It’s no secret the Flyers’ faithful are an antsy bunch these days. As we all stand on the precipice of a critical offseason, pondering just how far the Flyers dissect the team is one of many big questions facing the club. When talking about roster changes and assessing the current group of players, the term “untouchable” typically comes up. For some “untouchable” translates to “don’t trade my favorite player” while for others it means keeping a small number of dudes that will be the foundation of the franchise for years to come.
So do the Flyers have any untouchable players heading into the 2022 offseason? It’s a far more interesting question than it may appear.
Realistically, There shouldn’t be anybody on this roster that’s 100% safe. After two years of completely terrible hockey, it’s hard to justify anybody’s presence that has contributed to that.
But if we’re going to pare down the roster, you can remove the younger kids who had their first cup of coffee with the Flyers to close out the 2021-22 season. Guys like Noah Cates, Owen Tippett, Bobby Brink, Ronnie Attard and Cam York. They were innocent bystanders in this mess.
As for everyone else, they’ve got a price.
Now, That doesn’t mean dealing away the younger players willy nilly. They’re not going to trade Ivan Provorov or Travis Konecny just for the fun of it, but if a big addition is on the radar and the Flyers need to part ways with someone of substance to make it happen, they need to strongly consider it.
The list of truly “safe” players is probably pretty small. Sean Couturier’s new eight-year contract kicks in this season and nobody in their right mind would want to add that, same goes for Rasmus Ristolainen’s new five-year deal.
You can probably cross Provorov and Farabee off the list unless they draw offers that knock their socks off. Hayes, Atkinson and Laughton seem to make up the veteran leadership core, so, while not necessarily untouchable, they’re probably going to be the ones tasked with the transition to welcoming John Tortorella to the mix.
For the rest of the roster, they’re open season.
Travis Konecny is probably the best trade chip on the main roster. Clearing Van Riemsdyk’s cap should be priority number one and Lindblom may become a cap casualty as well. Travis Sanheim more than likely stays, at least in the short term, but with a contract extension looming next summer, if the organization ultimately wants to go in a different direction he could be a trade deadline move.
Carter Hart has been an interesting name thrown around over the last few months. With the addition of Ivan Fedotov, the re-signing of Felix Sandstrom and Samuel Ersson still hanging around, the goaltending pipeline is well and good for potentially the first time in the history of the organization. It has led some to theorize that Carter Hart may be available via trade to secure a superstar forward. Hell, we even threw our hat in the Hart for Draisaitl trade rumors from awhile back.
While the Flyers do have a pipeline full of prospects that could potentially make Hart at least semi-flexible when it comes to trade rumors, it’s best to not pull the trigger too soon. Fedotov may have a successful track record in Russia, but he hasn’t stepped foot on North American ice yet. Ersson missed all but four games during his rookie season with the Phantoms, and Sandstrom can hold down the fort for a spot start, but has yet to truly be tested in the NHL. The potential they all possess is through the roof, but counting your chickens and dealing Hart right now could prove to be a disaster. Maybe one day in a couple years dealing Hart could be a real option, but for right now, he falls into the “untouchable” category.
At the end of the day, there doesn’t appear to be a single player on the main roster, or even prospect within the organization, that should be 100% off the market. The Flyers need star power, and when it comes to adding legitimacy to the lineup, they need to give to get. For the main roster players that have been here of upwards of five years, your time is up. The grace period needs to end and sweeping changes need to be brought to the team, even if it’s at the cost of a fan favorite or young up-and-comer.
By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)
photo credit: tsn.ca