The Philadelphia Flyers continue to linger in the murky middle ground of not quite being a bottom team in the league but don’t have nearly enough talent to be truly competitive while having a roster composed of expensive, long-term contracts that has handcuffed the growth of the franchise during the flat cap era. Even though the salary cap may be in the rise in the near future, the abundance of bodies that are here for the rest of time are going to limit any moves that should’ve been maid, so the Flyers may have to get creative in order to start turning this team around.
27-year-old defenseman Tony DeAngelo is one of the very few players the Flyers have signed lately and didn’t give a lifetime contract to. They contained themselves to just a two-year deal with a $5 million cap hit per season.
There’s quite a few prospects on their blueline who could reasonably see NHL action in the very near future, but the Flyers have most of their veteran defense core locked up to long term contracts, meaning if someone like Ronnie Attard, a 23-year-old right-handed defenseman with a similar skillset to DeAngelo, makes the jump to the NHL and looks promising, could they trade away Tony D for a king’s ransom?
They gave up a second, third and fourth round pick for the guy at the entry draft, which is a steep, but not unfair price to pay for the player the Flyers have gotten this season. DeAngelo is currently third on the Flyers in scoring with three goals and nine points in 15 games and has been a solid addition to the blueline alongside Ivan Provorov.
He’s producing points, isn’t a complete disaster in his own end, and has (so far) keep his nose out of any controversy. If that trend continues, DeAngelo could theoretically be a worthwhile trade piece at the deadline or next offseason.
The original predictions for the 2023 trade deadline featured Travis Sanheim getting dealt for extra draft assets, then they went and re-signed him to an eight-year extension, killing the chance to add picks in a draft they claim to love so much. But what if they could deal DeAngelo at or before the ’23 draft, could they still cop a first round pick? It’s well within the realm of possibility.
A top-pair caliber right-handed defenseman capable of putting up points, working the powerplay and possesses a certain snarl to his game on just a one-year commitment at $5 million should be a very enticing option for a competitive team looking for that extra boost on the blueline.
Especially if the Flyers don’t intend on being competitive next season, which, who knows what their mindset is when it comes to that, maybe gaining a high pick or two is the best outcome here, rather than losing him for nothing in the 2024 summer, locking him up to a stupid long-term extension that’ll run long past his usefulness, or risking his play declining or him punching out his own goalie again and nobody wanting him.
For what it’s worth, it’s very unlikely they trade him. It far more believable they play out his current deal then re-sign him to a monster eight-year extension like they give everybody else. But if Chuck Fletcher was any good at his job at all and had a killer instinct for building a team, selling DeAngelo to a team in need of a top right-handed defenseman and getting better assets than what they originally gave up for the guy would be a real smart move. If they could sell him higher than they bought him for, it may be a nice little return on investment, and all it cost them was their self respect.
By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)
photo credit: Getty Images