Ron Hextall, like his predecessor Paul Holmgren, has shown that he is willing to make trades that will shake up the team. If a player does not fit Hextall’s future vision of the team, he’s going to be shopped around at the draft. The last three draft hosts, the Devils, Penguins, and Wild, all made blockbuster draft-day trades that saw Cory Schneider, Jordan Staal, and Brent Burns being traded.
With the draft in Philadelphia this year, the Flyers draft could get very interesting. If I had to bet, when, or if, the Flyers draft in the first round, it won’t be at #17 overall.
Here is a list of 29 trades, by division, that the Flyers could make that would benefit both sides:
Flyers get: D Matt Grzelcyk, BOS 4th 14
Bruins get: F Michael Raffl
The rationale: The Bruins are lacking in team speed, and Raffl brings good speed to go along with his size that he uses effectively along the boards. The Flyers are in need of puck-moving defensemen, and Grzelcyk is a very good one, with tremendous vision and a great first pass in transition. The Flyers very well may have signed a better version of Raffl when they acquired Pierre-Edouard Bellemare.
Flyers get: D Christian Ehrhoff
Sabres get: D Mark Alt, PHI 1st 14
The rationale: The Sabres are a bad team, and they are best off dealing Ehrhoff while he is relatively young and has good value. A good defensive prospect and 1st round pick will be valuable in their rebuild. Ehrhoff, a tremendous skater and offensive defenseman, is the exact type of player the Flyers are lacking.
Flyers get: NYR 1st 14
Lightning get: D Luke Schenn
The rationale: The Flyers have a few too many middle pairing, #4 defenders, leading to an expensive defensive corps. The Flyers could use the pick as a trade chip to acquire a top pairing defenseman, or select a player at #28 overall. The Lightning badly need a right-handed defenseman that has some physicality, and Schenn fits that description perfectly.
Flyers get: F Danny Briere
Canadiens get: F Vinny Lecavalier
The rationale: Both players enjoyed a very rough first year in their new homes. The Habs have long coveted Lecavalier, and can basically get him for free. The Flyers free themselves of Lecavalier’s contract, alleviate the logjam at center, and bring back a fan favorite.
Flyers get: D Xavier Ouellet, DET 2nd 14
Red Wings get: D Luke Schenn
The rationale: After Kronwall, Ericsson, and DeKeyser, the Detroit defense is looking bleak. Jakub Kindl and Brendan Smith haven’t developed as expected, so Schenn would step in and be a solid second pairing option. The Flyers get a good puck-moving defenseman prospect, and a spot on the NHL roster is opened up for Ouellet or another Flyers prospect.
Flyers get: OTT 4th 15
Senators get: F Vinny Lecavalier
The rationale: With Jason Spezza seemingly gone from Ottawa, the Senators are left with youngsters Kyle Turris and Mika Zibanejad at center. Lecavalier would help take pressure off those two, and provide veteran presence. The Senators basically get a 20 goal scorer for free, and they have plenty of cap space. The Flyers rid themselves of their center logjam and free up cap space.
Flyers get: rights to Mason Raymond, TOR 7th 14
Leafs get: PHI 5th 14
The rationale: The Flyers badly need to add speed to their forward corps, and Raymond is an absolute burner. It does not appear the Leafs will re-sign, so Toronto moves up 50 picks basically for free.
Flyers get: D Brian Campbell
Panthers get: F Vinny Lecavalier, PHI 2nd 14
The rationale: Campbell only has two years left on his contract at $7.142M/year, and has remained very productive the last few seasons. He’s the type of puck-moving defenseman the Flyers are lacking, and his contract is now palatable. Lecavalier serves as a veteran mentor to young centers Alexander Barkov and Nick Bjugstad, and the 2nd helps build Florida’s already strong prospect pool.
Flyers get: D Kris Letang
Penguins get: F Jakub Voracek, PHI 3rd 15
The rationale: Letang has been the rumor of trade talks in Pittsburgh, and he is the type of dynamic offensive defenseman the Flyers need. He has his defensive issues, but the Flyers have plenty of stay-at-home defensemen to pair him with. With rumors of James Neal being on the block, the Penguins may need to look for a winger to pair with Crosby and Malkin. Voracek would form a dynamic duo with either.
