Nothing more needs to be said about the dumpster fire of a season it has been for our Philadelphia Flyers thus far. With the team going 0-3-0 this week in a slate of crucial games against the Rangers, Penguins, and Bruins and scoring in just 2 of the 9 periods, it's time to understand that this will likely be a non-playoff year in Philadelphia. With that in mind, and with the lockout-shortened season and exclusively intra-conference schedule compressing the standings, it would be very beneficial for the Flyers to be sellers at the deadline. They'd be one of a few teams doing so with many more teams than usual seeing themselves as contenders (we saw a similar thing at the MLB trade deadline this past season with the addition of a 2nd wild card). Without further ado, here are the trade values of the motley crew that makes up the Philadelphia roster.
Tier 1: The Drek
These guys have no value. Foster has a heavy shot, but has below below-average skating ability and can't crack the lineup for one of the worst bluelines in the league. Knuble is old and really f***ing slow. He theoretically provides a net-front presence, but at this stage in his career is nothing more than a roadblock keeping Eric Wellwood from the lineup. Gervais can skate a little and is a serviceable 6th defenseman on his good days, but too often gets pushed around on defense and spends his time in the offensive zone softly flipping harmless wrist shots into defenders or, if feeling especially frisky, goaltenders' midsections. Leighton gave up 5 goals in his only start, and Boosh is old and not particularly good. Neither of these teams would provide an upgrade at backup goalie for any team in the league.
Anything they could get for any of these players (a 7th-round pick, even) would be a steal.
Tier 2: Nope
Regardless of what you think of Bryz, whether you think he's to blame for the team's shoddy play this season or a scapegoat for the defense's larger issues (as always, the answer lies somewhere in between those two extremes), you have to understand that no one is trading for that contract. No one. $5.67M every season through 2020. Good golly, Ms. Molly. He'll be here for a long time unless they use a compliance buyout on him this offseason (not likely) or next offseason (more likely).
Tier 3: Young, But Not Particularly Valuable
Harry Z is currently toiling away in the AHL midway through his 4-game suspension for his charge on Mike Lundin, and while he brings speed and energy to the lineup he's played out of control at times. No playoff-bound team needs a young player on the 4th line who doesn't kill penalties. Rinaldo has definitely improved his discipline this season and has been much more valuable to the team as a result, but again he's not necessarily an upgrade on the 4th line for a playoff contender. Gustafsson has considerably more upside than either of the other two players mentioned so far, as he looks like he could be a solid puck-moving #5 D-man in the future, but he's too inconsistent to serve that role for a playoff-bound team. Like his long-term upside, though, and I'm glad he's getting an opportunity to play through his mistakes this year. McGinn showed flashes in his stint with the Flyers earlier this year, and has the potential to grow into a top-6 winger for the Flyers. However, he's currently out for an extended period of time with a broken orbital bone. Besides, a postseason-bound team wouldn't just slot him into their top-6, and he's not sound enough defensively to play on a shutdown line. Looking forward to him getting a spot in the top-9 in Philly next year.
Each of these players could feasibly fetch some value in a trade, particularly Gus and McGinn, but they're worth more to the Flyers to hold onto and see if they develop into anything more.
Tier 4: Warm-Bodied Veterans
Rusty's been pretty not great in his return to Philadelphia this year, but he's a reliable veteran who kills penalties and is a proven playoff performer (2 Stanley Cups-12 goals and 14 points in 2004 with the Lightning, 7 goals and 14 points in 2009 with the Penguins). (Side note-he murdered the Flyers in the 2004 ECF. Rusty freaking Fedotenko. This team, man.) But he's been remarkably consistent in his career, scoring between 9 and 16 goals and putting up between 20 and 39 points in 65-80 games since the 2006-2007 season. At this stage in his career, anyway, you're not trading for the on-ice product Fedotenko provides so much as you're trading for the idea of Ruslan Fedotenko. You trade for him so you can pat yourself on the back and prove to traditional fans that you understand the "little things" in hockey that "don't show up on the scoresheet"-his "veteran leadership" and "clutch-ness" and so people like Randy Miller praise you in the media for a job well done. You slot him in on your 4th-line and 2nd-PK unit at either wing or center and watch as he puts up 4 points the rest of the season and perhaps chips in a goal or two for you in the playoffs. That's worth something to some teams. Combined with the fact that he's making $1.75M this season (not a crippling cap hit to absorb) and he's a UFA come July, and you have yourself a trade piece that could return a mid-round draft pick. Can't believe I just wrote an entire paragraph about Ruslan Fedotenko. Anyway, onwards.
