What They Should Do.
- Trade any defenseman they can. It’s no secret, the Flyers defense has been subpar all season, and quite honestly, there is no one on the back end who isn’t replaceable. The Flyers have a very promising young defensive core, and some of those guys could very well be NHL ready next season. The Flyers also have a defensive core right now that is highly overpaid and severely under performing (Part of the reason why they’re losing the cap game). Although these guys carry large contracts, there is no doubt that some playoff teams could use a seasoned veteran down the stretch, and possibly in the future. If it will free some cap space, and make room for a young guy, then the Flyers should pull the trigger.
- Trade Ray Emery. This is also no longer a secret. Ray Emery has looked very bad in Steve Mason’s absence. A few nights ago against Arizona, Emery let in two very bad goals before being pulled for a cold Steve Mason, who came in a played outstanding. His short side is constantly exposed, his rebound control has not been good, and his lateral movement has looked bad. All of this, combined with the fact that Rob Zepp is starting to prove he can hang with the big boys, and the Flyers certainly wouldn’t miss Ray Emery. He could still be a solid backup for any team looking to go deep into the playoffs.
- Trade Vincent Lecavalier, RJ Umberger, or Matt Read. The first two players would be a stretch to try and get rid of. Their cap hits are so large in relation to their production, that virtually no team would take them, unless the Flyers absorbed some of the cap hit. Vinny Lecavalier had a short goal-scoring streak, but once again has gone completely silent. He has been digging his own grave in Philadelphia. RJ Umberger has shown a little more production recently, but still nowhere near where he should be. Matt Read is a different story. Read has a cap hit of $3.6 million, and although his production has drastically declined, he’s a player who’s proven he can score, has speed, and is still not that old. He could be something that a playoff team may need. If the Flyers can find him a new home and get a few picks in return, it’d be a good trade-off.
What They Shouldn’t Do.
- Trade for any big name player. Everyone in Philadelphia knows that Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek could be even more lethal if they had a formidable, solid winger to play with, but that doesn’t mean the Flyers should trade for one. Early in the year, there was talk about Taylor Hall being on the trading block, and Flyer fans may have gotten a little excited. There is no doubt, however, that this trade would have probably done more bad than good. The last thing the Flyers need right now is another huge cap hit. Hold off for now, and if and when they get some breathing room under the cap, then maybe try to sign or trade for a top six forward.
- Trade Sean Couturier, Brayden Schenn, or Wayne Simmonds. How many times have you heard this? “They’re underproducing. Where’s Couturier’s offense? Why isn’t Schenn a constant 20 goal scorer yet? They’re definitely a bust!” It’s like a broken record at this point. Now, Wayne Simmonds hasn’t been brought up as much, but his name has still been thrown around. Couturier is is just 22 years old and has proven to be a great defensive forward so far for the Flyers (something that the Flyers expected him to be when they drafted him). He is a career plus-10 on a team that has struggled defensively the past few seasons. Brayden Schenn is just 23 and is already on pace for a career year this year. His point production has increased each season, and it should only get better as he adapts more to the NHL. Point being, these guys are far too young to trade. The Flyers have made that mistake plenty of times in the past, and it can’t happen again. Not this early in their careers.
- Trade any prospects or draft picks. They Flyers have accumulated a pretty good pool of prospects over the past few years through the draft. Shayne Gostisbehere, Robert Hagg, Samuel Morin, Taylor Leier, and Oskar Lindbolm, who lit it up at this years World Juniors. Right now, it looks like the Flyers are in sort of a rebuilding phase, and trading any of these guys would be a huge mistake and could end up haunting the Flyers down the line. They also don’t need to trade any of the draft picks they have lined up for the 2015 NHL Draft. They could end up with a top 10 pick with the way this season is going, not to mention a chance at the first overall pick. That’s not something that the Flyers would want to miss out on. They’ve made that mistake in the past as well.
The Flyers need to be sellers at this years trade deadline, meaning they need to get rid of some of the loose ends on this team and prepare themselves for the future. They don’t need to get rid of any of their young guys, instead they need to try their best to get rid of any of the bad contracts they can. It’ll be hard, but if they can do it, they’ll start setting themselves up for a new era of Flyers hockey.
Matt is a contributor for the Philadelphia Flyers at The Hockey Writers. He has previously covered the Flyers for GrandstandU. He enjoys playing hockey and making music in his spare time.