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Stars trade Grossman to Flyers for draft picks

by Adam Kimelman

PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Flyers added depth and physicality to their blue line Thursday, acquiring defenseman Nicklas Grossman from the Dallas Stars in exchange for a pair of draft picks.

Grossman, 27, had just five points in 52 games for the Stars, but is more regarded for his defensive-zone play. The 6-foot-4, 230-pounder led the Stars with 100 blocked shots and also had 96 hits. He had an even plus/minus rating while averaging 18:26 of ice time per game, including 2:17 per game shorthanded, third-most on the Stars.

"He's experienced, he's a bigger body -- he's a good, solid defensive defenseman who can kill penalties for us," Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said. "He can play a regular shift, he's a guy that can chew up minutes and he's a big body."

The penalty kill is an area the Flyers have struggled in recently, allowing six power-play goals in their last three games.

Nicklas Grossman
Defense - PHI
GOALS: 0 | ASST: 5 | PTS: 5
SOG: 38 | +/-: 0
"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."

Going to the Stars are a second-round pick in 2012 that the Flyers acquired from the Los Angeles Kings in last summer's Mike Richards deal and a third-round pick in 2013 that they got from Minnesota for Darroll Powe last June.

Holmgren said Grossman is a player the Flyers have been watching for some time.

"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."

Holmgren wouldn't rule out further moves between now and the Feb. 27 trade deadline. When asked if he had interest in going after a "star" player, Holmgren wouldn't rule it out, but said it was unlikely. The Flyers reportedly are one team to which Columbus Blue Jackets captain Rick Nash would accept a trade; Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson met with Holmgren last week in Philadelphia, and Columbus senior adviser Craig Patrick scouted Thursday's game against the Buffalo Sabres.

The Flyers also long have been rumored to be among the teams interested in Nashville defenseman Ryan Suter, should the Predators decide to trade him.

"Unlikely? I don't know if I'd use that word, but probably not something that we're talking about at length," Holmgren said when asked about going after a star. "I like our team -- I still do. I know we've struggled a bit of late. We're trying to get it figured out. I think adding Nick today is going to help us. And we'll see what the next 10 days to two weeks bring up."

The addition of Grossman's defensive-zone skills and physicality bring the Flyers something they've been lacking since Chris Pronger was lost for the season in November.

"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."

Now in his sixth NHL season, Grossman adds needed experience to a Flyers defense corps that has been giving major minutes to a pair of rookies, Marc-Andre Bourdon and Erik Gustafsson.  Veteran Andrej Meszaros is also day-to-day with an upper-body injury; however, Holmgren doesn't believe the injury will keep Meszaros out long-term.

"I think Marc-Andre has been tremendous," Holmgren said. "I think Erik has been pretty good, too, in not as big a role as Marc-Andre. This has nothing to do with them. We're happy with their development. They've certainly made themselves part of the mix here."

Grossman can become an unrestricted free agent after the season, but Holmgren said he won't be in a rush to offer him a new 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."

Contact Adam Kimelman at Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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