Flyers and Bruins Could Make Blockbuster Trade

Sean Couturier, Philadelphia Flyers (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
Sean Couturier, Philadelphia Flyers (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /

Trade speculation is always a fun hobby for sports enthusiasts. A lot of it is just pipe dreams as you hope that a great player or rising star could be added to your roster. Many people don’t take into consideration things like: salary cap, the desire of a player to come to a certain city/team, or the desire of a team to take what you are offering them. When you are a rebuilding team with a lot of budding talent, like the Philadelphia Flyers, it is easy to imagine a similar thing. Maybe this free agent or that disgruntled player on that team could be a good fit. If you were to scour many posts on this website alone, you’d find many arguments for signing this guy or trading for that one.

However, things can develop that can help give some credence to these sort of dreams. When that happens, it is worth exploring options. In that note, the Boston Bruins and Flyers could really help each other out here.

The Trade

Why Boston Would Do This?

The Bruins finally got confirmation this week that future hall of famer Patrice Bergeron was hanging up his skates. His departure leaves a big hole in the Bruins lineup that needs to be filled. Here was a team that set all kinds of records last year only to fall flat on their face in the playoffs. They are still a strong team; one of the best in the Eastern Conference. However, they still need help. Bergeron was a man amongst boys and he will be hard to replace. He was one of the best two-way centers in the the history of the game.

Their division has gotten stronger too. Tampa is always tough. Florida will have the confidence that they can make it despite adversity after their Cinderella Stanley Cup run last year. Detroit added Alex DeBrincat and Ottawa recently signed Vladimir Tarasenko. Both teams just missed the playoffs last year. Buffalo has a lot of young talent and could build on their season last year. Toronto lost some players in the offseason, but should still be competent while Montreal should continue to bring up the rear. In short, Boston is not going to run over this division like they have in the past. The Metropolitan Division has also gotten tougher.

Boston is looking for a center. Trading for a strong two-way forward like Scott Laughton or Sean Couturier would help ease the pain of Bergeron. Coots would obviously have to pass some sort of physical first to see if he is healthy enough to play. If you are talking about two-way forwards, Couturier was easily in the top five best in the NHL. Laughton is a good steady forward. If they aren’t first line worthy in Boston, they could easily helm the second line.

Swayman and the Bruins just settled their arbitration, but only for one year. Perhaps a move to unload him now could benefit the Flyers. Maybe he needs a chance to get out of Linus Ullmark’s shadow. Getting Cal Petersen in a trade could be good for Boston. Petersen, who’s been both steady and shaky in the past, could succeed in Boston. With retained money, he could be cheaper than Swayman.

Why Philly Would Do This?

First of all, I want to say that I would never want to trade away Couturier and Laughton unless it was super necessary. I firmly believe that they are integral to the future of this team. The leadership skills that they possess are invaluable. However…..

If Daniel Briere could take advantage of Boston’s situation, the Flyers could benefit greatly. There are some issues. First of all, Boston’s first pick next year is a fourth-rounder and they only have three picks next year total.  The are also short a second-round pick and a fourth-round pick in 2025. They’ve mortgaged their future over the last few trade deadlines to build a Stanley Cup winning team and they’ve failed. Translation: draft picks aren’t coming in unless we send some back.

Boston’s prospect pool is pretty shallow. They are not going to give up Fabian Lysell or Matthew Poitras right now. Georgii Merkulov is an interesting prospect, however. He was an unsigned free agent. He had pedestrian stats for the Youngstown Phantoms in the USHL but came on as a freshman for Ohio State, scoring 20 goals with 14 assists in 36 games in 2021-22. At the end of the season, he debuted for the Providence Bruins, scoring five points in eight games. Last year, he earned Rookie of the Year honors for the P-Bruins with a 24-goal, 31-assist campaign. The Russian is 22 years old and is still raw. He seems like the kind of player that Briere and company could develop.

Likewise, Swayman in Philly could for a great duo in net with Carter Hart. Previously, we proposed a straight up Hart for Swayman swap. There’s a lot of good points made there and it does make some sense. However, keeping Hart, flipping Petersen, and acquiring Swayman might be better for us. Salary cap wise, it’ll probably be a wash. Swayman would have more upside for Philly than Petersen will. If Hart falters or gets injured, the team will be in good hands.  Boston would probably appreciate the playoff experience that Petersen has had. Any problems he has had, could be fixed there in Boston; especially with a better team in front of him.

The Flyers would also get some salary cap relief. This will help this team moving forward. Some players will be looking for extensions in the near future. Philly could also use some of that money in order to prep for possible free agents next offseason or as a way to sign and extend a pending free agent.

Evaluating the Returns

Boston gets a veteran goalie and a seasoned forward that would fit their system. The Bruins have enough money in their salary cap to afford Laughton or Coots, especially if the Flyers eat some money (20-25%). They also wouldn’t have to cough up any draft picks which they could really use right now. They may also be able to coax one from Philly.

The Flyers would get a goalie who could be a starter in case Hart wants to be traded or gets hurt, a steady backup, or part of an awesome goaltending duo like Mike Vernon-Chris Osgood in the 90s for Detroit. Philly would also get a prospect who is intriguing and could become a powerful scoring forward for this team; one that is raw but is very promising. This fits into the youth movement that the team is pushing for while creating room for a younger player to showcase their talents.

Potential Holdups

If the Bruins were to take Laughton and his $3 million salary, there really isn’t any issue. Laughton is coming off a career year however and seems to be the glue to this team that Briere and John Tortorella are building. If Laughton is the piece, the Bruins may have to add a lower level prospect in the deal too to sweeten the pot.

However, if Couturier is the centerpiece of the deal, there is a snag. Coots’ $7.75 million salary would put the Bruins way over the cap ($5.4 million). Even if the Flyers retain 20-25% of his salary, it is still not enough. Likewise, the Flyers are already paying for Tony DeAngelo and Kevin Hayes who are no longer on the team. They can’t afford to keep moving people and paying for them to play elsewhere. Some of that money needs to stay here in Philly.

So, there are two options in regards to Coots. One is that the Bruins send another player to Philly; but looking at their roster, there is probably not anyone that Boston is going to want to send over for cap relief nor is there anyone who would probably be willing to waive a no-trade clause to leave Boston for Philadelphia.

The second option is that the Flyers would have to find a third team to make the trade with. This would most likely involve the Flyers having to move another player to some other team and the Bruins sending either a plyer or a prospect to that team. If the Bruins could end up with a health Coots, it might be worth it. However, finagling the salary cap issues of three teams and finding the personnel to fit perfectly to achieve a movement would likely be impossible at this point.

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