Photo credit: Amy Irvin (38Photography)
Sitting 10 points out of a playoff spot with 31 games to play, the Flyers chances of making the playoffs are slim to none. As such, with less than a month to go before the trade deadline, the Flyers should be attempting to sell anything that isn’t nailed down in an attempt to reacquire talent and reload for next season. As such, it’s important to establish what the trade value is for any potential rental the Flyers may sell.
Nick Grossmann is a known commodity at this point. He’s big, slow moving, defenseman. Defenders like him dominated the trap era of the 90s however, 10 years after the NHL unveiled new rules to promote scoring, Grossmann like defenders are on their way out in favor of smaller, more agile players like future Flyer hopefuls Shayne Gostisbehere and Travis Sanheim.
That said, not all teams have moved away from Grossmann types, Doug Murray stuck around the NHL for over 500 games and in fact was traded for as a rental by several playoff teams.
Mark Stuart was given a multi-year extension by the Jets and Bryce Salvador was named Captain of the New Jersey Devils despite all having similar concerns with regards to hockey skill.
Brooks Orpik was handed a huge UFA deal by the Capitals despite all advances-stat followers pleas to not signing him.
So, what’s the value of Nick Grossmann?
Well, Doug Murray was dealt from San Jose to Pittsburgh for two round two picks in 2012. Bryce Salvador was traded for goon Cam Janssen in 2008. Mark Stuart was traded from Boston with Blake Wheeler to Atlanta for Rich Peverley and Boris Valabik.
This leaves Grossmann as being able to acquire a wide range of returns. If Hextall is lucky, he pulls the Doug Murray return for him. Grossmann goes out the Flyers get two second round picks from a team for him. Given the depth of this draft, Hextall might be better off asking for a 2nd and third in 2015 for him. But a third rounder in 2015 and 2nd in 2016 wouldn’t be a bad return either.
He could go the Salvador route and take on an AHL player for anyone for him as well. This would be useful in terms of clearing cap space for any potential extensions or other trades the Flyers may go with.
Or, Hextall could add Grossmann with another player as part of another deal. Could Hextall throw Grossmann with Scott Laughton in a deal that lands the much maligned but highly talented Evander Kane? Possibly; it all depends on how Kevin Chevaldayoff views Evander Kane’s off ice issues in relation to his hockey talent.
Could Grossmann be dealt with Laughton and one of the defense prospects for Ryan O’Reilly? Possibly, if Joe Sakic feels like he can’t do better for O’Reilly and can’t sign him. That said, a bidding war for Ryan O’Reilly like starts with Laughton and Travis Sanheim or Sam Morin.
Given that NHL teams are buying more into analytics; the Grossmann trade market centers around a Salvador type deal. A team that knows it needs to rebuild, but needs to clear the cap floor, could send a career AHLer making league minimum for Grossmann straight up. Maybe the Arizona Coyotes give up a random AHLer for Grossmann to hang around their blue line next season while they wait for Max Domi to develop into a future superstar.
Maybe the Carolina Hurricanes realize they can’t out themselves from Eric Staal or Cam Ward and realize they need to throw in the towel for a few seasons and use Grossmann to help.
In the case of Grossmann, the Flyers shouldn’t be picky, the first team that offers anything of substance for him should get him. Grossmann’s value comes from not being around next season so Robert Hagg or Sam Morin can step into his spot and begin the youth movement on defense.
Grossmann’s not a rental for a Cup hopeful team; it’s hard to imagine a contender going for him, but if a team is looking to tank in 2016 and needs to reach the floor, he does serve that purpose and deals like that are common place in the NBA.