The Philadelphia Flyers did the thing on Monday, finally firing Alain Vigneault and Michel Therrien after eight straight losses. Mike Yeo took over as the Interim Head Coach as the Flyers then lost No. 9 in a row that night against the Avalanche.
Given the position that Chuck Fletcher is in, it doesn’t seem like the Flyers are going to fold anytime soon. Fletcher was given some rope this offseason and he was aggressive in acquiring Ryan Ellis, Rasmus Ristolainen, and Cam Atkinson, along with a few depth pieces. However, the roster is underperforming with Ellis injured, the center depth tested, and a complete lack of goal scoring upfront.
Prior to Monday’s five-goal outburst against Justus Annunen, a 21-year-old goalie with a .906 save percentage in the AHL this season, the Flyers scored three goals or fewer in 17 straight games. They had 13 games with two goals or fewer in that span, including getting shut out three times.
If Fletcher is given more rope and ownership allows him to pursue a trade, that could be next on the docket for the Flyers GM. We still have to find out if the Flyers will be hiring a new head coach or sticking with Yeo, but a change to the roster could be in the cards either way.
Last week, DailyFaceoff’s Frank Seravalli listed 15 trade targets as the market heats up in December.
If the Flyers make a move, they could go after someone on that list.
Here are five players on Seravalli’s list that could be trade targets for the Flyers if they go that route.
Vladimir Tarasenko (RW)
$7.5 million through 2023
24 GP, 7 G, 12 A, 19 PTS
Vladimir Tarasenko was the talk of the town over the summer and some thought that the Flyers landing the Russian winger was only a matter of time. That wasn’t the case, however, as Tarsenko remains with the Blues and has had a pretty good start to the season.
Tarasenko has 19 points (seven goals, 12 assists) in 24 games. For reference, Claude Giroux (19) and Sean Couturier (14) lead the Flyers in points in 22 games. Cam Atkinson (eight) is the only Flyers player with more goals than Tarasenko’s seven.
Three of Tarasenko’s goals and two of his assists have come on the power play. The winger has a 12.4% shooting percentage in his career and would give the Flyers a left-handed weapon to go with Giroux on the power play.
Chuck Fletcher would have to work some magic to fit Tarasenko under the cap, however. It would likely take including James van Riemsdyk in the trade or dumping JVR’s salary to a cap-floor team to clear space.
Tarasenko hasn’t rescinded his trade request, but with the Blues sitting pretty with 28 points in 24 games they may want to keep the Russian.
J.T. Miller (C/LW)
$5.25 million through 2023
25 GP, 8 G, 15 A, 23 PTS
J.T. Miller seemed like a much more likely trade candidate before Vancouver’s coaching and front office changes this week. Having said that, the Flyers may be more likely to trade for him if he’s available after firing Alain Vigneault. AV coached Miller in New York and it was thought that the youngster was held back by Vigneault –– not that we would know anything about that in Philadelphia.
Miller fits well with the Flyers as he can play on both the wing and center. With the Flyers’ center depth issues, Miller could primarily play on the wing but slide over to the pivot when necessary. He has a 55.4% success rate in 332 faceoffs this season.
Miller would easily lead the Flyers with his 23 points (eight goals, 15 assists) in 25 games. Like Tarasenko, Miller has also found success on the power play with three goals and seven assists. However, just as the Blues may not look to move Tarasenko, the Canucks should try to use the 28-year-old Miller as a piece to build around.
We’ll see what happens in the coming months, but the Flyers. would also need to move salary –– although less so –– to fit Miller’s $5.25 million cap hit through next season. Travis Konecny at 24 years old and a $5.5 million cap hit through 2025 may fit the Canucks’ timeline better, though.
Reilly Smith (RW)
$5 million through 2022
24 GP, 10 G, 9 A, 19 PTS
Reilly Smith likely wouldn’t be moved until at least Jack Eichel is healthy, but the winger could bring a new face and look to the Flyers.
Smith put up three straight 50-plus point seasons in his first three years with the Golden Knights despite only playing 67, 74, and 71 games. Last season he fell off a bit with 25 points in 53 games, but he still scored 14 goals.
This season, Smith’s 10 goals would easily lead the Flyers. He is shooting 13.3% this season and is a career 12.3% shooter.
The 30-year-old Smith only really makes sense for the Flyers if they pull a Blues and turn it around in the next month or so. If anything, he could be a trade target closer to the deadline.
Rickard Rakell (RW)
$3.789 million through 2022
15 GP, 8 G, 2 A, 10 PTS
Rickard Rakell falls into a similar bucket as Smith. He is a shoot-first winger with 52 shots in 15 games this season. He’s put up 10 points (eight goals) for the Ducks, who are off to a surprising start.
The 28-year-old Rakell would make sense in a change-of-scenery type trade. His cap hit is manageable at under $4 million and could bring some depth to the Flyers. However, the Flyers need more than just a depth piece to turn things around.
Tomas Hertl (C)
$5.625 million through 2022
25 GP, 9 G, 5 A, 14 PTS
Last, but certainly not least is Tomas Hertl. Hertl is a pending free agent with a $5.625 million cap hit. He would be a great second-line center for the Flyers behind Sean Couturier, moving Kevin Hayes down to the third line. But with a great player comes a large price tag, and that might not be something the Flyers want to do this season.
Hertl had 43 points (19 goals, 24 assists) in 50 games last season and is off to a slower start this season with 14 points in 25 games. The 28-year-old center averages 52 points per 82 games in his career.
Back to the cost; Hertl is willing to stay in San Jose, but the Sharks may be best to move him. They’re off to a surprising start with 27 points in 25 games, giving them a chance in an open Western Conference.
As with all of the players on this list (and beyond), they’re only a real possibility if the Flyers string a few wins together and get back into contention in the coming weeks and months. Hertl would be a good pickup but it has to make sense in both the timing and price.
Stats through Sunday, December 5th