Flyers get: NYR 3rd 14
Rangers get: F Zac Rinaldo
The rationale: The Flyers have a surplus of bottom six forwards, and are best off filling it with more useful hockey players than Rinaldo. The Rangers are a team that is built on speed, but have little physicality. Adding a wrecking ball like Rinaldo would help keep opponents more honest.
Flyers get: F Matt Calvert
Blue Jackets get: D Nicklas Grossmann
The rationale: The Flyers could use a speedy, hard-working winger like Calvert on the second or third line. Columbus has a solid top 4, but the third pairing could be better. Grossmann would serve as the anchor of the third pairing, a strong stay-at-home complement to the offensively-leaning David Savard. Grossmann is a clear upgrade on Dalton Prout.
Flyers get: D Christian Djoos, WSH 3rd 14
Capitals get: D Nicklas Grossmann
The rationale: Djoos’ best attribute is his great skating ability, and uses it to play as a solid two-way defenseman. His impressive performances for the U20 Swedish team this year make him a desirable defensive prospect for the Flyers. Trading Grossmann frees up salary and a spot on the defense in Philadelphia. The Capitals had a remarkable 14 defensemen play a game for them last year. Adding Grossmann would mean more stability, and would round out a top 4 of Green, Alzner, and Carlson
Flyers get: D Steve Santini
Devils get: F Nick Cousins
The rationale: The Flyers should stockpile all of the quality defensive prospects they can get, and the Devils have a surplus of them. On the other hand, the Devils are sorely lacking in right wing prospects, Cousins’ eventual position when he makes the NHL. In fact, according to Hockey’s Future, the Devils have no right wing prospects in their system.
Flyers get: F Nathan Gerbe, F Phil Di Guiseppe
Hurricanes get: D Luke Schenn
The rationale: Schenn would step into Carolina’s defensive corps, and become their third or fourth best defenseman. He could serve as the defensive conscious to an offensive partner like Andrej Sekera or Ryan Murphy. The Flyers add a speedy, agitating winger, free up salary on defense, and add a solid prospect.
Flyers get: D Jesse Graham
Islanders get: F Nick Cousins
The rationale: The Islanders have a treasure trove of defensive prospects, and Graham, a puck-moving offensive defenseman, may get stuck down the depth chart. The Islanders lack depth on the wings at the prospect level, and could deal from a position of strength, defensemen, to address a weakness. The Flyers do the same.
Flyers get: COL 3rd 14, COL 3rd 15
Avalanche get: D Nicklas Grossmann
The rationale: Simply put, the Avalanche will not continue to defy the possession odds with Nate Guenin, Nick Holden, and Cory Sarich playing regular minutes on defense. Grossmann would be a welcome addition to their top 4, and the Flyers get two picks in exchange for freeing up some cap space.
Flyers get: D Kevin Shattenkirk
Blues get: F Jakub Voracek
The rationale: Shattenkirk is an elite offensive defenseman that is very effective in transition and on the power play due to his skating and vision. The Flyers badly need a top pairing defenseman like him. The Blues lack pure goalscoring and offensive talent, which Voracek brings in spades.
Flyers get: D Brent Seabrook
Blackhawks get: C Sean Couturier
The rationale: Both sides will probably hate this one, which means it’s probably fair.With the Blackhawks facing some serious cap problems with re-signing Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, they may look to unload salary. Couturier would be the #2 center the Blackhawks have been looking for, and would blossom with top 6 minutes. The Flyers get a legitimate, top pairing defenseman, and allow Brayden Schenn to firmly establish himself as the second line center in Philadelphia, where he belongs.
Flyers get: D Matthew Dumba
Wild get: C Scott Laughton
The rationale: Laughton was ranked 23rd and Dumba 29th in the HF Spring rankings, so the value is there. The Flyers have an excess at center, and need defensemen. Dumba has some questions about his hockey IQ, but his offensive talents are undeniable. A center trio of Koivu-Granlund-Laughton would be a great combination for the Wild to roll out for the next 7 years.
