He’s not Chris Pronger. For now, Nicklas Grossman will have to do.
The Flyers acquired the 27-year-old defenseman from the Dallas Stars for a 2012 second-round pick and a 2013 third-round pick Thursday night.
“He’s a bigger body,” Flyers GM Paul Holmgren said. “He’s a solid defensive defenseman. He can kill penalties for us, play a regular shift. He’s a guy who can chew up minutes.”
Grossman averaged 18:59 of ice time with the Stars and led them in blocked shots with 100. The only Flyers to reach the century mark are Kimmo Timonen (102) and Matt Carle (112). Grossman is also a penalty killer, a faction of the Flyers’ game they have recently struggled in. They team had allowed power-play goals in three consecutive games heading into Thursday’s game against Buffalo.
“He’ll kind of give us a boost here in our own zone and get us out of our end quickly,” Holmgren said. “He makes a good first pass. He’s not a guy that’s gonna put up a lot of points, but he’s a good all-around defenseman.
“A lot of our guys are more containment kind of defensemen, where they’ve never really been Chris Pronger-ish, where they’re gonna whack somebody. I don’t think [Grossman] is a mean player, but I think he’s a physical, competitive player that will certainly help us in that area.”
Grossman is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent after the season is over and Holmgren said he would like to retain the blueliner after this year — if he ends up liking Philadelphia.
Holmgren may have another trick up his sleeve with the trade deadline now 10 days away. He wouldn’t even say that it is “unlikely” that he trades for a star player.
“Unlikely, I don’t know if I’d use that word … but probably not,” said the hesitantGM. “It’s not something that we’re talking about at length.”