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Poor Flyers start fuels trade buzz

No trade is imminent but some names are surfacing

Peter Laviolette. (Alex Brandon/Staff Photographer)
Peter Laviolette. (Alex Brandon/Staff Photographer)Read more

RALEIGH, N.C. - With the Flyers limping to an 0-3 start, the whispers are quickly growing louder and louder that jobs are on the line.

No one has ever accused Flyers chairman Ed Snider of being a patient man.

Is it possible that the Flyers would consider making a trade first?

"I think we just need to breathe a little bit here," Claude Giroux said last night. "It's obviously not the way we wanted to start the season, but we're going to turn it around. There's no doubt in my mind. We've got to stick with the plan."

Despite what the Flyers captain said, his general manager has been sniffing around. But the hardest part may be finding a willing partner this early in the season as teams sort out their own rosters.

In their history, the Flyers have only made one somewhat significant trade in October after the start of the season: an eight-player deal with Pittsburgh on Oct. 23, 1983, that landed Rich Sutter.

So far, the Flyers have shown interest in the Flames, a team in the midst of a rebuild expected to finish near the bottom of the standings. Complicating matters even more is the fact that the Flames are off to a 1-0-2 start.

One name the Flyers have been kicking around is winger Curtis Glencross, who has been playing on Calgary's first line. Glencross, 30, netted 26 points in 40 games last season. He has 24- and 26-goal seasons on his resume, he's consistent, and he's one of the few players on Calgary's roster to play a gritty game.

The Flames are desperate for a defenseman to play with Mark Giordano and the Flyers have a glut of high-priced blue-liners. Even without trading a defenseman, the Flyers could fit a player like Glencross' $2.55 million salary-cap hit on the books - if he were willing to move his no-trade clause.

Last week, the Flyers sent assistant general manager Ron Hextall and director of scouting Chris Pryor to Washington for Calgary's first game of the season. Head pro scout Dave Brown traveled to Columbus for Calgary's matchup the following night.

And a Flames representative was one of 13 scouts from Western Conference teams to show up last week at the Wells Fargo Center for the Flyers' opener.

Last night, Flyers scout John Chapman was in Calgary to see the Flames reopen the Saddledome. The Flames' East Coast scout, Steve Leach, along with three other teams' scouts, was in Carolina to take in the Flyers and Hurricanes last night.

Flames GM Jay Feaster said last April that 25 teams inquired about Glencross at the trade deadline. In addition to Glencross, the Flyers could be interested in 20-year-old Sven Baertschi, a first-round pick who was blasted by new Flames president Brian Burke last week.

"All I've seen so far is flashes of brilliance, [which] are fine if you're working in a university but they're not much good to people in an NHL building," Burke said Sept. 30. "There are three zones on the ice surface in this league. I don't see that he's learned to compete in two of them. I see this guy right now who's focusing on one area - and, even then, sporadically. So, I don't know what we have. I'm not ready to quit on the young kid . . . but I think you can tell from my comments that I see big holes and a lack of commitment that's not going to get him anywhere in my books."

Baertschi, who posted 94 points in 47 junior games in 2011-12, entered last night with 14 points in 27 NHL games.

TSN's Darren Dreger reported last week that the Flyers were one of three teams pursuing some of Anaheim's young forwards. The Ducks also need defense.

Right now, a trade does not seem imminent, but it's not out of the question that Paul Holmgren is interested in shaking up the locker room.

If the Flyers had their way, they would handle their own business.

"Everyone knows what happened last year," Kimmo Timonen said. "We're 0-3 now, but it's a test for us. We've got some home games coming up now. Now, we really see where we are as a team and how tight we are as a team.

"Now is not the time to start blaming people. There's still 79 games left. Because if we start blaming people, and not play as a team, we're going to be 0-6 soon. It's about sticking together, sticking with the game plan. It's time to put the work boots on."

More jam, please

Just about the only noticeable forward for the Flyers last night was Zac Rinaldo, who recorded an eye-popping 10 hits. Rinaldo leads the NHL in hits with 19 in three games - an average of more than six per game.

Rinaldo, 23, was rewarded for his hard work. Last night, for just the second time in 101 career games, he broke 14 minutes of ice time. He finished with 14:02.

In all, the Flyers were credited with 46 hits against the Hurricanes, the most they've had in one game since March 10, 2012 (48). The Flyers also lead the NHL with 97 total hits.

"The minutes he had, he was noticeable every time he was on the ice," coach Peter Laviolette said. "You've got to love the way Zac plays and what he brings to the table; there's no question we could use a little more of that jam in there."