As we make our way to our final stop on this journey, we arrive at the left coast, that other coast way over there, to explore some potential deals in the Pacific. The Pacific Division is teeming with trade options for the Flyers, particularly from two Western Canada teams in Edmonton and Calgary that are looking to shake things up in a big way.
So here it is, the final installment of my four-part series.
Contract numbers courtesy of capfriendly.com; statistics courtesy of Corsica.hockey
Silfverberg has long been a favorite of mine, along with quite a few members of Twitter with whom I have interacted over the years. He’s strong, physical and fast and would bring solid 5-on-5 production to the middle 6 of this team. He’s also been a staple of the Ducks’ penalty kill, something the Flyers obviously need and which Ron Hextall has said he would like to address. Silfverberg will be 28 at the beginning of next season and will be going into the final year of his contract at a cap hit of $3.75M, so he’s a player that Anaheim may be enticed to move with prospects on the way up like Max Jones. Going into a contract year could be a negative for a team like the Flyers who wouldn’t be acquiring Silfverberg for cheap, but players going into contract years tend to have strong seasons and there’s always the chance to negotiate an extension either in the trade or soon after. He’s not a human highlight reel, but Silfverberg would certainly add production and depth to this team.
Anaheim was ravaged by injury last season, particularly down the middle. Because of this, they acquired Adam Henrique early last year from the Devils. Henrique had a solid season, scoring 20 goals and providing much needed center depth. Now that the Ducks are healthy, they have quite a few centers on the roster, with more potentially coming with Troy Terry looking for a larger role and star prospect Sam Steel playing his final junior season this past year. Henrique is also entering the final year of his deal at a $4M cap hit. If the Flyers are looking for a solid stopgap to play behind Couturier and Patrick – and also kill penalties – Henrique is a player they know well from his days in New Jersey. I wouldn’t expect him to light the world on fire, but he’s another player going into a contract year that could provide some solid depth down the middle. The Flyers could certainly do worse than Couturier, Patrick and Henrique at center.
Ferland is an intriguing option. He can play either wing position and really broke out this year with strong production for Calgary. While his Corsi and expected goals numbers aren’t great, he’s still just above break-even over the past 3 seasons. The 26 year old is entering the final year of his contract (somewhat of a theme here to start the article, eh?) and could provide some much needed scoring on the wing. He’s not at the top of my wish list for this offseason – or even on Calgary for that matter – but he’s an option nonetheless that is worth consideration in my opinion.
For those of you who don’t follow prospects closely, the next two names may not ring a bell. Andrew Mangiapane is a player I’ve had my eye on since he was drafted in the 6th round in 2015. He’s a speedy winger with excellent puck skills who likely fell in the draft due to his size, despite putting up 43 goals and 104 points in 68 games for the Barrie Colts in his draft year. He followed that season up with 51 goals and 106 points in 59 games in 2016, and this past season, scored 20 goals and 41 points in 66 games in his first year in the AHL. He did play 10 games in the NHL this season and while he did not register a point, his 3.67% xGF Rel suggests he was on the ice for more than a fair share of quality chances. I don’t know that Mangiapane is a player that Calgary would be interested in moving, but I do see him as a player who can come in and provide some speed and skill and dynamic ability, something the Flyers clearly lack after their top 6 players. The Flyers can use as much speed and skill as they can find, and this 22 year old winger could grow with the rest of their developing young core.
Calgary must have watched quite a bit of Barrie in 2015, as they drafted their #1 defenseman along with Mangiapane. Andersson is a smooth skating, right-handed Swede who brings playmaking ability to the blue line. The 21 year old put up 39 points in 56 games in the AHL last season. The Flyers have plenty of young defensemen taking spots on the D corps and looking to break in next year, so he’s not someone I would expect Hextall to target, but it never hurts to add more to the mix. Like Mangiapane, Andersson is a player I have followed closely since his draft year and I believe he would be a strong addition to a young and growing blue line.
