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Let’s talk trades: making predictions way too early

It’s clear the Flyers are headed towards a rebuild, and almost halfway through the season we’re starting to get a sense of who could be part of the solution. So, which players might be out, and where might they land?

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Dallas Stars v Philadelphia Flyers Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images

It’s definitely too early to be thinking about major roster changes and trades for the 2023 trade deadline and offseason, right? But we’re doing it anyway. Why? It’s the holidays and we need content, baby! Plus, it’s kinda fun to spitball where Flyers players could end up and which playoff teams us, forlorn Flyers fans, might have a small stake in.

The selected players are the ones most probable to move for one reason or another, but sound off in the comments which players you think could be traded and where—as well as what the returns could be! Ideally, the trade partners would be in the Western Conference, which could bolster the returns since the Flyers aren’t jockeying for playoff spots in the West and Central divisions.

Anyhoo, let’s get predictin’!

James van Riemsdyk to the Dallas Stars

This one’s a bit of a wildcard, and while it’d be fun to see JVR play with his brother on the Washington Capitals, the Caps could still miss the playoffs. The Stars, however, are a playoff lock, and their top line is one of the best—if not the best—in the NHL. Beyond that? Well, they’ve been a bit less electric, with a rotating cast struggling to find chemistry with Tyler Seguin and Mason Marchment on the second line. They may’ve found the formula in recent weeks, but that still leaves a hole on their third line that JVR could easily slot into. The Stars powerplay is one of the best in the league too at 26.8%, and adding JVR for the playoffs could push them even higher.

Granted, the cap situation for the Stars is tight, and a trade would likely involve them sending a player back to Philadelphia (barring any LTIR shenanigans). Who that could be is anybody’s guess, as most of their lineup provides value, but finding $3.5 million AAV to squeeze in JVR seems doable.

Justin Braun to the New York Rangers

That move was so good last year, let’s do it again!

Ivan Provorov to the Edmonton Oilers

While Connor McDavid has been doing Connor McDavid things, and Leon Draisaitl has two functioning legs this season, the Edmonton defense and goaltending situation has been bad to brutal. Enter Provorov, a player other GMs see and think, “I can fix him,” the same way Chuck Fletcher thought Rasmus Ristolainen could be fixed. Except, Provorov actually could improve with a change of scenery and a winning culture—and having two of the best offensive players in the league in front of him doesn’t hurt, either.

With 50% retained, that would put Provorov at $3.375 million AAV, which even for the cap-strapped Oilers could be manageable and a bargain for a player with Provy’s pedigree. Even better for Philadelphia is that Edmonton still has most of their 2023 and 2024 draft picks (including their first rounders), which a competent GM could negotiate for in exchange for eating that much salary. All the Flyers need now to pull that one off is a competent GM.

Kevin Hayes to the Colorado Avalanche

You’re probably asking yourself, “Why would the reigning champs take three years of Hayes?” The answer is they have a Nazem Kadri-sized hole at 2C, and no one on the roster has been able to fill that void. Add in the injuries plaguing their star players, and the Avs are in a tight spot, clinging to their playoff position. After a loss this week to the Arizona Coyotes, it’s clear they need help now.

Colorado's also got very little cap room, which would make it difficult to bring in someone like Bo Horvat beyond a post-season rental. If they’re looking for someone to stick instead of cycling through players every year, then Hayes could be a good fit while their window is open—as long as the Avalanche aren’t included on the 12-team NTC Hayes has.

Hayes is just under a point per game right now, and at a hair under $3.6 million AAV (with 50% retained) would be a pretty good deal. He’d be surrounded by talent, which would help take the pressure off of him to be “the guy,” and he’d be out from under the thumb of John Tortorella. Colorado’s draft picks are pretty sparse, but there’s likely a way to net a decent return—a prospect and mid-round draft pick, perhaps? Anything’s better than a buyout.

Honorable Mentions

Patrick Brown

He’s in the last year of his contract, and maybe a playoff team will be hungry for that kind of “gritty fourth liner” hockey men seem to love during a Stanley Cup push. Brown’s a face-off pro, too, sporting a respectable 52.87 FO% this season.

Tony Meatballs DeAngelo

As expected, DeAngelo’s defensive liabilities offset his offensive production. Maybe the Carolina Hurricanes will take him back?

Travis Konecny

TK’s season has been a revelation—a true bounce back that has seen him become the team’s most productive player. The question is: can he be a part of a rebuild, or does his value to the team stem from a potential trade return? The same could be said of Carter Hart, or even Joel Farabee, but both those players are younger than Konecny and could become cornerstone pieces. Still, someone’s gotta put pucks in the net, even during a rebuild, and it’s fair to say TK’s here to stay.

Rasmus Ristolainen

Anybody? Anybody? Bueller?

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