The Philadelphia Flyers’ front office has announced its intentions to rebuild, but there’s a massive hurdle when it comes to achieving that goal, and that’s the ugly contract ol’ Chucky Fletcher handed out before he left. But not everyone is weighed down by a terrible contract. There’s more than one or two value deals tucked away on the roster that could be prime value when it comes to making trades.
Number 5: Rasmus Ristolainen
Ristolainen may be the punching bag for the fans to take their frustrations out on, but the reality is, the 28-year-old Finn actually had a decent season. He re-signed with the Flyers before the conclusion of the 2021-22 campaign for five years and $25.5 million. That’s only a $5.1 million aav for a big, physical right-handed defenseman who has now shown he can be responsible in his own end as well, not to mention he has a history of regularly hitting 40 points, a feat the Flyers have never utilized over his two seasons with the club. Considering defenseman are getting obscene contracts these days, especially RHDs, someone like Risto clocking it at just a hair over $5 million means the Flyers would have no problem moving him if they really wanted to.
Number 4: Scott Laughton
Scott Laughton has proven to be a guy you can plug anywhere in the lineup and pretty much every playoff team’s mouth would water if he were to ever hit the trade market. He’s got three years left at a $3 million cap hit, which is a more than fair value for a player like Laughton, even if that contract was a bit ridiculous when it came to length when it was signed two years ago. It seems unlikely the Flyers would trade him considering he’s basically the de facto captain these days, but he’s simultaneously one of their best trade chips and someone they could easily get more value that Laughton himself is worth via trade, especially if they wait for a trade deadline to come around before making a deal.
Number 3: Ivan Provorov
Even though Provorov has a $6.75 million cap hit for two additional seasons, that’s not nearly as bad as it seems at face value. He’s tied for the 27th highest paid defenseman in the league with Ryan McDonagh who’s making more real dollars this season than Provorov ($5.4 to $4.7). There’s at least a dozen of those players that are worse than Provorov and getting paid far more money. Is Provorov an elite, bonafide number one defenseman? No, but an overall solid minute-munching player who we’ve seen play very well with a good partner is an enticing risk to take via trade when the cap hit is more than reasonable for the player.
Number 2: Tony DeAngelo
When the Flyers gave up three draft picks for DeAngelo at the 2022 draft, they were hoping to get the Carolina version of Tony D, but given the Flyers defense is atrocious and he didn’t have a partner anywhere close to the level of Jaccob Slavin, he couldn’t replicate his success and instead the Flyers got the Rangers version of DeAngelo, just with less goalie punching. At the end of the day, he’s still a right-handed defenseman that posted 11 goals and 42 points, with 19 of them coming on the powerplay. Given how poor the RHD market is shaping up to be during free agency, some team acquiring the last year of DeAngelo’s contract at a reasonable $5 million AAV is a real possibility. Hell, the Flyers could even retain half if they really wanted, (they’re rebuilding, what else are they gonna spend it on) to maximize the trade value.
Number 1: Travis Konecny
Travis Konecny is probably the Flyers’ biggest trade chip heading into the 2023 offseason, not just because he is on a point-per-game pace, but because he’s on a team-friendly $5.5 million contract to go along with it. If the Flyers are serious about rebuilding, Konecny is a perfect player to shop during the summer while his value is at its absolute peak. Rumor had it that Chuck Fletcher had been taking calls on Konecny for the last two offseasons but nothing ultimately became of it. The Flyers don’t have any top pending UFA’s top get value in return via trade (and when they did Fletcher failed to move JVR at the deadline and re-signed Sanheim early) so capitalizing on Konecny’s hot season may be the best way to garner extra assets for the start of a rebuild.
By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)
photo credit: nhl.com