Walker, who will turn 29 this year, will be the second oldest defender on the team after Nick Seeler. He is not a goal scoring/points producing type of blue liner. That’s probably ok since the Flyers have a few on the team, like Provorov, who thought they were and struggled on the defensive side of it.
Walker is not a really impressive guy. He averaged almost 15 minutes of ice time, gave up 77 hits, had 13 points, and was a -3. Those are decent numbers for a third unit defender.
Again, he could be flipped for someone else or kept around for a depth piece. His salary for this year is $2,650,000 and he is on the final year of his contract. That isn’t a bad salary for a veteran defender, but he might end up blocking one of the defensive prospects waiting to come up.
Much like Petersen, we have to wait and watch with Walker. With the Flyers not done yet in making moves, there could be other factors in play here. (Tony DeAngelo maybe?) And with that in mind, perhaps a veteran defender can help be a mentor to a crop of young guys; similar to what Justin Braun was doing.
One other thing to keep in mind: Briere is making moves with John Tortorella in mind. Maybe there is something in Walker that Tortorella sees, likes, and wants for this team.
This one is the wild card. Grans was a highly regarded prospect in the Kings organization that just hasn’t panned out. He is also just 22 years old. Remember, similar things were said last year with Tippett and look how that turned out.
In two seasons with the Ontario Reign, Grans has scored nine goals with 24 assists. Only nine of those points came in his second year. He took a big step back. Maybe it was the system or the coach. However, again, he was a second round pick in 2020 and is just 22.
Here are some scouting reports on him when he was drafted:
"“An offensive defenseman with great size and a right-handed shot. A great skater who glides smoothly and uses his edges very well. Owns very good puck skills and a good shot. Needs to improve his decision-making and defensive play. Projects to become a middle-pair defenseman at the NHL level.” — Jokke Nevalainen of Dobber Prospects “He’ll walk the offensive blue line with the puck on his stick with relative ease; and he can mitigate risk while maintaining an aggressive, space-consuming posture when defending the defensive blue line. He skates well, has a long reach, an active stick, and good habits with his footwork.” — Elite Prospects “When all aspects are humming, Grans can be the best player on the ice well beyond simply taking the puck for a skate or slinging pucks on net. Granted, he holds a significant size advantage over most teenage opponents and plays in a league not necessarily known for a physical forecheck.” — Steve Koumianos of The Draft Analyst"
In 2019-20, he represented Sweden at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup. Many of the draft analysis reports on Grans stated that he had a poor showing: five games, no goals, one assist, -3. They felt that based on that alone, his draft stock would take a hit, but if you look at his level of play with the Malmö Redhawks of the Swedish league, you could overlook that.
The most glaring comment I found, again came from Nevalainen’s analysis of him from Dobber Prospects:
"“But his biggest weakness right now is his decision-making which can be baffling at times. He can make good decisions with the puck most of the time but the mistakes he makes are massive and unexplainable.”"
So, he is young and raw, but shows flashes of talent. With Ian Laperriere down at Lehigh Valley, and with the help of Briere, Tortorella, and Keith Jones, this kid could be developed into something great. And if Grans can put together all of the tools and skills he has and suddenly “click”, he could be the steal of this trade.
Grans had a rough second year in the AHL. Perhaps with a change of scenery, he can flourish. And if he doesn’t, the Flyers will benefit greatly from this.
So overall, it looks like a pretty significant haul for Briere. And if this is the first trade that is coming, I can’t wait to see what’s coming next.