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Goodbye Nicklas Grossman, hello draft picks

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Swedish defenseman Nicklas Grossman was traded Thursday, February 16, 2012, to the Philadelphia Flyers for two draft picks.

And not just any two draft picks, but one 2012 second round round and a 2013 3=third round pick. Which leads me to wonder if the Stars were just looking to move Grossman now, bringing up a Texas Star in his stead, if they need those draft picks later to build the team or trade at some later date, or Grossman wanted to move to a more Stanley Cup Playoff-bound team.

The 2nd round draft pick in 2012 is the one the Flyers acquired from the Los Angeles Kings in last summer's Mike Richards deal. The 3rd round draft ick in 2013 the Flyers got form Minnesota Wild for Darroll Powe last June.

Depleting the Dallas Stars defenseman depth isn't something to take lightly. Since the loss of Sergei Zubov, Dallas has been struggling mightily to fill his shoes. Stephan Robidas has stepped up his game, but Zubov had big boots to fill and no one man in the league was likely to immediately make a snug fit.

Grossman has had 5 assists in 52 games this season, and in his 333 game career, 3 goals and 41 points with the Stars. And, he's not one to ignore on the ice. The 27 year-old Grossman is 6' 4" and 230 pounds, 100 blocked shots, and 96 hits with 18:26 minutes of ice time per game, including 2:17 per game shorthanded, third-most on the Stars team and an n even plus/minus rating.

What do the Flyers expect from acquiring another defenseman?

“He is experienced. He is a bigger body and he is a good solid defensive defenseman,” Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said. “He can kill penalties for us and play regular shifts. He can chew up minutes.”

The Flyers have struggled lately allowing 6 power-play goals in their last three games, according to NHL.com.

"We've struggled in a lot of areas here lately and that (penalty kill) is certainly one of them," Holmgren said. "Nicklas has been around, he's developed over time in Dallas. He's still a good young player and we're excited to have him. I feel he's really going to give us a boost in our own zone and get us out of our end quickly because he makes a good first pass. He's not a guy that's going to put up a lot of points, but he's a good all-round defenseman."

Homgren admits that the Flyers have had their eye on Grossman for sometime. Flyers' defenseman Chris Pronger has been in and out of the lineup since November 2011.

"He's a guy that we've talked about over the last few weeks, talked with Dallas about it," he said. "They weren't really prepared to move him until here recently."

In fact, his concussion-like symptoms are so persistent, they've kept him away from the Flyers' Wives Fight for Lives Carnival in Philidelphia where they raise millions of dollars for Philadelphia-area charities and allows fans to meet and take pictures with current and former players. Pronger has also missed 6 games with an eye injury and was out with a knee surgery. On December 15, 2011, Pronger broke his right foot in a game against Montreal and missed 13 games with that injury.

"A lot of our guys are containment-type defenseman," Holmgren said. "They've never really been Chris Pronger, where they're going to whack somebody. I don't think (Grossman) is a mean player, but he's a physical, competitive player that's going to help us."

The NHL trade deadline is February 27 and Grossman will become an unrestricted free agent this summer. Holmgren isn't in a hurry, he said, to offer Grossman a contract.

"I think that goes both ways," Holmgren said. "I think Nicklas has to see if he likes it here. We like him … we're happy to have him and we'll see where it goes from here."

The Flyers are 2-5-1 in the last 8 games and they haven't won a back-to-back in over a month, but they have big plans to reshape their defense with the addition of Nicklas Grossman as they head into the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

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