Canes injury woes could benefit Philadelphia Flyers

Flyers (Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Flyers (Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /
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The other day, Kevin Legowski wrote a great article about the Flyers contacting the Carolina Hurricanes about a possible swap for James van Riemsdyk. He made the argument that due to a major injury to Max Pacioretty, the Flyers and Canes would be a great fit for each other.

That was earlier this week. Things have progressed in ways that Chuck Fletcher could only dream of. After Pacioretty went down, defensive stalwart Jacob Slavin went down with a lower-body injury. He has missed two straight games. Slavin is one of the premier shutdown defenders in the NHL and his absence could be felt soon in Raleigh. He’s been replaced in the lineup by  Dylan Coghlan.

That isn’t the only injury that Carolina is facing. Goaltender Frederik Andersen, aged 33, was caught in a collision with Brent Burns in the first period. Andersen closed out the period but then was replaced in net by Antti Raanta.

The Flyers need to get in contact with the Hurricanes

Carolina has had a problem with goaltenders staying healthy in net. This year, the Canes have had a rotation in net of Andersen, Raanta, and rookie goalie Pyotr Kochetkov. All have played well at times. All have also spent time dealing with injuries; some major and some minor.

The Flyers have had their fair share of injuries which are well-documented by all of the authors on this site. From mid-September to early December, I’m not sure if a week could go by without someone getting injured or getting ready to return from an injury. So, we get it.

The difference that those injuries the Flyers faced helped to sink the team to where it is now: fighting for a chance to maybe get into the playoffs. The Hurricanes have been at/near the top of the division almost all season. They are fighting to stay at the top and get as high a playoff seed as possible.

It’s not sure how badly hurt Slavin and Andersen are. Maybe the upcoming break will do them well.  By some quirk of the schedule, the Flyers are done playing following Saturday’s game against Winnipeg. The  Hurricanes have four games before the All-Star game before they take their week off.

But if the Canes need a healthy goaltender, they could ask the Flyers for one. They could pay a little for Felix Sandstrom or pay a lot to get Samuel Ersson and have their potential “goalie of the future”. Realistically, Ersson and Kochetkov could form a formidable duo in net; similar to Chris Osgood and Mike Vernon in Detroit in the 1990s. Likewise, if Slavin is hurt, they could ask for one of the Flyers’ defenders. Justin Braun could fill in for the short term. If they are looking for a longer replacement, they could kick the tires on Ivan Provorov or Rasmus Ristolainen as well.

The obvious downside, of course, is that you don’t want to help a juggernaut in your own division. These additions could either be short-term rentals or help power Carolina for years to come. And typically, the mindset in Raleigh is to do “sign-and-trades” or get players under control so as to not waste assets on a guy who will be gone in a few months. And for some reason, many of the trades we’ve done with Carolina have greatly favored the Hurricanes later on.

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Some teams, when faced with the looming playoff season, can get desperate. Some teams make great moves while others become impatient. We’ve seen this in Philly as Bobby Clarke made some moves that were shortsighted, such as trading Justin Williams to the Hurricanes for Danny Markov. Other teams are smarter and see the long-term picture better.

If there is a way that Chuck Fletcher can take advantage of a divisional opponent’s weaknesses, by all means, try it.