Logjam at Defense: Problem or Blessing?

After some early-season difficulty, the Flyers’ defense is looking pretty good right now.  Regular pairings are established and the blueliners appear comfortable with each other.  Braydon Coburn – Matt Carle, Kimmo Timonen – Ossi Vaananen, and Luca Sbisa – Andrew Alberts are the regular pairings.  Laase Kukkonen is playing much better than earlier this season and is a reliable fill-in.  The potential difficulty is now that Randy Jones is ready to return from a training camp injury, who sits to make room?  On top of that, his $2.5 million salary will put a salary cap squeeze on the Flyers when Danny Briere returns from his injury.  To complicate things more, injured defenseman Ryan Parent will be returning after Christmas.  That would give the Flyers nine NHL-calibre defensemen.  Too many to carry.  Kukkonen, who cleared waivers earlier this year, would have to go through waivers again in order to be sent down.  Since he is playing better now, he may not clear waivers a second time.  Looks like at least one of the rearguards will need to be traded.  Kukkonen and/or Alberts figure to be the odd men out. That’s too bad, because the team is coming together really well and you hate to change pieces when things are going good.  It would be great if the Flyers could find a way to hold onto all these guys, especially since injuries are always a danger and nine capable defensemen in the system would be a blessing, especially come playoff time.  Remember when Timonen and Coburn both went down with injuries last spring?

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