Should the Philadelphia Flyers make a move at the deadline?

With the first trade deadline approaching before the Olympic break, trade rumors are swirling in the NHL.

One team certainly looking to make a deal is the Philadelphia Flyers.

The Flyers are 26-23-6 on the season, and 3-5-2 in their last 10 games. For a team with the amount of talent that Philadelphia has, these numbers are simply unacceptable.

With players like Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek, Wayne Simmonds, Steve Downie and Matt Read entering the prime of their careers, along with the help of young stars Brayden Schenn and Sean Couturier, and crafty veterans Scott Hartnell and Vincent Lecavalier, the future is certainly bright on offense.

philadelphia flyers

Chris Pronger

But where the light has shone brightest in years past, it has been depressingly dim on the defense and in net, with the exception of a healthy Chris Pronger.

*A moment of silence for our fallen brother.

Since Pronger’s last days playing, the defense has lacked a presence that any competitive team needs to become a serious threat.

Kimmo Timonen has been a fantastic Flyer, and probably the best defenseman the team has had since Pronger’s departure, but his age is beginning to show, and he can’t carry as large of a load anymore.

Young talent in Luke Schenn was added to hopefully evolve into the next star defenseman for the Flyers, but even though he has showed promise in the past, he is beginning to look like a bust. Through 52 games played this season, Schenn has only seven points, and a +/- rating of -4. To really understand how poor that is, defenseman Erik Gustafsson has played in 29 fewer games than Schenn, but still has nine points and a +/- rating of 8. This also begs the question, why is Gustafsson a healthy scratch on a regular basis?

A premier netminder is another want for the Flyers. Steve Mason and Ray Emery have been the duo this year, and at times they have been incredible. But more recently, their play has struggled.

In Mason’s last five games, he’s allowed 15 goals (GAA of 3.00), a save percentage of .876, and has been pulled twice. However, these numbers aren’t entirely his fault. See Dan King’s article for a more in-depth look at why: http://isportsweb.com/2014/01/31/philadelphia-flyers-screw-goalies/

So where do the Flyers look as the trade deadline rapidly approaches?

It certainly won’t be for a goaltender, as Mason was just resigned to a 3-year, $12.3M deal. So defense will be the area GM Paul Holmgren looks to improve.

According to CapGeek.com, the Flyers currently have around $2.9M in cap space to deal with at the moment. Depending if a move is made, and who it is made with, it’s enough room to make a run at top-notch blue-liner.

But is this the right time to make a move? Here’s why the answer is no:

philadelphia flyers

Kimmo Timonen (Photo credit: USA Today Images)

This offseason will see the end of Kimmo Timonen and Andrej Meszaros’s contracts. Timonen will most likely retire. The 38-year-old has been fighting with this question for a few years, and now that his production is on a downward slope, now seems like a better time then ever to call it quits.

Meszaros has been a headache for the team since his arrival. When he isn’t dealing with an injury, he is performing well under the expectations of someone making $4M/year.

The two combined account for $10M/year, a healthy portion of the team’s salary cap.

There are no top blue-liners who are unrestricted free agents (UFA) this offseason, but P.K. Subban is a restricted free agent (RFA), and someone the Flyers should absolutely make a run for. However, it’s tough to picture the Montreal Canadiens letting one of the NHL’s top defenseman go. So even if the Flyers offer him a max deal, Montreal is likely to match it, much like what happened with Shea Weber not too long ago.

The Flyers have the ability to make a move in the offseason without losing any young talent, or other key pieces. But it’s more than likely they won’t be able to acquire anyone without making a trade.

They should focus on clearing some cap room in the offseason, resign Brayden Schenn, whose contract is up, and other younger minor league talent, and look to free agency to add another piece to the lineup. Then they should look to make a trade for a premier defensive talent.

But all Paul Holmgren should be thinking is how he can get his hands on Subban, because his play style is Flyer’s hockey in a nutshell.

The window for a Stanley Cup is just beginning, so there is no rush to win right now, although fans should expect to be competitive. As long as Mason can play to the level he has proven to be capable of, this team is just missing that one piece they have long been searching for.

HartnellDown Tracker: Scott currently sits at 194 HartnellDown’s for the season.

  • Ryan

    I also disagree with you on Andrej Meszaros “who has been a headache for the Flyers since he arrived”…..?

    I mean sure he tore his ACHILLES 62 games into the 11-12 season, and didnt’ have much time to get back for the 48 game schedule last season, thus why he hurt his shoulder….

    However, prior to that injury, he was our BEST defender during the season we were in…. not to mention he was coming off the season in which he was OUR BEST DEFENDER(Barry Ashbee Award for Flyers Defensive MVP) during his first full season with us.

    People think he is injury prone and I dobut most people realize that he’s only 27 years old because ifyou pay attention to hockey he has been in the league since he was 18 as one of the top prospects in the game for OTT.

    Before his Achilles injury…. Previous 6 seasons only had one season where he missed more than 3 games…. thats 5 of 6 seasons where he played 80,80,82,79,82 games…..

    Thats not exactly statistics of a guy who is “injury prone”…. as if its so easy to come back from an achilles injury when you can’t even skate to stay in shape…

    The guy deserves more ice time and a chance… you can see him getting back to where he was just a little closer every game. He, if given the opportunity, would lead this team in defensive points. And I’d much rather see HIM on the top PP unit than Timonen or Streit.

