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BSH Roundtable: Predicting the Flyers’ trade deadline

Photo Credit: Heather Barry

Welcome to a Broad Street Hockey roundtable. This week, we asked our staff to answer some questions related to the trade deadline.

Note: This was written before a potential Nick Seeler extension.

What players could you realistically see the Flyers trading before March 8?

Steve: Sean Walker is the obvious name. Nick Seeler and Scott Laughton are on that list too. That’s it for realistically. I want Rasmus Ristolainen to be moved, but I just don’t see it happening. The hockey gods have been more favorable this season, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Jason MN: Nick Seeler, Marc Staal, Sean Walker.

Thomas: Like Steve said, Sean Walker is the easiest one to bet on. Outside of that, it does feel increasingly likely that at least one of Scott Laughton, Nick Seeler, and Marc Staal gets moved. But I just feel in my bones that general manager Danny Briere is going to make a hockey trade of some sort, swapping out a player like Yegor Zamula or Ronnie Attard to get a young(ish) center with the same amount of upside.

Jacob: As previously mentioned, Sean Walker just makes too much sense not to trade. He is having his best season as an NHLer, and has completely revamped his career in Philly directly before being scheduled to hit free agency. Walker will want, and deserves, the paycheque he has worked years to obtain. The Flyers seem unlikely, especially  in their current state, to foot that bill. He is a perfect complimentary piece to a potential playoff blueline, and a true contender will more than likely take a swing at the Keswick, Ontario native. Besides Walker, Nick Seeler could also serve a similar role, although his value around the league isn’t as high. 

Joe D: It’s Walker, Seeler and probably Staal. I’ve written previously that any trade of Laughton and Ristolainen should wait until the off season, barring an enormous offer akin to what Nashville got for Tanner Jeannot last season.

Matt: I mean, Walker and Seeler are the obvious ones, but to add a little spice I’m going to throw in Morgan Frost. He’ll be some teams Plan D when A through C falls apart; their “move to make a move” move.

Justin: Not only are Nick Seeler and Sean Walker the “big” two, but they’re really the only two. If the value is worthwhile Marc Staal will be in that conversation too, but at this point there’s no real reason to trade players like Scott Laughton, Garnet Hathaway, etc. that have multiple seasons left on their contracts. If the offer is right, you explore it, but the Flyers are a playoff team and you’re probably not getting better value now than you are in a few months.

Where do you want to see Sean Walker traded to?

Steve: As with any talented player, out of our conference. It doesn’t really matter too much if he gets traded somewhere like Tampa Bay, but I like the guy and don’t want to see TK have to insult his mother too harshly if they potentially match up in the postseason

Jason MN: anywhere where a first round pick comes back, ideally Edmonton where you get a first and Brett Kulak back, giving the Flyers at least something that can be used for the stretch. 

Thomas: Sean Walker won’t realistically have some damage against the Flyers, even if they face each other in the first round of the playoffs. But it would be fun for a fan base like the Canucks to get the solid, two-way, right-handed blueliner that they have been searching for since the dawn of time.

Jacob: Walker could find a very comfortable fit running a power play in Toronto, complimenting some high level offensive talent and giving the Maple Leafs some more depth on their back end. In addition, it would allow for more responsibility to be lifted from Morgan Rielly, keeping him fresh for another playoff run. And from a Flyers standpoint, it could provide them a chance to acquire a player like Nick Robertson in return.

Joe D: “I’ve been banging the Dallas drum for months now: they have a dire need for defensemen, especially right shots who can play in the top four so that Miro Heiskanen can move back to his natural side and knock Ryan Suter down (or out) of the depth chart. The Stars have assets, too, and while the Logan Stankoven ship may have sailed (he’s killing it in his first few NHL games), they have some intriguing prospects alongside their draft capital. As a bonus, the Stars aren’t in the Flyers’ conference!” – I wrote all this before the Chris Tanev trade went down. The dream is dead. Forgive me, readers.

Matt: This doesn’t really matter to me, so I guess for his sake the answer is “to a team that goes deep into the playoffs” and for the Flyers’ sake I think the answer is “to a team that will pay the highest price for him.”

Justin: In terms of making things work, I think the Edmonton Oilers are the perfect match. The Flyers have a few good AHL options that can replace someone like Sean Walker on the defense while Rasmus Ristolainen and Jamie Drysdale heal from their injuries, but you’d much rather have an NHL defenseman. Someone like Cody Ceci, who makes $3.25 million on his deal through 2024-25, makes a lot of sense. It makes the money work both ways, the Flyers can get a first from Edmonton, and Ceci has played second-pairing minutes this season. There’s a stigma around him, but he can be serviceable at that spot. In a third-pairing role, he might even be good. That’s probably the perfect scenario, plus it gives them a defenseman under contract for next season.

