Changes are coming to the Philadelphia Flyers this offseason and we’re still waiting for the start of that, but in the meantime, a few superstars’ names have come up in trade rumors as their teams are looking for a change, looking to rebuild, or there’s tension in the organization.
The Flyers have to make a splash, as it seems as though they are already going all in on the best of the best head coaching options for next season. They finished the season with the second-fewest goals for and are looking to add someone who can help with that, along with the return of some valuable pieces from injury. Let’s take a look at three names who have been thrown out there and why they are a possibility to land in Philadelphia.
The first name that appears here and is a real possibility is Alex DeBrincat, as he came in at No. 1 on Frank Seravalli’s Daily Faceoff Trade Targets. Seravalli puts the situation as “when and not if” he will be traded. Whether that is during the offseason or trade deadline, the Chicago Blackhawks are rebuilding and there are a couple of reasons why it makes sense to move DeBrincat.
The better option for the Blackhawks would be to move DeBrincat this offseason so that they can obtain more assets in return, and can likely have their choice in who they draft in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft. He has one year remaining on his deal worth $6.4 million which is a steal for any contending team. His qualifying offer will be $9 million, and as many would agree, that’s a lot of money to spend on someone during a full rebuild.
The Blackhawks have made it known they will listen to trade offers for anyone other than Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, and Seth Jones, so almost every team should be calling about DeBrincat. He is a two-time 40-goal scorer, something every team can’t ever have enough of, and will help build for the future as he is going to fetch a big haul. He also won’t be as young and possibly impactful as he is right now, so holding onto him will only slow the rebuild, and they might as well go for franchise players like Connor Bedard or Matvei Michkov in the loaded 2023 Draft.
The Flyers lost their franchise player in Claude Giroux and will need to replace his point production on their team. It’s not going to be cheap to do so, but that’s the cost of failing to draft impactful superstars very often over recent years. David Pagnotta lists the Flyers, Devils, Kings, and Islanders as the top teams interested. It would likely take the fifth overall pick this season and more from the Flyers to acquire DeBrincat.
David Pastrnak is another high-class name that has appeared, but for different reasons. He was not pleased with the decisions over the past year with the way the Torey Krug and David Krejci contract talks were handled, and now it’s gone from bad to worse after the firing of head coach Bruce Cassidy. General manager Don Sweeney has some work to do, and with just one year left on Pastrnak’s deal, he will have to either sign him to an extension or trade him and get something in return. The latter seems more likely as there is a divide between the two parties and Sweeney will not lose his top asset for nothing.
Pastrnak will be one of the most sought after names on the market as he is still only 26 years old, has 240 goals in 510 career games, won a Rocket Richard Trophy in 2019-20, and has a cap hit of just $6.67 million. Again, Sweeney will get the best return if he trades him sooner than later, with how events have played out, as it already isn’t looking good for the Boston Bruins next season with injuries to significant players. He too is a two-time 40-goal scorer and is deadly on the power play, something the Flyers also need a big boost in for next season.
If Pastrnak is available during the offseason, expect the asking price for him to be lower than DeBrincat considering he’s an unrestricted free agent and the Flyers may be able to bargain his price down if the situation in Boston worsens. He is used to playing and succeeding beside a great two-way centerman like Patrice Bergeron, so a change to playing alongside Sean Couturier could benefit both of them and give Pastrnak that familiarity moving forward.
William Nylander is the least likely of the three to be moved, but there is still a possibility that the Toronto Maple Leafs do something differently rather than going into playoffs with the same team year after year and losing. There are five significant contracts the Maple Leafs have on their roster: Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, John Tavares, Morgan Rielly, and Nylander.
It’s hard to think any are going anywhere, but the team continues to bank on those exact players to step up and take them past the first round which has repeatedly failed. It has now been five consecutive seasons, so a change could be in order sooner than later. The higher the contract, the more difficult it will be to move, so that makes Nylander the most likely of the five, since they would like to have the salary free to acquire a starting goaltender for next season.
Nylander is close to a point per game each season while playing on the second line and can score as good as the next player with four 20-goal seasons and two 30-goal seasons under his belt after only six full seasons in the NHL. He is also 26 years old and has a $6.962 cap hit for two more seasons, so if the Flyers plan of retooling fails, they will be able to flip Nylander to a contender and get a significant return to start what should be a full rebuild.
It remains to be seen if the Flyers will look to make a big splash in free agency and commit long term to a player or go for a short-term option and see where they stand. But if they decide to go shorter term, they always have the option to re-up the player and avoid hurting themselves for a possible rebuild in the future.
Rob Couch is a THW freelance writer covering mainly the Edmonton Oilers and Philadelphia Flyers. He covers everything you need to know about fantasy hockey. He will also keep you up to date with NHL Stats News, trade talks, and daily betting guides.
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