    I think the flyers shoudl resign him, because he has been a healthy scratch, most other teams won’t even look at him and you can sign him for cheap.
    If you get Mez at 2.5 mil, that’s a steal because we have seen the Mez that has played to the capability of his 4 mil dollar contract if not overachieved in the past, and he is only 27 yrs of age and needs more CONSISTENT ice time to get back to the 50 point defender he can be. Hopefully Berube recognizes that… then you will have Coburn, Grossmann, Schenn, Streit, and Mez all here and you can use your remaining money to go after a role playing defender who you HOPEFULLY dont overpay for… and maybe resign guys like Gus and hopefully the guys you drafted (Morin and Haage) are improving like we had hoped and can contribute at the NHL level in the next 2-3 years.

    You can’t get water from a rock…. if its not out there to get, you have to do the best you can to make it work with what you got, or trade someone of value on the offensive side for some defensive help which is tough to do right now when you really put a lot of stock into Brayden Schenn and Sean Couturier as being a part of the teams future…

  • Ryan

    I mean we all agree the team’s need is defensive help… but you have a couple problems that you didn’t address which any intelligent individual who knows the game of hockey would consider when talking about making a move at the deadline…

    1st of all… look at the list of UFA defense for next season. Nothing great, very few options and more than likely some of the better options on that list could resign with their teams prior to the start of FA anyway.

    So you look to trade… but who do you give up for quality defense? You say you want to resign brayden schenn, and myself and most PHI would agree… but if you want good return, you gotta give up something solid. Having Giroux, Voracek, Simmonds, Read, Lecavalier, Couts, and Hartnell who has a NTC for the next 2 years(everyone but Coots actually has 3+), you have a solid top 7 in line, plus you probably can resign Raffl for relatively cheap….

    It would be great to be able to trade Hartnell or Vinny but both have NTCs and I doubt they are going anywhere… Coots has way too much upside and some may be disappointed but I still see a lot of room for growth from the physical standpoint and would love to see what he can do with a little more speed and strength he will gain over the next 1-3 years.

    So basically the only tradeable players(without taking steps backwards) are Brayden Schenn, Matt Read and Steve Downie who I would let walk at the end of the year anyhow.(I’d much rather Simon Gagne playing a 3rd line role with read and coots at 2.9 mil than Downie who brings nothing but stupid penalties to this team.)

    Matt Read only makes 900k this season, so it would be tougher to trade him in season because moving him doesn’t clear up much space for whoever you bring in… not to mention he is definitely one of the most important penalty killers and shut down line guys for this team and that is essential for any club.

    Downie won’t get you much, but I might throw him into a trade to a team that could use him as a rental for the rest of this season along with the other assets we would be giving up as well.

    So that leaves Brayden Schenn… who I still think is going to be a good player in this league, but I think the perception of Brayden Schenn as a top young player in the league will get you more in a trade, probably even more than brayden schenn is even worth.

    I’d like to see Brayden Schenn, Coburn and some picks for a top defender… but only if the talent is elite and worth giving up schenn. Coburn might make a team feel like they are at least getting a descent defender in return at a young age to replace any defender we get, and if there is a team lacking grit and has the salary cap space, throw in Downie in place of a pick.

    Don’t forget about Scotty Laughton who is having another good year in the OHL and played top line for Canada Juniors… Flyers are deep at Center(especialy if they resign Schenn) with G, Vinny, Coots… so throwing him into a trade could add some value as well.

    Point is… options are limited but PHI fans are still gonna give homer a hard time. And REALISTICALLY, you won’t see any crazy move before the deadline because I really think Homer likes his top 8 or 9 forwards and for once I agree with him and wouldnt’ make a move involving them unless it included top tier defensive talent.

    As hard as it is to say, I will be happy to see Timonen go next season based on his play this season, but I know his leadership and smart play will be missed, however it doesn’t outweigh his mistakes and inability to make up for mistakes like he could in the past.

    Personally… I want to see the flyers NOT make a trade(again unless its for Shea Weber, Shattenkirk, Petrieangelo, Karlsson, Subban…. but definitely NOT BYFGULIEN.

    Resign Schenn and Raffl. Salary cap moves to 71 mil next season leaving the flyers with plenty of room to do that and more(not to mention Prongers LTIR of 5 mil that inevitably will come off as well that isn’t considered in pre-calculations of salary space the flyers will have)

    • DJ

      During your tirade you said to do basically everything I stated in the article, with the exception of Meszaros. If they can sign Mez for cheap, do it, otherwise he doesn’t deserve a contract because when he is healthy he hasn’t played very well. He has had a better season than seasons past, but it still isn’t worth spending over 2M on.

      As an unintelligent individual who knows nothing about hockey, as you implied I was, you said I forgot to mention the lack of defensive talent who are UFA. Let me point you to this quote in the article: “There are no top blue-liners who are unrestricted free agents (UFA) this offseason.” So yes, that was mentioned.

      I do agree with you on some points though. Brayden Schenn is most likely the only player who could be traded, along with a pick(s) and maybe another piece, who teams would be willing to give up. I also agree Byfgulien is not the answer, and no moves should be made for him.

      The point of the article is why the Flyers wouldn’t/shouldn’t make a move. Please re-read it to understand.