We are officially under a month away from the NHL trade deadline as the Flyers currently sit on the outside of the playoffs (both in points and points percentage) with 31 games left to be played. The team itself on paper looks extremely talented and should be fighting for a top seed in the division; however, that has not been the case this season.
The Flyers have had below-average defensive play almost all season, mostly connecting to the loss of a veteran leader and first pair defenseman Matt Niskanen. Their special teams have also been underwhelming, as they cannot seem to put the puck in the back of the net on the power play or keep the puck out of the back of the net on the penalty kill.
So how do the Flyers fix those problems? Trades. With rumors around the league about what Philadelphia could be after, here are two realistic trade packages they should try to make before the trade deadline.
1) Nashville Blows It Up
Rumors have recently picked up about the Flyers trying to package Gostisbehere and Gustafsson with picks to try and get Ekholm and Arvidsson to Philadelphia.
According to a recent podcast episode from Snow the Goalie that confirms that these talks are just getting started, the deal looks a little soft on the Flyers’ end. Ekholm and Arvidsson are both going to be here for longer than this year, so more compensation would be needed than just Gostisbehere and Gustafsson. That’s where we add Nolan Patrick in.
Patrick has been struggling recently and with the Predators going for a rebuild, they’ll gladly take a chance on a 22-year-old, former number two overall pick. Throw in two higher-round draft picks to help the Nashville rebuild and it looks like a done deal.
2) Tyler Pitlick Returns?
Before going into detail, this trade should only happen if the Nashville trade can’t get completed before the deadline or if Ekholm gets traded somewhere else.
Recently Pierre LeBrun of TSN and The Athletic reported that the Flyers are interested in a trade for Alex Goligoski. Not much else came out about what else they would get or what would be given back in return besides draft compensation. This trade makes a lot of sense for both teams.
Firstly for the Flyers, being able to get rid of Gustafsson and bring in a defenseman who is on the last year of his contract is fantastic, especially with Goligoski’s cap hit. They also need another player who will go into the dirty areas, never have their motor turn off, and not be afraid to body someone or take the body. Aube-Kubel has been struggling this year so adding him in a package that would bring Tyler Pitlick back would be huge.
Pitlick, this year, has played on the top two lines in Arizona and has 6 goals and three assists. This comes while being an aggressive forechecker and penalty killer. With both the forecheck and PK struggling, bringing in Pitlick again to solidify those areas would be huge (not to mention the Raffl-Laughton-Pitlick line already had chemistry last season).
Arizona is going into another rebuild, so sending Aube-Kubel, a solid young third/fourth line wing, and two future draft picks should be enough to make this trade work for both sides.