Do The Flyers Miss Sean Walker?

Colorado Avalanche v Columbus Blue Jackets
Colorado Avalanche v Columbus Blue Jackets / Jason Mowry/GettyImages

The Philadelphia Flyers have had an interesting year. They've surprised everyone with their play and have been near the top of the Metropolitan Division all year. They are in the middle of a rebuild/youth movement but are close to a playoff spot. Their rebuild could be over a lot sooner than most have predicted. And yet...

Despite being in playoff contention all year, they are suddenly in grave danger of losing their postseason chances. If it happens, there will be all the 20/20 hindsight of figuring out where it went wrong and why it happened. There will be a lot of theories posted. There is one fact that we need to look at.

This team, for the most part, has been injury-free. Ok, there have been a few games missed here and there by Travis Konecny, Nick Seeler, Sean Couturier, and others. Except for Jamie Drysdale and Rasmus Ristolainen, this team was major injury-free. Over the last two seasons, many top players have missed a lot of time. This year that hasn't happened.

You could say that the instability in the net played a part in it, and I'm sure it has. However, Sam Ersson has outplayed Carter Hart. Maybe the team burned Ersson out down the stretch. Yet, there is a more compelling reason why they are struggling right now.

On Mar. 4, the Flyers traded Sean Walker to the Colorado Avalanche for a first-round pick in 2025. The deal was a great trade considering that Walker is an upcoming free agent and was a toss-in to the Ivan Provorov deal from last year. Walker played himself into a top pairing role with Nick Seeler and has become one of the best defensive players in the NHL this year.

Fun fact: since the Flyers traded him away, Philly is 4-7-4. They have given up 64 goals while scoring just 37. In the 12 games he's played in Colorado, Walker has scored three goals and has three assists. The Avalanche are also 11-3-1 in that stretch. While in Philly, Walker was known to help jumpstart the offense, scoring a career-high six goals while assisting on 16 others.

The Flyers may be in a rebuild and are trying to get younger, but Walker was a solid rock on this team. It would be very, very wise to bring him back this offseason. Yes, you don't have to lock him up long-term, but a two or three-year deal would be very smart to sign a guy who will turn 30 in November. He paired well with Nick Seeler and formed one of the league's best defensive pairings.

There are lots of reasons why the Flyers were successful earlier this year. Likewise, there is an equal number of reasons why they have struggled. You could say that about every team in the NHL. However, one thing is certain: the Flyers were better with Walker on this team.

The way I look at it, the Flyers have two priorities for this offseason. The first is to re-sign Travis Konency. The second is to bolster this team's defense by bringing Walker back. They are trying to get younger, but Walker is a proven commodity for this team. He liked playing here and John Tortorella liked having him here. I would rather have a 30-year-old who can perform (see Seeler) than wait for an Egor Zamula, Cam York, or Drysdale to finally reach the potential we've all been waiting to see.