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The latest on Konecny, Laughton, Walker, and Ristolainen

Photo Credit: Heather Barry

Jeff Marek and Elliote Friedman hosted a Flyers-heavy episode of 32 Thoughts: The Podcast today, providing some insight into the goings-on in Philadelphia. Some key takeaways:

Travis Konecny

Following his first period Gordie Howe hat-trick in just 4:08 minutes of ice time, it sounds like the Flyers are engaged in early negotiations with the 26-year-forward for a long-term extension. Although they can’t put pen to paper until July 1, there’s nothing preventing them from talking numbers until then. Friedman believes this is high on the team’s to-do list:

“I think that the Flyers and Konecny are talking about this extension. I believe they’ve made it a priority, and they’re gonna try to get it done. It’s gonna be a big number, I don’t know yet where we’re going here…but I believe the Flyers want to make sure that this guy is a lifetime Flyer, and I understand he’s receptive to it.”

How high that number goes will be intriguing, and it may honestly depend on how he and the Flyers finish out the season. He’s on pace for 38 goals, which would be a career high. It’s not unreasonable to speculate the deal could be in the 8 year, $8 million per range, perhaps even closer to $9 million.

Scott Laughton

Scotty’s days as a Flyer could very well be numbered. The center market is razor thin, and, while the Flyers are not exactly eager to move him, the potential return could be too good to pass up. Laughton is an essential part of the team’s locker-room and has been the only player deemed worthy of a letter in the Tortorella era. But his production has dropped and his ice time is down.

“I think there’s definitely a realization here that it might be time. And people are looking for centers, look at what people are trading for centers.”

Sean Walker & Rasmus Ristolainen

Jeff Marek believes there’s a solid chance that the Flyers elect to hold onto Sean Walker, but there is significant interest around the league. John Tortorella shared some thoughts on Walker following today’s practice.

If they don’t move on from Walker, expect Ristolainen to be the odd-man out; however, some teams are concerned about the fit, both from a hockey and salary perspective, Friedman said.

“The issue is the contract, that’s number one. So if a team wanted him and the Flyers wanted to trade him, there would have to be a lot of willing to bend both ways. The Flyers would have to agree to eat, but the Flyers would also ask more to eat.”

On the ice, though Ristolainen has had an unexpected turn-around season, teams are hesitant to believe he’d have the same success outside of Philly and away from assistant coach Brad Shaw. Tortorella’s system has allowed Risto to flourish in a more sheltered role, and it’s not certain he’d be able to slot right into a new system. Friedman noted that teams may opt to explore a trade in the summer, rather than at the deadline, to give the defenseman ample time to acclimate himself.

The NHL trade deadline is on Friday, March 8.

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