Flyers trade Sean Walker to Avalanche

Philadelphia Flyers v Chicago Blackhawks
Philadelphia Flyers v Chicago Blackhawks / Jamie Sabau/GettyImages

With two days before the NHL Trade Deadline, the Flyers have made their first move. Sean Walker has long been thought of as a trade asset since he was acquired last offseason. His play made the team consider extending him, but with the potential news of a Nick Seeler extension coming, keeping both was unlikely.

The Flyers have sent Sean Walker and a 2026 fifth-round pick to the Colorado Avalanche. In return, they have received Ryan Johansen and a first-round pick in 2025. The pick is top-10 protected. Danny Briere has held firm that a first-round pick was what they wanted for Walker's services. Johansen will have a 4M cap hit next season as the Predators retained 50% of the original deal to Colorado.

Walker has revived his career in Philadelphia. He and Seeler have been the most consistent and capable pairing for the Flyers this season. They have played over 640 minutes together at even strength. They have the best CF% (53.46) amongst all regular parings for Philadelphia. They are the only pairing who hasn't been outscored when on the ice together. The two hold a 54.69 GF% and an xGF% of 56.45.

That led many to believe that the Flyers could look into trading the two of them together. They were reportedly teams, such as the Tampa Bay Lightning, looking into that exact scenario. It's rare to see a defensive pairing being traded together, though. So it will just be Walker heading to Colorado in this deal.

Offensively, Walker has had a career season in Philadelphia. His sixth goal came against Tampa Bay four games ago, breaking his high of five goals set in the 2019-20 season. His 22 points are two off the high set in the same season. And his 16 assists are four off of a new high as well. Defensively, he leads all Flyers' defensemen with a 53.96 CF%. The Flyers drive play whenever Walker is on the ice. His 55 GF% is sixth amongst all regular skaters. And his 55.80 xGF% is fourth, third if you don't count Rasmus Ristolainen who has only played in 31 games.

Ryan Johansen has one more year left on an eight-year contract he signed with the Nashville Predators in 2017. Johansen was traded to the Avalanche this past offseason. He has posted 13 goals and 23 points in 63 games with Colorado. The Flyers have placed him on waivers though, so he appears unlikely to play in Philadelphia, at least for now. It would be surprising if he gets claimed, so we will wait to see what the Flyers do if he clears tomorrow afternoon.

Before the Johansen acquisition, the Flyers had over 5.3M to work with at the deadline. He would take up 4M unless he is claimed or they bury some of his salary in the AHL.