The Philadelphia Flyers are looking like they will be one of the more active teams and have a ton of buzz around them. With a number of players that could be sold by the trade deadline, it is a good starting point to get where they want to be for next season. The offseason is also an option and you could expect a move or two then as well.
It has been two years of underperformances by the Flyers, and a number of younger players are pushing to be a part of the change for this team. That will allow the Flyers to make these moves and also let some older veterans and rentals go before the trade deadline and in the offseason. The list below generally follows the order in which the team should prioritize trading players.
Claude Giroux, the Flyers’ captain, is set to play his 1000th game with the franchise after just recording his 900th point in his 999th career game. It always seemed like the intention for him to stick around with the organization until he reached the 1000 game mark since it fell before the trade deadline. With the milestone expected to be hit Thursday, we could see a trade as early as this weekend.
The cards are still in the hands of Giroux, but if he gives the green light to be traded then the Flyers should execute and bring back as much in return as they can. He could always re-sign for less years and less money in the offseason. The Flyers should allow him to chase a Stanley Cup, get a good return, and then hopefully see a reunion after that. I’m betting Giroux would want to be a part of this franchise when they succeed.
James van Riemsdyk
The cap hit of James van Riemsdyk will continue to be a burden on the Flyers if they are trying to successfully make positive changes to their roster. He makes $7 million next year and has put up just 13 goals and 23 points this season. The Flyers have a player in Isaac Ratcliffe who should be chomping at the bit to take over van Riemsdyk’s spot on the power play and in the lineup.
Ratcliffe is a big body player who projects to be a force in front of the net on the power play in the future. He is 6-foot-6 and loves to throw his body around and play physically. Along with the size, his hands also play a factor in his game and when used right, he could be a great piece that takes over a spot on the wing in the middle of the lineup.
Related: Flyers News & Rumors: Ristolainen Signing, Provorov Tension & More
van Riemsdyk was overpaid from the moment he signed his deal, and it makes things more difficult with his declining production and the flat cap. If they can find a partner, they should try and strike a deal to move him for the final year of his deal. It won’t be like a Shayne Gostisbehere situation because, unlike Gostisbehere, van Riemsdyk’s best years are behind him. The Flyers may have to hold onto him for his final year, but that could get in the way of a prospect or a possible signing that they are going to miss out on.
Justin Braun is in high demand as this year’s trade deadline approaches and he is more than likely moving to a contender. Which one is hard to say. The hope is that Chuck Fletcher will find the best deal out there and not wait too long to execute a trade.
This year has a number of defencemen available for teams to potentially trade for, but as a team out of the playoff race, the Flyers need to do everything they can to sell off their rental players and get back what they can. For most of the season, Braun has played higher up in the lineup to replace Ryan Ellis. But that’s not where he should be in any lineup. Braun has shown he can step up when needed, and that could raise his value a bit if teams are looking to add security to their back-end.
Ideally, he will be a depth defenceman playing on the third pair while also being able to kill penalties. Since the team hasn’t shown any intention to re-sign Braun, the best course of action is to move him. Maybe we could see a reunion after the season, but for now, the focus should be on getting what they can for rental players.
Another rental player the Flyers are probably going to move is Derick Brassard. Like Braun, Brassard is on a cheap deal and can play up and down the lineup if needed. This year, he has certainly been needed higher up in the lineup with Kevin Hayes injured early in the season and Sean Couturier out for the season after struggling at the beginning.
Initially intended to be a bottom-six option for the Flyers, Brassard has done a great job filling in for what was expected of him when he signed with the team. He has 15 points in 28 games, but started the year off even better before he missed games with an injury. He is currently playing the second line over Hayes, but on a contender, he looks to be what he should’ve been for the Flyers, a bottom-six option at either centre or the wing (“Two trade candidates play well but Flyers suffer 40th loss (30th in regulation)”, NBC Sports, March 12, 2022).
The Flyers should still be looking to move backup goaltender Martin Jones before the deadline. Carter Hart has bounced back nicely and is the clear starter for the team. The team was hoping that bringing in Jones and his pedigree would help if Hart wasn’t able to find his game, but a lot of other things went wrong this year.
Jones’ .900 save percentage (SV%) isn’t ideal, but teams who are looking to add a cheap option as either a backup or safety net can expect his numbers to get better on a better team. The Flyers aren’t going to get a high draft pick or prospect, but they can at least get something and possibly bring back a goaltender in another deadline deal as a backup to Hart. Jones won’t be back with the team next year, so they shouldn’t just let him walk if they can even get a late draft pick in return.
Keith Yandle may be a tricky one to move but only because of his no-trade clause. He’s good friends with Hayes, but the Flyers probably don’t intend on keeping Yandle around after this year anyway. He could have a chance to chase a Cup, something that has eluded him his entire career thus far. He’s had two playoff runs where his team has made it to at least the third round, but other than that, just a few first-round exits and more postseason misses.
If he decides to waive his no-trade clause, he is another player the Flyers need to try and get anything back for. Yandle could be a decent bottom-pair defenceman who can also contribute offensively while costing very little. Paired properly, a team could benefit from the addition of this player and the Flyers can free up another spot and gain another asset they can either use for themselves or use in acquiring a player they need.
The Flyers will have to likely choose between Ivan Provorov or Travis Sanheim since they have Cam York now on the team and sticking around. He is a left defenceman as well and is already more than a bottom-pair defence. He was sent down to the American Hockey League (AHL) because Fletcher wanted him to get the necessary puck touches and ice time but he looks to be staying with the Flyers.
York has been moved to the right side temporarily since the Flyers have Provorov, Sanheim, and Yandle all slotted in on the right, but he is more comfortable and projects to play the left side. The Flyers elected to pull Provorov off the power play in their loss to the Florida Panthers and have York out there in his place. This could be an indication of things to come.
Who would you keep around between Provorov or Sanheim? Elliotte Friedman stated that he heard from a trusted source that if Provorov didn’t have the pedigree he did being taken in the first round, the expectation, and the money being paid to him, he may have been scratched this season. Sanheim on the other hand is making much less money and has arguably been the Flyers’ best and most consistent defenceman on the team, signed for another year. The domino effect suggested by Friedman after the Rasmus Ristolainen signing indicates one of these two may be on the move in an attempt to switch things up and bring in new faces that could help turn the team around.
With how much the top two right defencemen Ellis and Ristolainen are being paid, the Flyers won’t be able to keep three top-four caliber left defencemen around as well and expect to have much money to work with to improve their forward group. The tension between the Flyers and Provorov suggests he is the more likely candidate to be moved, and teams would still be interested despite the season.
The Flyers have to do well at this year’s trade deadline if they want to help themselves in being able to ice a competitive team next year. They have strong prospects and a number of sought-after rentals to help shape what their team could be for the future.