By Ben Raby
Restricted free agents John Carlson and P.K. Subban have much in common. Both defensemen burst onto the scene in 2010 and were named to AHL All-Stars. One year later, both Carlson and Subban were named to the NHLs 2010-11 All-Rookie Team.
Their parallel paths continued during the 2011-12 campaign as both defensemen experienced NHL sophomore slumps and failed to duplicate the feats of their first two professional seasons.
Now the Washington Capitals and Montreal Canadiens RFAs have something else in common - neither has a contract for next season.
According to French sports network RDS, Subban reportedly turned down a two-year 5.5 million offer last week.
Enter the Philadelphia Flyers who appear in need of a top defenseman and who have not shied away from extending offer sheets in the past.
Just last month Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren signed Nashville Predators defenseman Shea Weber to a 14-year 110 million offer sheet, only to have the Predators match less than a week later.
In 1997 the Flyers landed Chris Gratton with an offer sheet, while in 2006 the Flyers agreed on an offer sheet with Ryan Kesler which the Vancouver Canucks eventually matched.
So could the Flyers extend another offer sheet this summer, this time to either Carlson or Subban?
Given the circumstances, it shouldnt be dismissed so quickly. Consider what the current edition of the Flyers has experienced of late with the high-end talent on their blue line.
First there was Chris Prongers season-ending injury last November and the lingering doubts as to whether he will ever play again. Then there was Prongers former partner Matt Carle leaving Philadelphia and signing a six-year deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning July 4.
Weeks later there was the failure to land Weber, and then on Tuesday the Flyers announced that defenseman Andrej Meszaros will be out indefinitely after undergoing surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon.
In other words, the injuries to Pronger and Meszaros combined with Carles signing with the Lightning leaves the Flyers without 50 percent of their opening night defensemen from last season.
Carlson, 22, had nine goals and 32 points in 82 games last season, but was also last on the Capitals with a minus-15 rating.
Subban, 23, had seven goals and 36 points in 81 games last season and also led the Canadiens with 119 penalty minutes.