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Preview: Here come the Oily Bois

Connor McDavid (and rest of the Edmonton Oilers, I guess) come to Philly as the Flyers try to rebound after a boring loss to the Islanders.

NHL: Edmonton Oilers at Philadelphia Flyers Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Edmonton Oilers come to town for the first time this season, facing off against a Flyers team that lost their first post-All Star break game 2-1 to the New York Islanders. Connor McDavid is doing his standard McJesus stuff, with 41 goals and 93 (!!) points in 51 games this season, but without much help around him outside of Leon Draisaitl, the Oilers are currently clinging to a wildcard spot in the playoffs.

Edmonton’s season has been a bit of a roller coaster: Evander Kane missed a significant number of games due to a laceration on his hand, the Oilers’ defense has been abysmal, and major off season acquisition Jack Campbell has been—until recently—a catastrophic disaster in net. Campbell, to his credit, has turned it around since the calendar flipped; he’s won his last seven starts in a row with a .920 save percentage. Still, not the season you want from a goalie in the first of a five year, $5 million AAV contract on a capped out team.

For the Flyers, the return from the All Star break started with disappointment. One noticeable adjustment in the Islanders match was the shuffling of lines—both offense and defense. Ristolainen rejoined Travis Sanheim on the second pair, sending Tony DeAngelo down to the third pair, and the forward lines were completely reworked. It’ll be interesting to see whether John Tortorella stays the course with these new line combinations, reverts to the pre-All Star lines, or shuffles them up once more against the Oilers.

Puck drop is at the Farg at 7 p.m. It’s 2010s throwback night, which means all of the throwbacks are from 2010—the last time the Flyers were relevant.

Players to Watch - Trade Targets Edition

Ivan Provorov

It’s no secret that Provorov’s had a rough couple seasons, and that both him and management are coming to terms with the idea that a change of scenery would likely be in his best interests. One of those teams he’d be a good fit on? Edmonton. Darnell Nurse has struggled this season, and the Oilers need a guy that could vie for that top pair slot. Plus, Provy’s likely cheaper than prying Jakob Chychrun away from the Coyotes. It’s anybody’s guess, however, whether a Provorov trade would happen before the deadline or in the off season—and whether his stunt on Pride night has diminished his value.

Nick Seeler

Nick Seeler’s been putting together a surprisingly good season. If you pay attention to plus-minus, his +/- is 5 on a shockingly bad Flyers defense, and his fancy stats aren’t too shabby when compared to other NHL defensemen. He’s a perfectly cromulent third pair defenseman with a year left on his two-way contract at league minimum, but at 29 he’s not a part of a future Flyers contender. Seeler’s likely too under the radar to be an actual deadline target for playoff teams, but ya never know.

James van Riemsdyk

JvR is obviously the biggest trade deadline target the Flyers have to offer, and he’s been linked to the Minnesota Wild. He has 21 points in 32 games (several missed to injury), and is a solid veteran depth scorer for a contender with power play utility “in his office” in front of the net. What kind of return he could net is up in the air, but playoff bound teams are certainly interested in what JvR can bring. Expect him to be the first out the door by the deadline, as the Flyers have some young talent they’re likely to give NHL ice time as the season winds down.

Patrick Brown

Contenders love gritty depth players, and they could do a lot worse than Brown. He can play either wing or center, and has a respectable face-off percentage that teams might value during penalty kills and offensive zone draws. The Flyers have a lot of young depth players they (presumably) want on the NHL roster to close out the season, so if a team’s willing to throw a late round pick at the Flyers for Brown, he’s as good as gone.