The latest rumor involving the Flyers regarding off-season moves appears to be a proposed trade that would send Anaheim Ducks forward Bobby Ryan to the Flyers in exchange for defenseman Braydon Coburn and their 11th overall pick in this year’s draft. Tim Panaccio, Flyers insider for CSNPhilly.com, reported the news Tuesday after receiving a tip from two anonymous sources who are unaffiliated with the Flyers.
2 NHL sources tell CSN Flyers & ANA talking of Bobby Ryan. Among scenarios being discussed: Coburn, 11th pick for Ryan… more later
— Tim Panaccio (@tpanotchCSN) June 18, 2013
Bobby Ryan is schedule to make $5.1 million dollars this coming year while Braydon Coburn will be owed $4.5 million dollars. If this trade were to happen it would all but seal the fate of Ilya Bryzgalov whom I would expect to be bought out of his current contract in order to help make the Flyers cap compliant.
Most of the reactions that I have read to this current rumor on Twitter has been one of, “OH GOD YES!”. I, however, am not so certain that this move would be in the best interest of the Flyers.
Let’s start with the Flyers surrendering their 11th overall pick in this year’s NHL draft:
The last time the Flyers used a first round pick on a defenseman was back in 2008 when they selected Luca Sbisa, who ironically now plays in Anaheim. He was traded along with Joffrey Lupul for Chris Pronger. In addition, the Flyers did not hold a 1st or 2nd round pick in 2 of the last 5 drafts. This has had a ripple effect in terms of depth, especially on defense. After looking at the Flyers current NHL roster, Oliver Lauridsen is the only defenseman drafted by the Flyers (196th overall, 2009). Everyone else was either acquired through a trade or signed as a free agent. This clearly demonstrates the Flyers management’s mentality of acquiring talent as opposed to developing it. A mentality that has gotten us to ONE Stanley Cup Final since 1996. I don’t want to see the Flyers turn into the Atlanta Braves of hockey. If you don’t get the analogy, READ THIS.
Now, onto the two players involved in this proposed trade:
Braydon Coburn has turned into a good defenseman since his acquisition via trade from the now defunct Atlanta Thrashers. Notice that I did not lend the word amazing or stellar when describing him. The last two seasons Braydon has carried a Corsi Rel of -2.0 in 2011/12 and -7.9 in 2012/13. For those of you who are not familiar with Corsi Rel I will explain the nuance of this advanced statistic. If a player has a Corsi Rel of -2, like Braydon Coburn, that means that 2 more shots were directed towards the Flyers net per 60 minutes when he is on the ice as compared to when he is off it. Simply, Corsi Rel is like the traditional stat plus/minus but with shots instead of goals. To be considered a stellar defenseman, one would have to be uttered in the same breath as Kimmo Timonen who had a 14.1 Corsi Rel this past season that placed him among the top 10 in this statistic among defenseman in the NHL. So, while Coburn is getting paid like top line defenseman, he has not been playing like one.
Bobby Ryan was the 2nd overall pick by the Anaheim Ducks in 2005. He has tallied at least 30 goals 4 times during his 6 year career and was nominated for the Calder Trophy in 2009. So it would seem the Flyers would be receiving a perennial 30 goal scorer for a what I consider a decent defenseman, However, when looking at the advanced metrics, Bobby Ryan shouldn’t even be considered a top 20 right-winger, especially when it comes to puck possession. Take for instance Ryan’s Corsi Rel this past season, which was 4.5 Now while a positive Corsi Rel is always a good thing, it only placed Bobby Ryan 21st among qualifying right-wing players (at least 40 games played was the qualifier I used). What the Flyers need is another defenseman opposite Kimmo Timonen who can move the puck out of the defensive zone and start the rush. Even with Bobby Ryan about to enter what would be considered his prime at age 26, I think the Flyers would be better served actually keeping Coburn to at least deepen the depth in our defensive pairings.
So the question for me is, while I think that a straight swap for both players would be a huge steal for the Flyers, is the inclusion of our 11th over all pick worth it? I personally do not think it is. For me, the best decision the Flyers management can make is to use player assets to acquire talent rather than trade away any future picks. This year’s NHL draft has a lot of interesting defensive prospects and I would like to see the Flyers finally develop some home-grown talent.