The NHL trade deadline is a month away and the Flyers circumstance is fluid to say the least. Once near the top of the divisional standings, the team has plummeted out of a playoff position over the last two weeks. With the new circumstances come new questions.
Are the Flyers buyers or sellers? If they are buyers, are they tinkering or looking for a move that will ensure their spot in the playoffs?
Whatever the Flyers circumstances may be, the Rangers are in a rebuilding phase, with seven players on the roster still on their entry level contract, plus four more ELC players on IR or the taxi squad. Much like the Flyers of three years ago, there is a lot of future promise on the roster, but this does not necessarily equate into assets to trade.
The Rangers have star power with Artemi Panarin, Chris Kreider, and Jacob Trouba all signed through the 2025-2026 season to big money contracts. The sheer length and size of the contracts are probably a bigger hurdle to a trade than their no movement clauses. But the Rangers still have plenty to offer.
Di Giuseppe is a physical grinder who can play bottom six minutes and is not a huge liability. Think of him a little like Tyler Pitlick or Connor Bunnaman, but a more physical, less skilled version, and without any use on special teams. A team looking for an inexpensive depth grinder may give him a look, but it won’t be the Flyers.
The Rangers still have Zibanejad under contract until the conclusion of the 2021-2022 season, so he is not really a true rental, and the Rangers are likely not in any hurry to move him as the make up of the Rangers current roster adds almost no expansion related pressure. However Jeff Gorton has proven he is always considering the long game.
Gorton has likely asked himself if the Rangers will be good before Zibanejad’s contract expires. Optimistically, with Zibanejad, the Rangers could contend for a playoff spot, and once in the playoffs anything can happen. A more reasonable view is that the Rangers are a season or two away. Zibanejad will be 30 at the conclusion of his contract and a unrestricted free agent. Gorton may be looking to clear the decks before Zibanejad asks for big money.
If the Flyers defense was solid, I could see a Patrick, Ghost and a first round pick going to the Rangers for Zibanejad. It would be a steep price, but it is quite a thing to think of Zibanejad taking Patrick’s place in the lineup.
Unfortunately, the defense is still a bit of a problem, which means they have more important targets to pursue, and landing Zibanejad is not going to happen this season.
As the Flyers defense continues to struggle, Tony D’s name must be considered. DeAngelo is a right handed defensemen, which is something the team covets. He is considered a puck mover and the former first round pick once scored 15 goals in a season. The Sewell native has talent, but there is more to consider.
DeAngelo has had problems defensively, and with a stable full of players that fall apart in their own end, DeAngelo does not seem like a fit. Further, the key to the defense is getting Provorov playing at the highest level. He needs a reliable partner in order to fix the defense, the erratic DeAngelo would be seem to be the opposite.
DeAngelo is not a perfect fit even before considering the rumors circulating about his personality. He has been on three NHL teams so far, and worse still, when he was waived to be put on the taxi squad, every NHL passed on him. That says a lot.
At this point, DeAngelo, from a skills perspective, is not a perfect fit. Even if the Flyers can get him for next to nothing, he is not the right player, and it is not worth risking the team chemistry.
The Rangers have some pieces to offer, but there is nothing there to help the Flyers.