The Philadelphia Flyers are going to have a busy couple of weeks before the March 21 trade deadline and one key player that might be on the move (probably on the move) is captain Claude Giroux. Certainly the biggest trade piece and potentially the most dynamic rental available, Giroux has full control over where he goes with his No-Move Clause in-hand, but one team that the Flyers have been scouting a little bit more as a potential destination is the Atlantic-leading Florida Panthers.
Reported by Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek on Saturday, Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher, special assistant Danny Briere, and senior advisors Bill Barber and Dean Lombardi; were all in attendance for the game between the Flyers’ Lehigh Valley Phantoms and the Panthers’ AHL affiliate, Charlotte Checkers. When there are that many high-ranking executives in one place, they surely mean business. Marek also names one player specifically that Philadelphia has interest in as part of the potential return for Giroux, and that’s 23-year-old winger Owen Tippett.
The Panthers have already made him readily available in trade, as they seek to improve their Cup-contending team, but the former 10th-overall pick could potentially make some team very happy if they try to crack the hard shell of his development so far. Still young enough to make a long-term difference, Tippett has 14 goals and 33 points in 94 career NHL games, but don’t let those numbers scare you. During his time at the top level, he has averaged just 11:56 time-on-ice, essentially putting him at the very bottom of any forward lineup, and he is still able to produce a fair amount. And through eight appearances in the AHL this season, Tippett has scored two goals and 10 points, so take that for what you will.
At 23 years of age, Tippett certainly lies in the category of player that makes sense if the Flyers want to back up their words from earlier this year. GM Chuck Fletcher made it clear that this team is focusing on an “aggressive retool” instead of a full tear-down rebuild, which means acquiring players that are in Tippett’s age range, to give a hearty boost to the current lineup. Now add Tippett to an interesting package involving maybe another prospect — the Panthers have plenty of those younger names like Justin Sourdif, Gregori Denisenko, and Evan Nause — and a high-round draft pick? You got yourself a return to make yourself ponder.
The Panthers do not currently own their first- and second-round draft picks this year, so it might be a matter of getting a better prospect in return for their 2023 first-rounder, pushing the pick down the road.
No one but the Flyers know what this package might look like, but there are certainly some interesting players at play and Tippett is one of them.