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The fire sales have begun; where are the Flyers?

The rest of the bottom-tier teams are selling, why not us?

Philadelphia Flyers v Vancouver Canucks Photo by Derek Cain/Getty Images

There has been an unusual amount of activity leading up to the NHL trade deadline. Unlike other years in which early rumors were just rumors, the rumors turned into speculation and there was a blockbuster trade in January.

The Canucks started off deadline season by trading captain Bo Horvat to the Islanders on January 30th. Since then, Vladimir Tarasenko, Ryan O’Reilly, Dmitry Orlov, Nino Neiderreiter, and Timo Meier were all moved, among others. On top of those trades, several other players have been held out of games due to “trade-related reasons” and Patrick Kane reportedly is all but wearing Lady Liberty on his chest.

The Flyers finally got in on the fun late Sunday night, sending 2017 second-round pick (35th overall) Isaac Ratcliffe to the Nashville Predators for future considerations. Hopefully, that’s the first very small domino to fall for Chuck Fletcher and the Flyers. Realistically, it may end up being one of the only moves they make.

Fletcher is sitting idly while other general managers are preparing for the future. Let’s take a quick look at what the rest of the basement-dwelling teams are up to while the Flyers sit and wait, starting from the bottom.

Columbus Blue Jackets - 44 pts

The Blue Jackets have yet to make a trade this season, but they have at least made it known that they are looking to move one of their better assets.

Vladislav Gavrikov hasn’t played since February 11th due to “trade-related reasons.” The 27-year-old defenseman has been solid in his career and has averaged over 22 minutes a game for the past two seasons. There were some rumblings that the Bruins were maneuvering to acquire him before they went in another direction. The Blue Jackets have been marred by injuries this year which has thinned out their potential trade deadline pieces. Still, they also have Gustav Nyquist and Joonas Korpisalo in the mix as expiring contracts.

Anaheim Ducks - 45 pts

The Ducks have actually made two trades this season — including one for former Flyers’ legend Michael Del Zotto — but neither is truly worth mentioning.

Anaheim is in a unique situation in that it doesn’t exactly have many pieces to sell off. John Klingberg signed a one-year deal there and he will almost assuredly be dealt. Dmitry Kulikov, who the Ducks acquired for future considerations, just before the season is another candidate to be moved. This is one of the bottom teams not aggressively selling, but they don’t exactly need to aggressively sell. They have just $22.4 million on the books after the 2023-24 season. By comparison, the Flyers owe Kevin Hayes, Ivan Provorov, Rasmus Ristolainen, and Travis Sanheim over $25 million in the 2024-25 season.

Chicago Blackhawks - 47 pts

Patrick Kane is working his way out of Chicago and into the big city. It’d be surprising if Kane isn’t dealt, but this is a scenario much like Claude Giroux last year in which the player has all of the control. If the Rangers can’t find cap space and pony up, perhaps Kane stays in Chicago.

Jake McCabe and Sam Lafferty got shipped up to Toronto for multiple picks, including a first-rounder, and Max Domi is also in the mix as a trade option. Chicago knew exactly what it was doing trading away Kirby Dach and Alex DeBrincat the offseason before a generational player headlines a deep draft class.

San Jose Sharks - 48 pts

The Sharks just traded one of their most-coveted players in Timo Meier with the Devils completing that deal on Sunday. There is also speculation that Erik Karlsson could be dealt as well as pending free agent James Reimer.

San Jose is quite possibly in a worse cap situation than the Flyers, but at least the Sharks got a Stanley Cup Final run out of it and the Meier trade signaled they’re selling.

Arizona Coyotes - 49 pts

Jacob Chychrun started the “trade-related reasons” train as the defenseman hasn’t played since February 10th. He has long wanted out of Arizona, and the Coyotes may finally be dealing him. They also have another defenseman that may be familiar to Flyers fans: Shayne Gostisbehere. Fletcher had to attach two draft picks (second round and seventh round) to Gostisbehere in order for the Coyotes to accept the salary dump in 2021. Now, it looks like the Coyotes could get another pick or two for the offensive defenseman.

The Coyotes are by no means a model franchise — quite the opposite, actually — but at least they know how and when to sell.

Vancouver Canucks - 51 pts

The Canucks seem to be the Western Conference version of the Flyers. There are (were?) solid pieces of a young core but also some unruly contracts and a front office that doesn’t really have a concrete plan.

Vancouver traded away its captain, Bo Horvat, to the Islanders to kick off trade season. Luke Schenn has been held out of games for “trade-related reasons” and while he’s not going to fetch the largest return, I’d rather have that than Fletcher clutching his pearls over trading Nick Seeler. Brock Boeser is another Travis Konecny-like name to potentially watch in Vancouver and a J.T. Miller trade wouldn’t be shocking either.

Montreal Canadiens - 54 pts

The Canadiens got in on the fun this weekend by trading Evgenii Dadonov to the Stars for Denis Gurianov. Dadonov is a pending UFA while Gurianov is a pending RFA and eight years younger.

Montreal, like Columbus, has been dealt a tough hand in terms of injuries this season. Nevertheless, the Habs have done a decent job of building for the future already with Cole Caufield and the Dach trade last offseason. It’s still possible that they move Sean Monahan before the deadline as well.

Those are the seven teams below the Flyers in the standings. They all have their own set of circumstances to deal with but most of them have a plan in mind.

There are also a handful of teams above Philadelphia that have made some savvy moves toward the future.

St. Louis Blues - 57 pts

The Blues are in full-on sell mode. They traded Vladimir Tarasenko and Niko Mikkola to the Rangers early in February, Ryan O’Reilly and Noel Acciari to the Maple Leafs just over a week later, and Ivan Barbashev to Vegas on Sunday.

St. Louis lifted Lord Stanley’s Cup in 2019 and is already looking to rebuild for another run at it.

Washington Capitals - 64 pts

The Capitals are looking for a quick retool as their current contending window is essentially Alex Ovechkin’s career. They traded away Dmitry Orlov and Garnet Hathaway for multiple picks, including a first-rounder that they could either flip in the offseason or use to stock their cupboards for the next core.

Nashville Predators - 64 pts

The Predators traded Tanner freaking Jeannot for a haul of draft picks from the Lightning. They received former first-round pick Cal Foote as well as five draft picks, including a conditional first-rounder and three mid-round picks this year.

The Flyers need to join the fire sale rather than sitting on their hands.

James van Riemsdyk should be traded and could actually net a decent return based on the moves thus far. Justin Braun will likely be a deadline move again, but it’d be hard to imagine getting anything of true value back for him — probably just another mid-round pick. Then there’s Patrick Brown and Nick Seeler, who Fletcher has reportedly been a bit hesitant to move.

It’s going to be harder to move him now due to his injury, but Fletcher should’ve been shopping Travis Konecny all season. He’s bought in under John Tortorella and is having one of the best seasons of his career. There’s certainly an argument to be made for having Konecny be one of the players that bridges the gap into the next contending window, but no one really has any idea when that could be.

Quite frankly, no one should be untouchable on this Flyers roster. They are more than a few moves away from contending. Anyone and everyone should be available in a seller’s market.

While other teams are speeding past him on the highway, Fletcher isn’t even in the slow lane. He’s the car stopped at a yield sign angering the drivers behind him.