worse than the other AHL callups. It's worth a shot.

In the meantime, teams are circling around GM Paul Holmgren and trying to get a steal. According to the Delco Times, Tampa Bay offered mediocre goalie Mike Smith for Giroux or van Riemsdyk, two players whom the Flyers feel will be future stars.

Thanks, but no thanks, the Flyers said. (We doubt if Holmgren kept a straight face.)

Maybe Holmgren can turn the talks toward 22-year-old Anaheim right winger Bobby Ryan, the pride of Cherry Hill. Would you deal the soon-to-be-25-year-old Carter for Ryan and, say, a No. 1 pick?

Just wondering.

The Flyers would gain more than $3 million in cap space _ paving the way for another trade involving a veteran scorer at wing  _ and they could put Briere and Giroux as the second- and third-line centers.

Though it would be a tight fit, Anaheim has enough cap space to add Carter.