We know Gags has some value. After all, we just saw Homer give up a conditional 4th round pick for him a few weeks ago. He's definitely not the scorer he once was, with just 1 goal and 6 points in 16 games between LA and Philly this year, but he is a two-way forward who can slot in nicely on your 3rd line. He also has a good deal of playoff experience (excuse me while I dry my eyes: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLq6pkVMlaU http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YIVNVwoEgyo http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WbAwzDNpmtA). He's making $3.5M this year, which is do-able to fit under the cap, and like Rusty is a UFA at the end of the season. I'm sure a contender would pick him up at the deadline, but trading him again would be pretty much the worst thing ever from a PR standpoint so I doubt he'll be moved unless he asks for it. His value is likely the same as what we paid for him: a conditional 4th.
Meszaros is an interesting case. He's not a bad #4 defenseman when healthy and would be an excellent #5 for a playoff-caliber team, but he's seemingly never healthy. He's played only 5 games this year due to a shoulder injury, and he tore his Achilles tendon during the lockout in addition to missing the stretch run last year with a back injury. He's making $4M this year and next year, so his contract situation isn't ideal, but when healthy he's capable of putting up really solid numbers for a team (see: 2010-2011 season in Philly: 81 GP, 8 G, 24 A, 32 P, +30). With defensemen being such a hot commodity around the trade deadline (we gave up a 2nd and a 4th for PAVEL FREAKING KUBINA last year), Meszaros would have a good bit of value in early April. You know, assuming he doesn't fall off a roller coaster and break every bone in his body on an off day between now and then. I think we could get some combination of a 2nd, 3rd, and 4th for Mez if we played our cards right.
Tier 5: The Other Vets
We've all shed enough virtual ink about Danny Breeze at this point in the season. There's no way around it, he's been hideously bad this year: invisible offensively with 13 points in 22 games to go along with an ugly -8 and an ungodly $6.5M cap hit through 2014-2015. However, his postseason track record speaks for itself: 50 goals and 109 points in 108 playoff games, including a Conn Smythe-worthy performance in 2010 with 30 points and a +9 in 23 playoff games for the Flyers on a line with Scott Hartnell and Big Ville Style, Ville Leino. He can play center or wing (theoretically), so his versatility could appeal to some teams. With his actual salaries coming in well below his cap hits in each of the next two years and his all-offense, no-defense style of play, the only teams who would figure to be interested in him would be teams who are playoff contenders despite low payrolls who operate on a budget and need to stay above the cap ceiling in the coming years who are strong defensively. As far as I can tell, those teams are the St. Louis Blues (who have had a scouting presence at a few Flyers games this year), the Phoenix Coyotes (where he started his career), the Nashville Predators (who have hooked up with the Flyers on trades in the past, though that relationship might have been permanently terminated with Offer-Sheet-Gate this summer), and the New York Islanders (don't laugh-they're 2 points ahead of the Flyers with one less game played. Besides, the Islanders love taking on players with cap hits above their real-life salaries-Lubomir Visnovsky is a perfect example). Of course, this is all a moot point since Briere has a NMC, his family loves it here, and he isn't likely to waive it. But if he did waive it, I think he could fetch a decent D-prospect and/or a decent pick from a team.
Max Talbot is a player who can fit in on any team both on the ice and in the locker room. He's a 3rd or 4th line player who plays good, reliable defense and kills penalties well, with a bit of positional versatility (though he's proven to be better at wing) and playoff experience (including both goals in the Penguins' 2-1 win in Game 7 of the 2009 Stanley Cup Finals). He's basically a rich man's Ruslan Fedotenko. At $1.75M through 2016, he's locked into an affordable contract and if he rebounds at any point to the form he showed last year (19 goals and 34 points, though that seems unlikely based on a 16.5% shooting percentage that was the highest of his career), you're getting a steal. He's shooting just 4.0% this year, so you figure he'll get at least a little better than the 1 goal and 6 points he has despite playing in every game this season. I think a 2nd or 3rd round pick could be had for Max.
Ah, Scooter. Coming off a breakout season that saw him tally 37 goals and 67 points on the strength of 16 PPG, Hartsy signed a 6-year contract extension that kicks in at the start of next season that will give him a cap hit of $4.75 per season. He's turning 31 in April, however, so that extension could prove to be an albatross if his body breaks down sooner rather than later. His broken foot and the 1 goal and 4 points in the 10 subsequent games haven't done anything to alleviate the concerns about his extension. The Flyers won't shop him because of his chemistry with Captain Claude and his NMC, though I'm not sure what his value would be if he was shopped. He'd undoubtedly be one of, if not the top winger on the trade market, but his contract might scare some suitors off. Either way, it's irrelevant. Not going anywhere.
