The NHL trade deadline is on the horizon and the Philadelphia Flyers have some big decisions to make. Thanks to an eight-game win streak and Carter Hart, the Flyers are back in the playoff hunt. While their odds are still extremely slim, there is at least a chance they could sneak in. Chuck Fletcher has stated he wants to “both buy and sell” at the deadline, which is the right mindset for a team who is finally on the verge of breaking out. Whether it be expiring contracts or shaking up the underwhelming core, there are plenty of options for a fantasy-esque trade to come to life.
Number 5- Wayne Simmonds and a 2nd round pick for Jacob Trouba
This would be an interesting trade simply because both players are on an expiring contract. Trouba would be a great pickup for the Flyers who desperately need a top right-handed defenseman. Simmonds would be a solid middle-six forward who can bolster the already hot Jets powerplay as well as being a leader for the young guys in Winnipeg.
Trouba has already battled Winnipeg on a contract in 2016, holding out for the first two months of the 2016-17 season and demanding a trade in that time. He signed a two-year contract then fought the Jets once again in an arbitration hearing this past summer.
The Flyers would have plenty of cap space to sign a top four defenseman like Trouba, while still adding Myers from the Phantoms. This would be a cheap addition for the Jets playoff push, who look to return to the Western Conference Final from last season. Adding a draft pick from the Flyers side might help Winnipeg swallow the risk of bringing in Simmonds if they can’t re-sign him this summer.
Number 4- Wayne Simmonds for Kevin Fiala and Calle Jarnkrok
This one is partially a fan theory mixed with some personal additions. Simmonds has been linked to Nashville in trade rumors for quite some time, and now seems like a good time to finally pull the trigger. Nashville just traded a second round pick for Brian Boyle so it seems as though they are serious about reinforcing their forward corps for a playoff run.
Simmonds provides a low-cost option for the Predators to add a forward on their miserable second-to-last ranked powerplay. Even though his offense has slipped, he would join a team where he wouldn’t have to carry the bulk of the load, but instead play a role he has adopted in Philly as a third line winger and focus on the powerplay.
Kevin Fiala is a 22-year-old forward who has yet to see consistent top minutes in Nashville due to their current forward depth. He currently sits at 9 goals and 20 assists on the season. Calle Jarnkrok is one of the more underrated two-way forwards in the league. With the Flyers likely set to lose Michael Raffl this summer, Philly could use a middle-six two-way player. Jarnkrok has 10 goals and 22 points and is seeing more ice time than Fiala. Admittedly, the Flyers might need to add another pick/prospect from their side, but Fiala and Jarnkrok would both be great additions for the Flyers lineup.
Number 3- Artemi Panarin for James Van Riemsdyk, Radko Gudas, and a 1st round pick
This one is probably the least likely given the rumors of the king’s ransom Columbus is asking for Panarin, but from a systematical standpoint, this could work.
Panarin has voiced his displeasure in Columbus, refusing to talk contract extensions until after the season. He is a free agent after this year and will likely be getting a huge payday from his current $6 million he currently makes. Even through the contract disputes, Panarin is having a heck of a season, with 20 goals and 59 points, he is playing good hockey regardless of the situation.
Van Riemsdyk’s return to Philly hasn’t quite gone as planned. Coming off a 39-goal season last year with the Leafs, his 13-goal, 25-point campaign thus far are disappointing. JVR is due to make $7 million for another four years.
Radko Gudas’ name has been thrown around in the trade rumor mill due to his solid play on the Flyers blueline. Gudas entered this season on a down note after struggling after to find his play after suspensions forced him to adjust his style. He has been one of the more consistent players on the whole roster this season for the Flyers and could be a valuable trade chip to the right team. Gudas is on a cheap deal, making $3.3 million for one more year.
With Panarin probably walking away from Columbus in free agency, trading him seems like the best option for the Blue Jackets. Acquiring JVR should be an attractive option for Columbus. His long-term deal and his past offensive successes should be nice for a team who will be down a superstar. Gudas brings some stability to a shallow Blue Jackets defense. Throwing in a first round pick (preferably in 2020 or later) should help seal the deal.
Number 2- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Oskar Klefbom for Jake Voracek and Robert Hagg
This trade would be great because there are multiple layers that would benefit both teams. Nugent-Hopkins is currently in the middle of a breakout season thanks to his linemate Connor McDavid. Already at 48 points as of the writing of this article, he is quickly approaching his career high of 56. Klefbom was having a decent season before a finger injury put him on the shelf since mid-december. RNH currently has two years left at $6 million while Klefbom is locked in for four more years at $4.1 million.
Jake Voracek is still struggling to find his way this season, sitting at 11 goals and 44 points, it would take a solid run to get up to the 70-80 point mark he usually finds himself at. Hagg already has a new career high in points at 13 and has yet to miss a game this season. Voracek is signed for five more years at $8.25 million while Hagg has one year left at $1.1 million.
Even though Voracek’s contract isn’t pretty, the money would come close to evening out in the deal, in fact the Flyers would take almost a million dollars back as the combination of RNH and Klefbom is $10.1 million compared to Voracek and Hagg at $9.4 million.
this trade would give Edmonton a legit winger for McDavid and a solid plug-in defenseman in Hagg. The Flyers would get added center depth in Nugent-Hopkins while also bringing on a reclamation project in Klefbom, who has yet to fully live up to his original hype as a two-way defenseman.
Number 1- Vladimir Tarasenko and Alex Pietrangelo for Jake Voracek, Shayne Gostisbehere and a 2nd round pick
This would easily be the biggest blockbuster on this list, but one that may not be as crazy as it sounds. Both the Blues and Flyers franchises haven’t lived up to their expectations this season, and all four players involved have followed their teams lead of normality.
Vladimir Tarasenko is having an abysmal season by his standards, with only 18 goals and 35 points through 49 games. Typically, he ends the season with 30-plus goals and 65-75 points. Tarasenko’s contract is actually pretty decent given his star status, he is making $7.5 million for another four years.
Alex Pietrangelo, the current captain of the St. Louis Blues, is struggling to produce as well. Known for his playmaking ability, he only sits at 15 assists and 20 points through 39 games. Pietrangelo is fresh off his 29th birthday so one has to wonder if the peak of his career is behind him. He currently has one year left on a deal that pays him $6.5 million a season.
Shayne Gostisbehere is going through a down year offensively, and in return, his defensive game is being exposed as a real weakness. Sitting at a miniscule 21 points through 50 games, a whopping 44 points less than his total from last season, has his name swirling in trade rumors as a sell-high player.
This trade would be a change of scenery for four players that are all in the midst of a down year. Swapping the forwards is interesting. From a point total standpoint, it is relatively similar, but Voracek has eclipsed Tarasenko’s career high on two separate times. Tarasenko, however, is a much better goal scorer, and consistent offensive presence.
The defenseman are two completely different types of players, and that could be a good thing. Bringing in Pietrangelo means some of the weight of the top defenseman role comes off of young gun Ivan Provorov, who is having his own struggles. It would also give the Flyers the top right-handed defenseman they have desperately needed for years. Ghost would fit well in St. Louis’ offense-first system. With young big man Colton Parayko continuing to grow as a player, St. Louis may see Alex Pietranglo as expandable given they have their new star.
By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)
photo credit: Zimbio.com