Big moves are coming for the Philadelphia Flyers, and to pull anything off, they need to bring in an impactful top-six forward and move out some money. The Chicago Blackhawks present a great opportunity to fill that need for next season and possibly into the future.
The Blackhawks are looking for a package for star winger Alex DeBrincat that includes a young player, a high draft pick, and a top prospect, as noted by Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic (from “Barry Trotz’s next move coming soon, Jeff Petry trade in the works: LeBrun rumblings,” The Athletic, 6/17/22). The Flyers have had a rough time hitting big on draft picks recently, so they must look to other teams for help. Yet newly drafted players or draft picks still have value as they haven’t had the chance or time to fizz out yet. Of course, the Blackhawks don’t need to trade their young star and could try to hold onto him through their rebuild as he’s an RFA (restricted free agent) after next season, but a trade may come along that they can’t turn down.
Here’s a look at the Flyers’ best options for a trade why they should take a chance after inquiring about DeBrincat.
Flyers’ Young Player (Off the Roster)
There are only a few young roster players the Blackhawks would be willing to consider, and the Flyers would be willing to move. Travis Konecny is the most developed and may need a change of scenery. He’s shown his offensive ability with three 24-goal seasons and has a rough style – he hits a lot and plays hard. He also had a career year three seasons ago with 61 points in 66 games, and he is only 25. The Blackhawks could be looking for someone even younger than DeBrincat in a return, so I’ll move to the other options.
The Blackhawks have reached the point that they will be filling their roster with prospects and younger players, likely between the ages of 20-24, so players like Morgan Frost or Owen Tippett could pique their interest even though they haven’t accomplished much at the NHL level. They are both just 23 and starting to find their footing, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility that either of them breaks out in the coming seasons.
The players I would list as off-limits would only be Joel Farabee, Cam York, and Bobby Brink, but the team may have to bite if the Blackhawks want Brink as a part of the deal.
High Draft Pick
The Flyers have the fifth overall pick this year, so that would easily be the high pick the Blackhawks are looking for to help rebuild. The higher the draft pick, the better chance the team has of turning their team around quicker. The Flyers have their first-round pick next year and two in 2024, but there’s no guarantee that any of those picks will be as high.
The 2022 Draft class looks very good, and the fifth overall pick should bring a great prospect into the organization. At that selection, whichever team is picking will have their choice of forwards or defensemen.
The Flyers have a decent number of top prospects, but some may catch the eye of the Blackhawks more than others. The best the Flyers have is Brink, but he is one the team won’t let go of easily. Other options include Tyson Foerster, Wade Allison, who’s a bit older and has had injury trouble, Elliot Desnoyers, Egor Zamula if the Blackhawks are looking for a defenceman, and more options that could fit the bill. It may take more than one prospect if the Flyers are unwilling to give up one of their best, but it would still be worth it.
A Trade Wouldn’t Hurt the Flyers
In acquiring DeBrincat, the Flyers would be in the same sort of boat the Blackhawks are in now if things go south next season. If they don’t make the playoffs and are out of it by the time the trade deadline rolls around, they can flip him for a similar return since he would still be under team control. That or they can hold onto him and have a star player to help pull them out of a rebuild, if necessary.
If the Flyers are competitive, they will have a two-time 40-goal scorer who is only 24 and has the necessary offensive talent to change the fortunes of the team at even strength and on the power play. He would easily be inserted onto the top line and would instantly be the best offensive player on the team (as it stands). One thing that would likely have to happen in a trade is to include James van Riemsdyk in the deal to Chicago to clear up more than enough cap space, given the Flyers have other players they need to sign. DeBrincat’s cap hit is $6.4 million, while van Riemsdyk’s is $7 million next season.
Whether the Flyers do well or not next season, they have options as to how to proceed. The losses would be minimal if they were to trade DeBrincat by next offseason, or they would have a young star for years to come if they keep him. Though his price tag is expected to go up significantly next season, the Flyers will have van Riemsdyk’s contract off the books and the necessary space to pay DeBrincat. Would you make a deal for DeBrincat at the Blackhawks’ asking price? Let me know in the comments.
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.
You can find more of his work here.