Flyers Should Be Excited for Deadline Based on Early Trade Returns

The Philadelphia Flyers have the most to sell and many teams interested in their players. The Flyers are expected to trade Claude Giroux, Justin Braun, Derick Brassard, and possibly Martin Jones and Keith Yandle, as far as rentals go. There could be other players with term which would bring in an even better return. We are still four days from the deadline, with many trades to be had. But the closer it gets and teams lose out on the player they wanted, prices will go up, and the pressure is on the buyers to upgrade their rosters for a Stanley Cup run.

Gauging the Defensive Market

The action kicked off on March 14 when Josh Manson was traded from the Anaheim Ducks to the Colorado Avalanche for Drew Helleson and a 2023 second-round pick. Helleson is a top defensive prospect taken in the second round of the 2019 NHL Draft and is taking big steps in his development in college. Behind Justin Barron, Helleson was the best the Avalanche could offer among their defensive prospects. He is one of the best they had and should be a factor right out of college.

The other trade involving an impact defenceman came yesterday when the Florida Panthers acquired Ben Chiarot from the Montreal Canadiens for a big haul that included prospect Ty Smilanic, a 2023 first-round pick, and a 2022 fourth-round pick. The first-rounder will be late as the Panthers are a force to be reckoned with and should be next season as well. Like the Manson trade, this is a lot for a rental defenseman. However, it makes sense for the Panthers who are one of the favorites to win the Cup.

Ben Chiarot Montreal Canadiens
Ben Chiarot, Montreal Canadiens (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Smilanic may not be as attractive of a prospect as Helleson, but he isn’t as far along and is stuck behind some older talent in the program. He has a solid all-around game and is a goal-scorer.

In that sense, both the Canadiens and Ducks got back a player who will fit their needs and team perfectly. So, what do the Flyers need? To start, more NHL-ready talent to push for a spot in the lineup next season and help turn the team around right away. They have promising young prospects on both forward and defense, but their goaltending is questionable. With Carter Hart as their starter and with the ability to find a backup in free agency, there’s no rush or immediate need to get a good goaltending prospect. More important is scoring and defense.

The Flyers have Braun and Yandle, but neither will fetch as much as Manson and Chiarot. Braun will be the one to watch. He is able to play up and down the lineup, he’s had a solid season and brings a veteran presence and a focus on defense-first hockey. The longer the Flyers wait, and the thinner the field of defencemen gets, his price could go up. By the way, sellers are getting great returns, and I expect a second-round pick or a B-level prospect to come to the Flyers in a deal or even a young promising player who can’t fit in the buyer’s lineup this season. Yandle should fetch a mid-round pick, but his no-movement clause could complicate things and make him a non-factor on the market.

Claude Giroux is the Biggest Piece Available

As the biggest fish available on the market, who is expected to land in Florida, Owen Tippett plus more is the starting point in return. The Panthers seem to be all-in this season — and should be — with the lineup and production they put out on the ice every night. They are one of the highest-scoring teams in years and should make the biggest splash to upgrade. They already have Chiarot, moved out Frank Vatrano, and have time to do much more.

Claude Giroux Philadelphia Flyers
Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

If Nick Foligno and Chiarot are worth a first-round pick, imagine what Giroux is worth. One issue is that the Panthers don’t have their first-round pick this season or next, so they may have to get creative if they want Giroux; two years is a bit far down the line and doesn’t help the Flyers right now.

Maybe the return will be Tippett, another former first-round pick and a mid-round draft pick. It would be a massive failure if the Flyers got a return like the Buffalo Sabres got for Taylor Hall in 2021. The return for the former MVP was Anders Bjork and a second-round pick, while Curtis Lazar also joined Hall in going to the Boston Bruins. It doesn’t seem like a question that a young player who can be inserted into the Flyers’ lineup will be part of the return, but how much more can the Flyers get, and how will it positively impact the team for next season.

Derick Brassard Stacks Up Nicely to Forwards Already Dealt

Excluding the hockey trade that occurred between the Avalanche and Minnesota Wild — Tyson Jost for Nice Sturm — there are two other recent trades for mid-level forwards. The first I mentioned was Vatrano to the Rangers. This was a cap dump and a move to free up a roster spot, so I think the Panthers were okay with getting a bit less in return, so they could pull off a timely trade.

The other deal saw Calle Jarnkrok sent to the Calgary Flames from the Seattle Kraken for a great return: a 2022 second-round pick, 2023 third-round pick, and 2024 fourth-round pick. He is slotted in on the fourth line but could also play the third line center position. This could be seen as an overpayment, especially if he was acquired to play on the fourth line, but Jarnkrok is versatile, and the Flames wanted to upgrade down the middle.

Judging the returns for each of these players and by analyzing the season Brassard has put together on a Flyers’ team that has struggled greatly, they should be very excited for the return they could get from an interested team, especially if that team becomes desperate. I don’t see anything as high as Jarnkrok, seeing as he is younger and is a more attractive player, but when Brassard is stacked up points-wise to start, he has the upper hand. He is a bottom-six option and could even be worth a second-round pick at this point.

Related: 7 Flyers That Need to Be Traded

The Flyers are in a great position to get favorable returns for their players. Doing so would go a long way in turning the franchise around as they try to make the playoffs for the first time in three years next season.

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