The trade deadline is just under a month away and the Philadelphia Flyers are in a position where they are going to be sellers.
Back in October, not many would have guessed that the Flyers would be bottom feeders in the NHL. They were considered a fringe playoff team with a holster of young players ready to make a jump.
To the dismay of the fans and players, the team has not performed, not even as a wild card team. The frustrating lack of consistency, mediocre goaltending (when said goalies haven’t been injured), bad special teams and awful coaching under Dave Hakstol have been some of the reasons the Flyers find themselves at the bottom of the standings.
Some of the supposed veterans on the team have not been playing up to par. Jake Voracek and Wayne Simmonds have been criticized heavily for their play and youngsters like Oskar Lindblom, Nolan Patrick and at times Travis Konecny, have not pulled their own weight.
To make matters worse, the Flyers cornerstone defensemen, Ivan Provorov, and Shayne Gostisbehere have been abysmal at times. However, these are simply hurdles that they will overcome eventually.
The bright side? Being sellers doesn’t mean Chuck Fletcher needs to rip the team apart and restart Ron Hextall’s “plan”. The team still has several players they can build around. Giroux, Couturier, van Riemsdyk, Patrick, Konecny, Provorov, Gostisbehere and of course Carter Hart should be your new “core”.
So? Who goes?
Simmonds appears to be the first candidate to be traded. He is on the final year of his bargain 6-year, $23,85 million dollar contract and many teams have shown interest in the power forward.
And why wouldn’t they? Simmonds has averaged 27 or more goals in every season with the Flyers excluding last year when he played through multiple injuries.
His damage is done mostly on the power play, an area where only Alex Ovechkin has excelled more than him since 2011-2012. It’s important to note that the “Wayne Train” is not scoring at that same pace anymore despite those numbers looking good. He is the type of player that will bring an element of grit to a lineup and almost every GM is looking for a Simmonds-type player. His value is hard to pinpoint, but my guess would be he gets a first round pick at the very least, despite being a rental (Remember, Martin Hanzal was acquired as a rental for a first, second and a conditional fourth).
The next realistic move could be Radko Gudas, who is often under siege because of his physical style of play. It wouldn’t be totally out of line to say Gudas is a good defenseman when he is on his game. Those who have watched him game in and game out for the last four years know how good he can be on most nights.
Dealing Gudas could land them another good draft pick and free up a spot to bring in Philippe Myers, Mark Friedman or potentially Samuel Morin when he gets a look. Another player in that Gudas boat is Robert Hagg, due to the similarity in their game.
Dale Weise has already been at the head of trade discussions, but the situation is weird since no team claimed him off waivers. If he is traded, I would imagine the Flyers would need to retain some of his salary since he would mostly be used in a fourth line role on a contending team.
The season has been an odd one for the Orange & Black, but Fletcher definitely has the assets to shake up the roster at the deadline and in the offseason by acquiring some free agents. His primary goals should be to sign a goalie, a third-line center
He is going to have to make room for Morgan Frost and Myers who are knocking at the door. Myers, to some extent, has already knocked the door down.