It’s trade deadline season and just like a kid on Christmas fans can’t help but get excited with the endless possibilities of potential additions a team can make as they gear up for a playoff run. Unfortunately, with the salary cap still flat due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the looming expansion draft this summer, there may not be all the hoopla of a regular trade deadline. Teams will have to get creative to make additions that not only fit the needs, but don’t break the bank either. Putting the outlandish trade scenarios on the back burner, let’s look at realistic players the Flyers may target when the April 12 deadline rolls around.
Number 5: Adam Larsson
If defenseman Adam Larsson isn’t on the Flyers’ radar at the trade deadeline, he very well should be during the offseason. The 28-year-old is in the last year of his current contract that pays him $4.1 million this season. The Oilers are fighting for a top spot in the North Division, so it’s unlikely they’ll piece their roster apart before then, but if they do indeed opt to move some deck chairs before the playoffs, the Flyers should be inquiring. He may not be the true number two they’re looking for, but he’d be a much needed upgrade on the blue line.
Number 4: Eric Staal
Last season, the Flyers went for the “veteran leadership” route at the trade deadline with Nate Thompson and Derek Grant, so maybe they’ll go that route again, just with a much more talented player. Theoretically, the Flyers are pretty deep down the middle. Couturier, Hayes, Patrick, Laughton, and recently Claude Giroux, though between injury, illness and underperformance they haven’t had a chance to put their talents on full display this season. Recently, Patrick has been playing on the wing, and if he stays there, a spot down the middle could open up for a player like Eric Staal. Staal is now 36 years old and in the last year of his deal that pays him $3.25 million this season. Even though his numbers have slowly but surely decreased over the years, posting just eight points in 22 games with the Sabres this season, the assets he brings to the table far outweigh his diminished offensive production.
Number 3: Mattias Ekhlom
This is a name Flyers fans have heard quite a bit lately. While he’d be close to a perfect fit on the blue line, he also would not be a rental player as he has another full season left on his $3.75 million contract which would present a hurdle for the Flyers’ expansion draft plans. Ekholm, who will turn 31 at the end of May, has over 550 NHL games under his belt, and while scoring isn’t his forte, he does have 201 points to his name as well. The player is great, the contract is manageable, but would the Flyers take a risk and throw a potential wrench in their expansion draft plans for a playoff run?
Number 2: Sam Bennett
When the Flyers’ name gets attached to a player from Calgary it typically isn’t Sam Bennett, but in the current landscape, he’d be the much easier option to procure. Bennett had a falling out with previous head coach Geoff Ward this season and will probably be dealt away before his $2.25 million contract expires this summer when he will become a restricted free agent. With Darryl Sutter now behind the bench on Calgary, the new coach may take time to reassess his lineup, but given the limbo the Flames find themselves in, they could look to pick up an asset or two for a pending RFA.
Number 1: Bobby Ryan
Bobby Ryan to the Flyers rumors have existed as long as Ryan has been in the league. At one point this season Ryan lead the league in goals, but while that pace has slowed, he has still managed to post a respectable six goals and 13 points in the Red Wings’ 25 games. He will turn 34 in the middle of March but in on a cheap one year, one million contract. Due to his production, experience, and easy to eat contract, he will be a hot commodity when the deadline approaches. if Fletcher’s trade deadline approach from last season is anything to go off, he may be interested in a cheap, veteran depth forward and the long awaited homecoming for the 34-year-old would be quite the feel good story.
By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)
photo credit: buffalohockeybeat.com/nhl.com/clickondetroit.com