Daniel Briere is no stranger to making bold moves. So far, he's moved Ivan Provorov for a fairly good haul and then moved Kevin Hayes for...well, what he could. He's traded away disgruntled prospect Cutter Gauthier and brough in young defensive prospect Jamie Drysdale. All the moves he has made, so far, have improved the team either by the load that he has brought back to Philly or because of what he has sent away. You know, the whole "addition by subtraction" thing.
During the weeks leading up the NHL trade deadline, there are always rumors and speculation about who is on the move. Last year, there were probably a dozen rumors about the Flyers and then Chuck Fletcher did nothing.
This year has been no different. There are rumors surrounding Sean Walker, Nick Seeler, Morgan Frost, Scott Laughton, acquiring a goalie, etc. Some of these probably have more chances of happening than others.
However, I have an interesting proposal that would help the Flyers out immediately and provide for the future of this team without sacrificing it. The trade partner the Flyers need to talk to is Calgary.
The Flames are just a few points outside of a Western Conference playoff spot. It wasn't that long ago that it looked as if that they were trying to become a powerhouse. Something happened and this team has fallen apart. One of their best players, defenseman Noah Hanifin, could be on the way out. All season, he's gone back and forth about signing a long term extension. He wants to and then he doesn't. Calgary would like to get something for him instead of losing him on the free agency market. This is where the Flyers come in.
Risotlainen has improved his game since John Tortorella has taken over as head coach. Of this, there can be no doubt. However, he hasn't played a lot this season. Likewise, the team really hasn't missed him. Because of this, he has been involved in some trade rumors.
If Hanifin wants out of Calgary, a trade with Philly makes sense for both teams. Ristolainen is signed on for the next three seasons. It would bring some stability to the Flames as only Ristolainen and MacKenzie Weegar would be signed longterm. Likewise, Hanifin's salary is only $200,000 less than what Ristolainen is making. It is a price they could afford to absorb, so Philadelphia wouldn't have to eat up yet another high priced player's salary for years to come.
Hanfin is 27 years old and brings the offensive skills that the Flyers had hoped Ristolainen would've brought. He's just entering his prime. Acquiring him would be replacing Ristolainen, so it wouldn't be blocking one of the young defenders on the rise. Perhaps he could make a good mentor to Drysale or Egor Zamula.
Now, I would only make this deal if it means that we could do a sign-and-trade. Gaining him for just three months isn't worth it. Hanifin is a good player and the price tag for him could be high. That's why we'd probably have to cough up a couple of high draft picks. Likewise, we may have to involve a third party team if the Flames want more draft picks. Another version of this trade would be to include Sean Walker and use that first round pick to send to Calgary.
If Ristolainen and the draft picks aren't enough, the Flyers may have to unload a prospect. A prospect like Olle Lycksell, Helge Grans, or Emil Andrae might be tossed in to sweeten the deal. You hate to lose prospects, but it might have to get the job done to get a solid defender who can patrol the blue line for the next few seasons.
It's a lot of resources to acquire one player, but a player like Hanifin doesn't come around often. He would be an immediate boost to both the offensive and defensive side of the ice. He could be someone we could count on for the next four of five years. The trade makes sense as it doesn't cost our team a whole lot in future assets. It's something that I hope the team could consider.