Would It Be Wise For The Philadelphia Flyers To Trade For Jason Zucker?

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 14: Jason Zucker #16 of the Minnesota Wild looks to pass the puck against Claude Giroux #28 of the Philadelphia Flyers on January 14, 2019 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 14: Jason Zucker #16 of the Minnesota Wild looks to pass the puck against Claude Giroux #28 of the Philadelphia Flyers on January 14, 2019 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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The 27-year-old Minnesota Wild winger has reportedly been on the trading block since the Trade Deadline in February. Would a deal make sense for the Philadelphia Flyers?

Minnesota Wild left winger Jason Zucker has, at the time this article was written, almost been traded twice since the 2019 Trade Deadline. He was nearly dealt to the Calgary Flames on the day of the February 25th but fell through the cracks and, more recently, almost found himself in a Pittsburgh Penguins uniform in a blockbuster for Phil Kessel but Kessel was reportedly unwilling to go to Minnesota. With the veteran winger obviously available for the right price, should the Philadelphia Flyers to strike a deal with the Wild?

Zucker has talent, that isn’t up for debate. He netted 42 points (21 Goals, 21 Assists) in 81 games for Minnesota last season and 64 points (33 Goals, 31 Assists) in a full 82 game season the year prior. He does most of his scoring damage at even strength, with 14 of his goals and assists coming while play was equal, but isn’t a stranger to the power-play either, netting at least seven PP goals in his last two years.

The Wild 2010 Second Round pick has solid possession numbers in those past two years, as well, posting Corsi-For and Fenwick-For percentages above 50.0% during those campaigns at even strength. Those numbers led the Wild in 2018-19, and he also sat second in High Danger Goals-For percentage and third in total Scoring Chances-For percentage among Wild skaters who played at least 500 minutes of Time on Ice (TOI) while play was even, according to Natural Stat Trick. Zucker clearly would help the Flyers on numerous fronts and serve as an improvement over what they currently have. My only concerns are what Minnesota would ask for in return and where exactly Zucker would slot in.

Philadelphia has a spot open on the third line, but it’s on the right wing, which would put Zucker out of position. It probably wouldn’t be a huge deal for Zucker to move to the right side, but I’d rather see him slide into the Top-6, meaning a current Flyers player would have to drop down. I actually wouldn’t hate in seeing Travis Konecny share the third line with Oskar Lindblom and Nolan Patrick, going full youth, but I’m not confident of Alain Vigneault being a fan of that. Konecny may also want a more significant role heading into the 2019-20 season, as he averaged just over 15 minutes of TOI last year.

The Wild were set to receive Kessel and Jack Johnson, though it was more of the Penguins trying to shed their salary, and reportedly receive Sam Bennett or Michael Frolik in return from Calgary, so General Manager Chuck Fletcher would likely have to part with a decent roster player to obtain Zucker. If I had to guess, and I’m just speculating here, that player would be Lindblom. His point total was right around the two previously mentioned Flames and would help make the Wild younger, too. I think Lindblom is just scratching the surface of what he can be at the NHL level and don’t want to give him up unless it’s for a sure-fire Top-4 defenseman or Top-6 center, which Zucker isn’t. It’s also possible that they ask for Scott Laughton, who I’d be more okay with trading for the eight-year vet.

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Listen, if the Wild want to make another Nino Niederreiter-for-Victor Rask type trade, then I’m all for bringing Zucker to Philadelphia, but in a realistic scenario, Fletcher should ultimately pass on this one if the return involves a player like Lindblom while still at least making a call.