Flyers get: D Trevor Daley
Stars get: F Matt Read
The rationale: Dallas is lacking in offensive punch on the wings, and Read’s 40 points last year would have been second best among wingers on the team, behind Jamie Benn. The Flyers could use a defenseman like Daley, who is a smooth skater, effective in transition, and is a minute muncher.
Flyers get: NSH 4th 14
Predators get: F Vinny Lecavalier
The rationale: Peter Laviolette was a huge reason why Lecavalier came to Philadelphia in the summer of 2013, and without him, Vinny struggled in Philadelphia. Laviolette is now the coach of the Predators, and Lecavalier may jump at the opportunity to play under him. The Predators badly need scoring, and the Flyers rid themselves of Lecavalier’s contract.
Flyers get: D Dustin Byfuglien
Jets get: F Matt Read, PHI 1st 14
The rationale: Dustin Byfuglien is a polarizing figure, but there is no doubting he has tremendous offensive talents. His offensive abilities would do wonders for the Flyers’ defense. Byfuglien is a monster out on the ice, and eats minutes as a top pairing defenseman. The Jets get a forward that can play anywhere in their top six, and a valuable first rounder.
Flyers get: D Sami Vatanen
Ducks get: C Scott Laughton
The rationale: The Ducks are in the hunt for a second line center, and if they are unable to land an established one, Laughton would be a solid option there long term. Vatanen is a great puck-mover with tremendous vision and passing ability that would be a welcome addition to Philadelphia. The Flyers deal from a position of strength to address a weakness.
Flyers get: F Matt Nieto, CGY 4th 15
Sharks get: D Luke Schenn
The rationale: With the departure of Dan Boyle, the Sharks are lacking in defensive depth beyond Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Justin Braun. Schenn could step onto the second pairing, and form a fearsome pairing alongside Brent Burns, while offering a stay at home option next to the offensive Burns. Nieto has great speed, something the Flyers could use more of along the wings. Similar to Matt Read, Nieto could be shuffled throughout the lineup.
Flyers get: F Michael Mersch
Kings get: PHI 2nd 14
The rationale: As defending champions, the Kings have few needs on their NHL roster. With a number of NHL-ready forwards in the AHL, Mersch could get lost in the numbers game in Los Angeles. The Kings get very good value for him with a second rounder, and the Flyers get a power forward prospect that is a Ron Hextall type of player.
Flyers get: D Brandon Gormley
Coyotes get: C Scott Laughton
The rationale: Both teams deal from a position of strength to address a weakness. The Coyotes badly need offense, and Laughton’s two-way style would fit perfectly with Dave Tippett. Gormley hasn’t broken into the NHL because of the strong Arizona defensive corps in front of him, but would be an NHLer in Philadelphia. His poise, vision, and distributing abilities as a two-way defenseman would be welcome in Philadelphia.
Flyers get: D Alexander Edler
Canucks get: F Brayden Schenn, D Luke Schenn
The rationale: Though Brayden Schenn just signed an extension, Hextall may jump at the opportunity to acquire a defenseman like Edler. Though he had an off 2013-14, Edler is still a top pairing puck-mover, and brings great size along with his offensive abilities.
Flyers get: EDM 2nd 15
Oilers get: D Nicklas Grossmann
The rationale: The Oilers badly need NHL quality defenseman, and Grossmann could step in and be their second best defenseman. He’s a solid #4 defenseman locked up at a reasonable cap number. The Flyers clear up some cap space, and get a pick to restock the prospect cupboard.
Flyers get: F Ken Agostino, PIT 3rd 14
Flames get: D Nicklas Grossmann
The rationale: Similar to the Oilers, the Flames need good defensemen. Grossmann would serve as a solid stay at home partner to an offensive defenseman like Wideman or Russell. The Flyers clear up some cap space, get a prospect that plays the style the Flyers love, and pick up a useful pick.