Just when you think the Philadelphia Flyers aren’t players in the summer silly season, their name gets thrown around
I really thought this would be a quiet offseason for the Philadelphia Flyers. This is Hextall’s team now, and that means keeping picks and developing prospects. Besides, the Flyers don’t have much cap space to play with.
Sure, guys like Eklund have a compulsive need to connect them to everyone. He’s back at it today, still beating the drum of a trade with the Oilers. I think most Flyers fans want nothing to do with Yakupov, however.
So fully expecting the Flyers to be bystanders, I see a trade rumor that causes my imagination to wander. This time, the Flyers are said to be entering the sweepstakes for Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk.
As a 27-year old, point producing, puck-moving, right shot defenseman, he is the most in-demand commodity on the market today. His name is all over the place, and most often connected to the Boston Bruins and Edmonton Oilers. Both teams could obviously use him, and the Oilers for instance have forwards to burn. The Bruins also may have offered a first round pick for Shattenkirk.
I’m sure the first thought of most Philadelphia Flyers fans is, why would we want another defenseman? The Flyers have so many defensive prospects, there’s no reason to add a body back there. The counter to that is that Shattenkirk is in his prime, while the Flyers guys are still prospects. Not all of them will work out, and all but Philippe Myers are left shots. Shattenkirk would give an immediate, significant boost to the Flyers defense corps, and balance it out.
That said, there are a raft of hurdles to overcome. Shattenkirk needs a new contract soon, which is the only reason the Blues are willing to trade him in the first place. Can the Flyers fit Shattenkirk in financially? That might require finding a taker for Streit this offseason, although Shattenkirk’s extension would only kick in next season after Streit is off the books with or without a trade.
Second, what can the Flyers offer the Blues? Their first round pick would interest the Blues, but I don’t get the feeling Hextall wants to go that route. This makes me think back to last fall when there were a few rumors regarding Brayden Schenn being dealt to St. Louis. I have no sense of if the Blues are still (or were ever) interested in Schenn.
One convoluted scenario would be the Flyers sending Schenn+ to St. Louis for Shattenkirk. The cap space the Flyers were going to dedicate to Schenn’s new contract this summer would go to Shattenkirk, and then the Flyers would extend Shattenkirk when lots of cap space opens for 2017-18. That weakens an already weak top-6 for the Flyers, however, and they’ll still want to move Streit purely out of an excess of bodies.
I’m open to the idea of trading Schenn. Many would say he had a breakout year this season, and indeed he was on fire after January 1. The red flag on that theory is much of that was from a wild spike in shooting percentage that will probably not be repeated. Schenn is a nice complementary forward, but I don’t have delusions of him being a bona fide top-liner all of a sudden.
It’s all very messy, and therefore remains a longshot. It tells you how much everyone wants a player like Shattenkirk, and he almost certainly will be traded somewhere this summer. And just like everyone else, the Flyers could use a player like him, whether they have defensive prospects or not.