NHL Rumors: Philadelphia Flyers Shopping Defenseman

The Philadelphia Flyers are in the midst of one of their more disappointing seasons in franchise history as there was quite the buzz created last offseason with a flurry of moves. Unfortunately with injuries and underwhelming performances, the Flyers now find themselves near the bottom of the eastern conference and with several trade chips on the open market. One name to watch - Rasmus Ristolainen. The physical defenseman is expected to be moved by the team before the March 21 trade deadline.

Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet recently commented on Ristolainen's future with the Flyers in his latest 32 Thoughts and had this to say about a potential deal:

I think Rasmus Ristolainen gets moved. He wants a playoff series. Not only do I understand the desire to finally get a chance after almost 600 games, but I could see Ristolainen thinking postseason style as beneficial for his market value.

Ristolainen has appeared in 44 games this season, his first as a Flyer and has recorded 12 points. He leads all Flyers defenseman by a country mile with 153 hits and also has recorded an impressive 76 blocked shots. Philadelphia acquired Ristolainen in a mega-deal last offseason from the Buffalo Sabres, as the Flyers sent defenseman Robert Hagg, a first round pick and a second round pick in the deal.

There's no chance Philadelphia gets this kind of return for a Ristolainen trade before the deadline. His contract is up at the end of the year and he's currently making $5.4 million against the cap. Teams to watch here include the Edmonton Oilers, Toronto Maple Leafs, Florida Panthers, Carolina Hurricanes and Pittsburgh Penguins. 

Photo credit:  Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports