The NHL trade deadline is March 5 and once again the Flyers have been whispered as a potential landing spot for some marquee free agents. After all, every year the fans of the Philadelphia Flyers believe it is Stanley Cup or bust. An expectation that Flyers management seem to be willing to fulfill, even if it might be a detriment to the team in the future.
With hockey fans in Philly there is no, “I’ll be happy if the Flyers just get into the playoffs.” And while the Flyers haven’t won a cup since ’75 you can’t say that the Flyers haven’t made moves in pursuit of hoisting Lord Stanley again. That mentality has brought in players like Chris Pronger, Matt Carle, and Wayne Simmonds. And while moves like those really get my motor going, I am pleading with Paul Holmgren, please be boring at this year’s NHL trade deadline.
The Flyers as they are constructed right now are not what I think can be called Stanley Cup material. They struggle to move the puck out of their defensive zone, they are in the bottom third of the league in goals scored at even strength, and have committed too much money to players who are either underachieving (Read: Vincent Lecavalier) or are just overpaid (Read: Mark Streit).
The players that the Flyers have been linked too, like Ryan Kesler and Alexander Edler I believe would come at too much of a cost. The price for a player like Kesler according to a source who talked to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun is “significantly high”. More than likely the Flyers would have to part with either Sean Couturier or Brayden Schenn and include a first round pick. Even with the addition of either of these players I still don’t think the Flyers would have a shot to get to the Finals.
What I would like to see the Flyers do is simple and pretty damn boring.
- Trade Andrej Meszaros and his $4.0 million dollar cap hit
- See what you can get for Brayden Schenn
See, pretty boring stuff. Now my thinking involving moving Andrej is pretty straightforward, acquire a pick or a pospect. That would make me happy, save the Flyers money, and allow Erik Gustafsson to start playing some big boy minutes at the blue line. Speaking of Gus, what the Flyers are doing to him in regards to his development has been pretty puzzling. He dresses for 2 games, is a healthy scratch for 2, then dresses, then sits. It’s maddening and can’t be helping the kid’s psyche. Also, when comparing Gustafsson’s CF% (48.6%) to Nicklas Grossman‘s (45.4%), I start to wonder whether the Flyers value blocked shots over puck possession.
To quickly clarify, I know I was not for trading Schenn in a deal for Ryan Kesler and that was because I would not be willing to give him up in a trade that includes a first round pick. Any transaction involving Schenn would be one in which he’s traded straight up for another player or we get a player and a pick/prospect in return. Now, moving Brayden Schenn would allow the Flyers to move Vinny back to his natural center position in hopes he starts producing because he’s not going anywhere with his no-move clause in his current contract. In my ideal trade involving Brayden, we receive a talented winger because right now the Flyers depth there is pretty scarce. In the event though that we don’t get a winger in return, moving Brayden Schenn would still allow the lines to be shuffled in a way I would be comfortable with. Below are the Flyers forward line pairings from their game against the San Jose Sharks and then my pairings post-Schenn.
Line Pairings Vs Sharks
Line Pairings Post Brayden Schenn
Just seeing Couturier on the second line with Read and Simmonds is making me giddy. The season that Wayne Simmonds has put together so far this year in spite of having Vinny center his line is really remarkable. As you can see I would keep Read together with Coots while moving Vinny down to the third line to center a line with Raffl and Downie. My thinking is with Vinny playing his natural position again he could help elevate his game and Raffl’s at the same time. And finally I would bring McGinn up to start on the fourth line with Hall and ugh….Rinaldo.
With the March 5 NHL trade deadline just days away all my prognosticating will be moot and we’ll have seen what moves Paul Holmgren makes with the Flyers.I just hope that he doesn’t break the bank and risk the seemingly bright future of the Flyers going forward.
As always, please send all your hate mail to bear[dot]canney[at]gmail[dot]com and your angry tweets to @BcanneyBSB.
Stats provided by ExtraSkater.
Cap information provided by CapGeek.