The Flyers have interested in two big name players this offseason, according to report from veteran hockey writer Jim Matheson in the Edmonton Journal.
Matheson reports that the Flyers are interested in beefing up their blue line with a trade for St. Louis Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk. He also says that he expects to see Ron Hextall show interest in pending free agent winger Loui Eriksson.
Here's the entirety of the report from Matheson:
The Flyers would like Kevin Shattenkirk for their back-end (trade), but their big hole is a scoring left-winger, so expect them to investigate Bruins’ UFA Loui Eriksson.
It's short on detail, but this is obviously potentially impactful.
Let's start with Shattenkirk. The Blues' defenseman has been involved in trade rumors for a very long time, with the most recent kick up coming back in January. He's an unrestricted free agent in July 2017, and the Blues have been interested in boosting their offense in exchange for Shattenkirk in a trade.
The problem is that the Flyers don't have much scoring depth. The Blues are in win-now mode and would want a player from the NHL roster in exchange for Shattenkirk, a guy that one Blues writer called their "best defenseman this year, hands down."
He'd immediately become the Flyers best defenseman, and it doesn't exactly hurt that he's a right-handed shot, something the Flyers lack in their deep prospect pool at the position.
So you're probably looking at a Wayne Simmonds or Brayden Schenn as trade chip, and the Flyers simply don't have the scoring depth to lose a guy like that. Given that, I see a trade for Shattenkirk being a little tough to pull off at first glance.
But that brings us to the other part of the rumor that Matheson reported: Loui Eriksson.
The 30-year-old winger would bring some much needed offensive pop to the Flyers, particularly at a left wing position where they are particularly deficient. He was a 60 point scorer this year with 30 goals and 30 assists on the Bruins, and that sort of production could replace a Simmonds or Schenn if one of those were to leave in a Shattenkirk trade.
But the whole point of adding offensive depth is to give you depth, not to simply swap out one 60 point player with another. There's also two other little issues: age and contract. Simmonds is 27 and on one of the most team friendly deals in hockey, locked up at just under $4 million per year through 2019-20. Schenn is a restricted free agent and therefore likely under Flyers control for the considerable future, and he's just 24.
Shattenkirk is a proven commodity that could definitely help this team accelerate their road map towards competitiveness, he's only 27, and he is on a friendly contract worth just $4.25 million for next season. But he will get paid as a unrestricted free agent in 2017 whether it's by the Flyers or otherwise, and there's always the chance that the Flyers can't resign him because he wants to test the market. That makes trading a valuable asset for him a risky move, since you might only get one year of him.
The Flyers have cap space to spend, which means they could easily be in on Eriksson even without a trade for Shattenkirk. But it's interesting to think about how the two moves could work together.
So, what do you say? How do you feel about the team's reported interest in these guys?