Braydon Coburn is an interesting case. He's an effective defenseman when utilized correctly, but is a bit overpaid and is having a dreadful season this year on both ends of the ice. He's a -10 so far (though to be fair, some of those were empty-net goals) and struggles to start the rush out of his own end, and to make matters worse he can't seem to hit the net with his shots. He's 6-5, 220 and brings a physical presence to the blueline. He's a really solid #3 or #4 defender who's logging #1 or #2 defender minutes. He hasn't lived up to his $4.5M cap hit that came with his 4-year extension that kicked in this year. With the dearth of defensemen on the market come trade season (mentioned earlier with Meszaros), someone would and could give the Flyers a 1st or 2nd+ for Coburn. Perhaps a D-prospect could be in play as well as an eventual replacement.
No one loves Kimmo Timo more than me, but it's become apparent this season that he's lost a step. He can still play QB on a PP unit with the best of them and is still a good offensive player, as his 17 points can attest to. However, his small size (5'10, 194) and old age (turns 38 in 9 days) have limited his strength and mobility, and he's no longer the high-end #2 D-Man that he once was. In addition, his $6M cap hit for next season is starting to look a bit lofty with the salary cap lowering. Finally, he has a NMC. I doubt he wants to leave. But if he does want to try and win that elusive Stanley Cup (because Lord knows it's not happening here) there would definitely be suitors for him on the trade market, especially in a situation where he could run a team's struggling PP and be a #4 or #5 defender. Boston and Detroit spring to mind immediately, although Boston in particular doesn't really need any defensemen. The compensation for him would, I think, be similar to Coburn if a team believed he'd put them over the top this year.
Tier 6: Luke Schenn
I didn't know where else to slot him in. He's young, but has more value than the guys in Tier 3. He can help a team, but he's not at the level where he's "really useful" like the guys in Tier 7 (foreshadowing!!!). He's certainly not untouchable. Barring some unforeseen development, he is what he is at this point. He's big, but slow. He'll block shots, but struggles when in open space. He'll hit people hard and often, but it's not always the right decision. He's limited moving the puck out of the zone to start the rush and doesn't have a good shot from the point. Complicating matters are his contract ($3.6M per year through 2016) and the fact that his brother Brayden is one of the best young players on the team. Now that you've united them, you really can't move him without moving Brayden as well, unless you have a giant set of brass balls (I see you, Paul Holmgren). To be honest, I couldn't tell you what we'd get for Luke in a trade. We made a hockey trade in sending JVR to Toronto for him, and we've lost badly. Might be better to evaluate what we have for a while rather than try to cut our losses now.
Tier 7: Really Useful Pieces, Both Now and In The Future
Grossmann came over at the deadline from Dallas for a 2012 2nd rounder and a 2013 3rd rounder, and the trade has worked out fantastically for the Flyers. While he offers little on offense (goals in Harlem Shake-esque net-mouth scrums aside), he's done yeoman's work for the Flyers as their shutdown defender and has, for my money, been the best defender on the Flyers this year. He routinely takes on opposing top lines and throws his 6-4, 230 frame around, blocking shots and hitting opposing players. I think he's definitely increased his value from the trade deadline last year with both his excellent play and his $3.5M/year contract extension through 2016. I think a team could give up a 1st for him, but he's the best defender on the team and with his extension and the fact that he's only 28, he'll be a part of the next Flyers contender.
Read was having an excellent start to the season, recording 7 goals and 13 points in 17 games before suffering a rib injury against the Pittsburgh Penguins on February 20th. Despite a 4-6 week timetable and lingering pain, he came back just a little over 2 weeks after the injury. He's a smart, 2-way player with a good shot and all-around good hockey awareness. He fits into the lineup anywhere from the top line to the bottom line, has good speed, and can play on both the PP and the PK. He got a late start into the NHL at age 25, but after tallying 24 goals and 47 points in his rookie year last year he was well on his way to showing that his production was no fluke. Normally I would say that Read is just about untouchable and will be a part of the Flyers' core for years to come, but two things complicate that. First, his contract (paying him $900k a year) expires after the 2014 season, when he will become an unrestricted free agent due a hefty raise from his current salary. Secondly, Claude Giroux, Brayden Schenn, and Sean Couturier all hit restricted free agency in the same offseason. All will be due large raises as well. With buyouts of Briere and Bryz, the Flyers might be able to afford all 4, but Read could be moved before then. If he is moved, look for it to be more of a hockey trade rather than a deal for picks and prospects. The Flyers would likely be looking for a young defenseman to help rebuild the blueline around in a Read trade.