If you follow me on Twitter, you had to have seen this coming. Hamilton would be one of my top targets this off-season if I were in Ron Hextall’s position. Drafted 1 slot behind Sean Couturier in 2011, Hamilton has grown into a true top pair defenseman and this past season probably should have received consideration for the Norris Trophy. He’s big. He skates well. He’s right-handed. He provides offense from the back end. His underlying numbers are great. So why would Calgary look to move a soon-to-be 25 year old top pairing defenseman who has 3 years remaining on a contract with a cap hit of just $5.75 million? Calgary is looking to shake things up this off-season. They brought in Bill Peters as their new head coach and there have been rumblings that Calgary is looking to get tougher, grittier, and develop more of an edge. I’ve refrained from mentioning cost to acquire players or what the Flyers would have to give up to acquire players to this point, but as I’ve mentioned on Twitter numerous times, if this doesn’t sound like a cry for Wayne Simmonds I’m not sure what does. I’m not suggesting it would be a one-for-one swap and I’m not going to go much further than that in terms of what a deal would look like; but I do think Calgary would be interested in Wayne Simmonds and I believe the Flyers should be interested in Dougie Hamilton. A top four of Provorov, Gostisbehere, Hamilton and Sanheim would be among the most offensively gifted and dynamic top fours in the NHL. There was talk of the Flyers being interested in Hamilton back in 2011 before Couturier fell in their lap; now may be the chance for the Flyers to acquire him as he is about to ascend toward his prime years.
From one defenseman I have talked at length about on Twitter to another, I bring you Oscar Klefbom. Edmonton is an absolute mess. They can’t seem to build around a generational talent in Connor McDavid and Peter Chiarelli is known for overvaluing outside players and undervaluing his own. Klefbom is a player that has been rumored to be on the move in order to acquire help on the blue line, which is comical considering he is one of their best if not their best defenseman. The soon-to-be 25 year old is signed through 2022-23 at a cap hit of $4.167 million. He played the entire season with a shoulder injury that ultimately required surgery and clearly hampered his ability. I would not put Klefbom on the same level as Dougie Hamilton, but he is a very good defenseman that would absolutely strengthen the top four of this blue line. If Chiarelli is putting Klefbom out there, Hextall should be one of many GMs in the league on the phone.
Puljujarvi has had a somewhat turbulent first two years as a North American pro hockey player. He went from consensus top 2 pick about halfway through is draft year to falling to 4th overall in what seemed like a steal for the Oilers. A big, speedy, playmaking winger to put alongside Connor McDavid for the next decade sounds like a dream come true. Unfortunately, Puljujarvi hasn’t quite hit his stride yet in Edmonton. The 20 year old has just 28 points in his first 93 games as an NHL player and he’s been shuttled around the lineup quite a bit over that time. Given that he is still just 20 years and a former #4 overall pick, it’s highly unlikely he would be on the trade block. However, we are talking about Peter Chiarelli here and it would not be the first time he would be giving up on a player too early. As previously mentioned, the Oilers are looking to make improvements to their blue line and if Puljujarvi can help them make said improvements, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him moved. As with Klefbom, if Chiarelli is putting the young dynamic forward out there, Hextall should get in line to at least kick the tires.
Dell is coming off of a strong season in a backup role for San Jose. Signed through 2019-20 at a cap hit of $1.9 million, Dell has a .920 SV% through 49 games over the past 2 seasons. With Michal Neuvirth being unreliable, Brian Elliott getting older and Alex Lyon having a small sample of NHL games to his name, the Flyers could clearly use more stability in net. Dell, who played under Dave Hakstol at North Dakota, could be a decent option should the Flyers decide to move on from Neuvirth.
Tanev is a defenseman that has long been rumored to be on the trade block. The 28 year old right-handed defenseman is maybe one of the more underrated defensemen in the NHL. He’s not going to put up a ton of points, but he’s a great skater who is very good in his own zone and very good at getting the puck out of his zone, something the Flyers have struggled with mightily the past few seasons. Tanev is signed through the 2019-20 season at a reasonable cap hit of $4.45 million. He certainly would not come cheap as Vancouver would likely only move him to begin to stockpile assets for their rebuild now that the Sedins have retired. Tanev has flown under the radar a bit from a fan perspective due to the awfulness that has been the Canucks organization since their Cup run in 2011, but Hextall would be wise to give Benning a call to see what it would take to acquire the former undrafted free agent.
I’ve thrown around quite a few names, some high-profile, some fans may not know much about, but all of whom I feel could upgrade the Flyers roster heading into next season. As I and others here at Broad Street Hockey have mentioned, this is a big off-season for Hextall, one in which he should look to improve this team in order for them to take that next step toward becoming a true contender. None of these articles were meant to claim that it would be easy to acquire any of these players, nor was it meant to assert that not acquiring any of these players would make this off-season a failure. Again, I do believe Hextall should be aggressively looking to bolster this roster, but how he decides to do so is obviously out of my hands. This was simply an exercise in which I attempted to lay out options to explore. If one or more of these players ends up in orange and black, great! If not, hopefully however Hextall decides to change this team heading into next season has us all excited and ready for Flyers hockey.
So there you have it. My early off-season wish list for Ron Hextall and the Philadelphia Flyers. I hope you all have enjoyed this series and I look forward to providing more off-season content and conversing with all of you as the off-season unfolds!