Now that we’ve covered the Atlantic and Metro, let’s switch over to the Western Conference and see what the Central Division might be able to offer in a trade for our Flyers. Do I mention all the logical choices? Please tell me how I’m wrong in the comments below.
Tyson Barrie has been a quietly exceptional defenseman for a long time in the league and some fans are probably just started noticing because of this year’s playoff performance. Barrie checks off all those boxes you want with a defenseman in today’s NHL: scores points and drives play. He’s scored 54 of his 75 career regular season goals at even-strength, so he’s not necessarily a byproduct of a good power play unit. Barrie would cost an awful lot to obtain and is only signed for the 2019-20 season. You’d essentially have to headline with Provorov/Ghost and pile on picks/prospects to get negotiations going. Unless the Flyers are pushing to go all-in, it might not be worth it.
The Blackhawks are a bit of a mess right now. Their defense isn’t good, but are somehow tied up in long-term contracts that are basically untradeable. Oddly, both Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews put up career seasons this past year at age 30. It’s honestly hard to tell which direction they might go. While I would love to get Dylan Strome or Alex DeBrincat (hello, Ron) on this team, they aren’t going anywhere. Artem Anisimov’s days as a 2C are well behind him, but he could be a useful 3C if the Flyers are comfortable leaving Nolan Patrick as the second-line center for this team. Brandon Saad could also be a good get if the price wasn’t so high, but seeing as though they oddly gave up Artemi Panarin for him, they probably value him way higher than he’s actually worth.
St. Louis Blues
Would the Blues trade away their captain after an improbable playoff birth and the success they’ve had so far going into the second round? Probably not. Alex Pietrangelo would be the ideal “veteran top-4” dman that you hear this organization constantly talk about when questioned what their goals are for this offseason. I fear when I hear those phrases that this team ends up with Dan Girardi for the next four to five years. Do not do this Flyers.
The Flyers need to call and inquire on their two pending restricted free agents, Patrick Laine and Jacob Trouba. There is a good chance that one or both could make contract negotiations complicated for the Jets and the Flyers need to pounce. Alas, this exercise was more setup to ponder players that are already under contract. Mathieu Perreault could be an interesting option. He does have a NTC, but would instantly make the Flyers deeper down the middle whether he would be the 2C or 3C.
The rumors are already swirling after a first round exit that P.K. Subban is going to be on the trading block. Why? I haven’t the slightest clue. It may take Ghost to get him, but Subban is still really good and only 29 years old. He’d solidify the defensive core around Provorov, Sanheim and Myers. If you don’t hear the Flyers connected to Subban this summer, you all have permission to riot on my behalf.
I’m going to guess with their playoff run this year that Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin are going to be off the table in trade talks. Dallas will need to evaluate if they are going to want to bring back their free agents like Jason Spezza, Mats Zuccarello and Ben Lovejoy. Ben Bishop is their guy in goal, but with Landon Bow as the heir apparent behind him, does that leave Anton Khodobin on the market for teams looking for a backup option? Who could always use a backup? Yes the team that used eight goalies last season does. Khodobin was excellent in 2018-19, holding down a .923 save percentage in 41 games.
This is where current Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher probably has a heads-up on making some potential moves given his relationship with the Wild organization. Winger Jason Zucker and defenseman Jared Spurgeon should be at the top of his wishlist. Zucker is only 27 and has three-straight 30 goal seasons and remains a solid play-driving, possession player that would be ideal on a line with say, Nolan Patrick and Jakub Voracek. Meanwhile Spurgeon is 29, but is rolling off a career-high 14 goal, 43 point season. He’s a right-handed defenseman that would also fit the “veteran top 4” dman requirement for this organization. One caveat is he DOES have a no-trade clause which could complicate a deal. Same with a dark horse trade candidate Eric Staal, who is still actually really good! Do the thing, Chuck.