Tier 8: The Young Guns
Wayne Simmonds, Sean Couturier
Simmer (aka Wayne Train) (aka Choo Choo) (aka Simm Daddy) is a fan favorite, and for good reason. An overlooked part of the Mike Richards trade, he potted 28 goals and recorded 49 points in a breakout year in 2011-2012. The Flyers locked him up to a 6-year extension that pays him $3.975M a year starting next year, and he's kept up his production, with 10 goals and 19 points in 23 games so far. He's a physical presence around the net, he's not afraid to drop the gloves, and at just 24 years of age with a modified NTC in his extension, he figures to be in Philadelphia for a long time. If he was moved, it'd be a similar situation to Read, where they get back young D help.
Cooters has fallen a long way from being the toast of the town after making Evgeni Malkin his personal plaything in the 1st round of the playoffs just 11 months ago. This season, he's struggled to the tune of 2 goals, 7 points, and a -8 in 24 games. His 4.8% shooting percentage isn't helping matters, but he's made some mistakes in terms of turning the puck over and failing to get it in deep that he didn't make last year. Despite the fact that he's just 20 years old, some are souring on his offensive potential. He's also fallen into Peter Laviolette's dog house, with under 11 minutes of playing time in the past two games against Pittsburgh and Boston and a demotion to the 4th line. Look, I love the kid. I think he's going to be a hell of a player. He's already (for the most part) there defensively, and the offense will come. He's 20. 20. I'm 18. My brother's turning 20 on Tuesday. What he did last year at 19 was simply incredible, and it raised our expectations, fair or unfair, for this year. We have to remember he's still young and give him time to grow. With him, Schenn, and G, I think we could have a middle-class man's version of the Crosby-Malkin-Staal dominance down the center that Pittsburgh rode to back-to-back SCF appearances in 2008 and 2009 and a Cup in 2009. Some are saying (like THG's Dustin Leed, who made an excellent argument here) that we should explore the idea of trading him for a young defenseman with upside in order to shore up the defense (although I don't think Briere is the reason to do it if you do it). While I can't argue that the Flyers have screwed with his development by not allowing him time in the top-6 with more offensively-talented linemates, I'm squarely in the "don't trade Coots" camp because I love the idea of having 3 bona-fide top-6 centers on the team. However, if that's what it takes to get someone like Oliver Ekman-Larsson or a similar-caliber defenseman, I think long and hard about it.
Tier 9: Untouchable, Like Elliot Ness
(shouts to Dr. Dre)
Brayden Schenn, Jakub Voracek
Schenn had a disappointing rookie season last year as the centerpiece of the Richards trade, but after 9 points in 11 playoff games, he took that momentum with him into this season. He has 6 goals and 19 points in 25 games this year, and has alleviated concerns that some Flyers fans (me included) had about him after last year. Part of the reason for his success was a consistent spot at center rather than wing, flanked by Danny Briere and Wayne Simmonds, both offensive threats. He's been given more talented linemates than Couturier thus far, and has flourished and developed more offensively as a result. He's still got some growing to do, especially defensively, but he's 21. The kid's going to be good. Really good. Combined with Luke being here, don't see him being moved for anything.
Jake "Huge Dong" Voracek (a nickname I came up with all by myself on Twitter (follow me on Twitter at @GoingHard_inger!!!) during the 2/20 Flyers-Pens game that I continue to use because I find it hilarious because it has no basis or real logic behind it) has exploded (see what I did there?) in 2013 to the tune of 12 goals and 29 points, 5th in the league. He's a great skater and has been more assertive in terms of shooting the puck this season. That, combined with his already stellar passing, has been a large factor in his breakout and a big reason why every line he's on has performed well. He's found a home on the top line with Hartsy and G, and I think that'll stay together for a long time. This is the first season of a contract extension that pays him $4.25M per season through 2016, which already looks like a bargain. Huge Dong isn't going anywhere.
Tier 10: THE Untouchable
Captain Claude. What is there to say? After a slow start, he's up to 24 points on the year, good for 15th in the league. He's a restricted free agent in 2014, and if the Ryan Getzlaf contract has anything to say about it he'll be getting an 8-year deal worth about $8M a year. Not going anywhere. Face of the franchise. Side note: anyone saying he "doesn't care" or that he's part of the problem this year doesn't get it. Simple as that. He's a stud. Top-10 in the NHL for sure, and we're lucky to have him.
So there you have it. Long-winded, but trade values for everyone on the roster. Hope you enjoyed it. Let me know what you think in the comments.
Follow me on Twitter @GoingHard_inger. I tweet very often about a lot of random stuff, mainly Philly sports and my life. I like to think I'm pretty funny. Ask Kurt.