Make one bold prediction about the Flyers’ trade deadline

Steve: The Flyers replace Cal Petersen as backup tendy. Petersen is cooked and Briere will feel like he owes it to the crew to keep them competitive as he does a little bit of selling. I could see Danny B making a move to bring in a solid guy to back up the Son of Ers. This is as bold as I am willing to be at this time, and, yes, I am aware that this is Taco Bell mild sauce.

Jason MN: Flyers make trade with Rangers to get Kaapo Kakko, not sure what goes where but that is the return. Another reclamation project. 

Thomas: A hockey trade that involves a young defenseman for a young center isn’t bold enough, in my opinion. I think my bold prediction has to be that one of the young prospects currently in the AHL absolutely shocks us how ready they are. There will be holes that need to be filled on this roster and someone like Samu Tuomaala or Emil Andrae will come up, make their NHL debut, and be a reliable contributor for the rest of the season.

Jacob: I think there’s been too much speculation recently for this deadline to pass without the Flyers acquiring a roster player in some way. Whether it be part of a return for a Walker/Laughton type, or at the expense of a late round pick, it just seems as if the front office will in some way reward the players for overachieving so much.

Joe D: The Flyers get a major prospect/younger player as part of the return. Kakko’s the right idea by Jason, but I don’t really see any Flyers fitting the Rangers’ needs. Mavrik Bourque in Dallas, for example, or Brad Lambert in Winnipeg’s system–those are the kinds of names one might expect.

Matt: I’m going to go as bold as possible: Flyers swing another trade with Anaheim, this time for Trevor Zegras and they also get Robert Hagg back as part of the trade. No idea what’s going the other way. Maybe the Florida pick, maybe some of the Flyers trade targets that Anaheim will then flip to someone else for more picks, who knows.

Justin: The Flyers go all out and acquire Anton Lundell, a 22-year-old third-line center, from the Florida Panthers. Back in his rookie season in 2021-22, he seemed untouchable. Playing with star forward Sam Reinhart frequently did wonders for his game. But he has since regressed in terms of offensive production, and pretty significantly at that. He’s still scoring around half a point per game, though. The Panthers are trying to win a Stanley Cup. His contract expires next season, making him a potentially expensive RFA. Florida might not want to spend big dollars on him, especially with Reinhart, Brandon Montour, Gustav Forsling, and other players on expiring contracts. It might cost a fortune, but getting a player of his caliber who could likely be a top-six center if all goes well is worthwhile. That will always be worthwhile. And it would be cheaper than getting someone like Trevor Zegras, surely.

Outside of the Flyers, what team do you think is going to make the biggest splash?

Steve: The Devils feel like they really want to get back into the thick of things. There were big expectations for that team that have been completely derailed. I’d also keep my eye on Vegas, since that franchise is nuts and always willing to do some crazy things at the deadline.

Jason MN: Pittsburgh because Dubas is barmy and believes his team can still turn it on. 

Thomas: I think the Edmonton Oilers are really going to try and make this season worthwhile. They are with a new coach and still have that fresh voice willing them to be one of the best teams in the league since Kris Knoblauch took over. With the fact that they need depth scoring badly and a defenseman to solidify their blue line, as well as trying to not waste another year of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, they are going to do something wild.

Joe D: No doubt it’s going to be a Western Conference team–it’s just a question of, “which one?” Vancouver and Winnipeg have already made big moves, and I think Vancouver might make another one because they have so few players (defensemen, in particular) under contract next year–plus the ongoing peculiarity of Elias Pettersson not being signed yet. It’s win now time. I can also see Dallas–who generally plays the deadline rather cool–making a big push while their twilight players are still productive.

I think the Penguins will be aggressively shuffling deck chairs this deadline. With Jake Guentzel in a lot of rumors it seems as if the Pens will take a much different shape come next season. But I believe Kyle Dubas will still add some tertiary pieces in the hopes that it can spark anything at all for a team that is aging rapidly in a lot of key positions. 

Justin: For me, the simple answer to this is whoever gets Jake Guentzel. And to me, the Vegas Golden Knights might want to go out and get him. They looked unstoppable early on in the season, but injuries and just an overall decline in play has hurt them badly. It’s so bad that they’re losing to teams like the Columbus Blue Jackets (and convincingly so). Something has to change for them. They have the cap space to make getting him work, and he would completely change the outlook of their team. In terms of star talent, I see him as someone in the Travis Konecny tier of players. He’s below a superstar, sure, but he could turn a team heading in the wrong direction into a Stanley Cup favorite. I think Vegas should explore that, and I think they will.

Matt: How about Arizona? Not in the sense that they are going to acquire the best player, but they’re going to make a bunch of little splashes here and there that all add up to a busy deadline. A Matt Dumba trade here, a third-team-in-a-two-team trade there, maybe a Jeff Zucker, maybe they get a strong prospect somewhere along the way.

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