At the beginning of the 2022-23 season, one of the teams that got off to a surprisingly good start was the Philadelphia Flyers. Under first-year coach John Tortorella, they got off to a hot start, but things slowly started going south and now they find themselves on the outside of the Eastern Conference playoff picture looking in. As the March 3 trade deadline grows closer, it looks more and more like they will be sellers, looking to move some bodies to contenders.
One of those teams that could be interested in some of their potential available players is the Boston Bruins. General manager (GM) Don Sweeney has some needs he could look to fill to help the best team in the NHL record-wise at 39-7-5 a deeper team to play against in the postseason. Here are some players that could become available in Philadelphia that the Bruins would have some interest in.
James van Riemsdyk
Looking for a middle-six forward and mainly a right wing, veteran James van Riemsdyk is a player that the Flyers would more than likely like to move. The 33-year-old has eight goals and 13 assists this season, but in his previous three seasons in Philadelphia, he’s averaged 22 goals and 21 assists a season, which means he still has more in the tank to help a contender.
He comes with an expensive cap hit of $7 million and that would mean the Bruins would need to move out a roster player and get the Flyers to retain a chunk of his salary. In Boston, coach Jim Montgomery slotting him on the third line with Taylor Hall and Charlie Coyle and he would be a bigger offensive threat than Trent Frederic as he gets to the front of the net and causes havoc. He would also be power play insurance and offer the flexibility to slide up and down the line on both wings should an injury occur.
At the last two trade deadlines, Sweeney added to his defense by acquiring Mike Reilly from the Ottawa Senators in 2021 and Josh Brown last season, also from Ottawa. This season, Justin Braun is a player that could fill the role of Brown this season as an extra blueliner. He is the definition of a defensive defenseman who blocks a lot of shots, kills penalties, and brings a tough physical presence on the backend.
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An unrestricted free agent (UFA) following the season, he comes with a very cheap $1 million cap hit. The right side of the Bruins’ defense lacks depth behind Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo, and Connor Clifton, as well as durability questions. Carlo doesn’t always play up to his 6-foot-5 frame and has had concussions in the past, which makes you hold your breath every time he takes a big hit. The Bruins have three defensemen who blocks shots consistently in Carlo, Derek Forbort, and Clifton, but in the postseason, a seventh defenseman that can slide into the lineup and fill that like Braun is a nice depth to have.
One player that fits the seventh defenseman role is Nick Seeler. The 29-year-old is a left-shot and has good size at 6-foot-2 to handle the physicality of the playoff grind. He averages 14:18 a night for Philadelphia on a team that has seen its defense struggle this season. Not much of an offensive defenseman, he already has a career-high in goals with three and assists with six for the Flyers.
In 48 games, he has blocked 82 shots and handed out 78 hits and he is a defensive metrics dream. In his fifth season, the 131st overall pick in the fifth round of the 2011 Entry Draft has a year remaining on his contract with a very team-friendly $775,000 cap hit. He is a depth piece that would not require a lot going back to the Flyers and it’s highly likely he gets dealt by 3 o’clock on March 3.
Aside from van Riemsdyk, Braun, and Seeler are depth pieces that are emergency options to have the rest of the regular season and into the playoffs. Braun has been through the battles of the playoffs with 119 playoff games under his belt with the Flyers, San Jose Sharks, and New York Rangers. As the Bruins found out last season, playoff depth is needed, especially on defense and Braun or Seeler would provide that, similar to Brown last season. If the Bruins choose to go bigger on defense and make a splash for Jakob Chychrun, then that’s an option, but if not, a depth piece is almost a must.