The 2021 trade deadline is just days away and the big question on everyone’s mind is “will Chuck Fletcher make moves?” He stated in his press conference a few weeks ago that he doesn’t anticipate the Flyers to be sellers despite their record, but since then the Flyers have blown a few big games and still find themselves on the outside looking in on a playoff spot. Fletcher should use this trade deadline as a way to clear some cap and pick up an asset or two as a way to give the team a facelift heading into the 2022 season. Shayne Gostisbehere has been on the chopping block for seemingly years at this point and maybe this deadline will finally be the time we see the soon-to-be-28-year-old shipped out of Philly? If he’s dealt, where will the Ghost Bear end up?
Number 5- Montreal Canadiens
This has been a rumor pretty much as long as Ghost’s name has been in the trade rumor mill. The Canadiens are in an interesting spot in the North Division. They currently hold the fourth seed in the division with an eight point lead on the Canucks and a whopping five games in hand on all three teams above them in the standings who have at least a six-point lead on the Canadiens. So it seems like for better or worse they will make the playoffs and if they want to hold their own against one of the top teams in the North, they will need all the help they can get. The catch is the Habs have very little cap space to work with, as Capfriendly clocks them in with a little less than half a million of deadline space. There were rumors earlier in the year that defenseman Victor Mete may be on the Flyers radar as he has more often than not been a healthy scratch in Montreal. They money wouldn’t work out by itself, but if there’s smoke there may be fire and a longstanding connection may finally be fulfilled.
Number 4- Florida Panthers
This one may have taken a hit after the Panthers didn’t claim Ghost on waivers for free, so maybe the idea of Florida giving something up for him may seem far-fetched. Though the Panthers have $3.2 million in cap space and an estimated $14.5 million in deadline space, which is more than enough to swing a deal for Ghost. The rumors early in the season linked Keith Yandle to the Flyers, but given he still has two more years on his deal that pays him $6.3 million, the Flyers probably won’t be too keen on adding that contract if they are sellers. Though just because the Panthers passed for free once doesn’t mean they won’t be interested. They’ll be without their top defenseman Aaron Ekblad for the foreseeable future and in a week’s time they may be more interested in adding him if they have a rough stretch before the deadline. It’d be a homecoming for Gostisbehere, who was born outside of Miami, and all 35 people in the BB&T Center will go wild at his return.
Number 3- Buffalo Sabres
The Sabres will be in full on sell mode at the trade deadline and if the Flyers choose to circle around the corpse of Buffalo, Ghost will be an obvious player going the other way to make the salary work out. If they Flyers were interested in adding a young player like, say, Sam Reinhart, someone who could help the team in the future, they could center a deal around picks and prospects but adding someone like Gostisbehere to the deal would make the money work right now. May be a long shot due to the Flyers falling out of a playoff spot, but adding a young guy for the future shouldn’t be taken off the table, and Buffalo has an abundance of young players to pick from.
Number 2- Detroit Red Wings
One of the other teams that will be guaranteed sellers at the deadline will be the Red Wings. While it’s unlikely the Flyers are in the market as a buyer, they should be in the market to look for any deal possible to improve the team. The Wings have already said they’re open to taking on some salary, so it’s possible the Flyers could circle back and try and dump Ghost in Detroit, a move they probably should have made last offseason. Rumors have been circulating that the Flyers may have eyes on Jonathan Bernier, so maybe there could be some connection if Chuck Fletcher is still looking to improve the backup goalie position.
Number 1- Nashville Predators
While the rumors of the Flyers being linked to Mattias Ekholm have died down due to the Flyers free-falling in the standings and the Predators going on a winning streak, it’s possible the script may get flipped and the Predators could be the buyers. If they were interested in Ghost before, maybe they’ll still be interested in Ghost now. Their defense is currently held together but AHLers as three of their seven usual blue liners are on IR. Per Capfriendly, the Preds are expected to have over $8.5 million in deadline cap space, so it’s possible they trade one of the many rumored players they were looking to move as sellers in a deal to improve for a playoff run.
By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)
photo credit: theskydivingcompany.com / espn.com