(Photo credit: Amy Irvin, 38 Photography)
The Flyers trade deadline was a whole lot of nothing. The only in-season trade was back in January, when the Flyers shipped Vinny Lecavalier and Luke Schenn for Jordan Weal and a third round pick. And that is perfectly okay.
The Flyers are three points back of a playoff spot with 20 games to play as of March 1. It’s doable, especially if they take 6 points from Pittsburgh in the remaining head to head games. Of course, any major acquisition would have required major assets going the other way. Eric Staal was only going to the Rangers, Kris Russell isn’t good, so staying away from those players was a win for Hextall.
Not moving Medvedev was probably smart, given he was better than any other option out there, the issue with him isn’t talent, but misuse. He’s a strong possession defender who’s being benched due to a propensity for taking penalties. It’s the risk-reward of his style of play, but barring a trade for Jakub Kindl and subsequent Medvedev move, there was likely nothing to be done.
Michael Del Zotto’s season ending injury complicated matters further, especially on defense. If Streit or Medvedev was moved, the Flyers would be relying on regular minutes from Andrew MacDonald and Brandon Manning or a call up of Sam Morin or Davis Drewiske. With 20 games to play, the odds the Flyers would fall into serious lottery territory is unlikely.
When the market for Michael Raffl wasn’t favorable, Ron Hextall did the smart thing and extended Raffl for three years at a way cheaper than I thought 2.35M cap hit.
Further handcuffing Hextall’s ability to make any deadline moves was the inability to retain salary, with Luke Schenn, Grossmann and Lecavalier all retained, the Flyers have used up their 3 retained slots. Two spots will open up on July 1 when the Grossmann and Schenn deals expire and the third slot opens when Vinny retires.
This means Hextall can get busy over the summer moving the last year of the Streit deal and any other candidates he needs to move.
More importantly, the Calgary Flames moving Kris Russell opens up the possibility of Hextall moving Andrew MacDonald to Calgary for their 2017-expiry bad contracts.
With the move of Laughton to wing, and the emergence of Nick Cousins, the Flyers basically acquired forward depth via internal options. That said, if the price for Brandon Pirri was only a fifth round pick to outbid the Ducks, Hextall should have attempted to pull the trigger on that deal as Pirri’s scoring would not hurt the depth of the team.
Addressing the defense is where Hextall excelled. Kris Russell moved for an overpayment from Dallas. John-Michael Liles, while old and a bit fragile, is still a decent defender,
Via Own the Puck
A deal would have cost Goulbourne, a third and a fifth, if the assumption is that Carolina would have wanted the same package from Philly. Liles would have added much needed shot suppression to the Flyers defense, however, at age 35, he’d also be the second oldest member of the defense making him a pure rental. Assuming the Flyers intend to pursue Jonathan Drouin or another young superstar trade target at the draft, giving up assets for a rental would not make sense.
All in all, I give Hextall a B+ for his deadline. The Raffl extension is a grade A deal, but he didn’t do anything else. Obviously, he didn’t destroy the team’s prospects on rentals, but he also didn’t load up either. I’m taking points off for passing on Pirri more than anything. To me, an A+ day would have involved getting rid of MacDonald, but the B+ day is more than anything, a solid reflection of the confidence we should have in the future. Besides, with Paul Holmgren, we likely see Sanheim for Russell, so at least he avoided making major mistakes.