(Photo Credit: Frank Fimmano)
The trade deadline is next Monday and it kicks gluteus maximus.
Ahh yes, trade deadline day is always entertaining. It’s a magical day in which Adam Oates, Dennis Gauthier, and Nicklas Grossman became Flyers. All kidding aside, this is a day that I look forward to every year because just like July 1st, there is at least a few deals that get done that blow me away (for better or worse).
However, trade deadline day is going to become less and less interesting as long as the CBA continues to foster tanking. Case in point, the Maple Leafs are fudging up the 29th for everyone by making deals before the big dance. On one hand, we lose entertainment value at the deadline, on the other, we gain an idea as to what the market will be.
Whether you agree with it or not, the Leafs have set the starting price for a top-6 defensemen at a second round draft pick. Which is exciting as crap if you’re a Flyers fan!
It’s even more exciting when you think about the prospect of teams like the Leafs who need veterans and have the ability to take on bad contracts, i.e., Andrew McDonald. But at $5.5M a clip through 2020, I don’t see anyone taking on that albatross. I do, however, believe that it is completely realistic to expect someone to take on Mark Streit’s $5.25M for one more year, and it’s super duper realistic believable that someone will take on Nick Schultz’s $2.25M for the same.
If you’re keeping score at home, the Flyers have two 2nd round picks currently (the additional coming from CHI in the Timonen Trade). So, if Schultz and Streit get dealt, it would be reasonable to expect the Flyers to have four 2nd round picks!
Four 2nd picks sounds amazing and all but what is the value of one 2nd rounder?
Well, the last two Flyer 2nd selections were, Nicolas Aube-Kubel who is currently tearing up the QMJHL with 75 points through 50 games, and Robert Haag who I believe is a bust. Beyond that, if you take a look at all of the 2nd round picks over the last 10 years, you begin to realize that the Flyers should absolutely trade for as many of their crappy players for 2nd round picks as possible.
Of the 300 2nd round selections made since 2006, (very liberally) 60 of them became regular NHLers. I know what you’re thinking, 20% aren’t exactly convincing odds to do anything. But when you look at that 20% more closely, you see names like: P.K. Subban, Ryan O’Reilly, Tomas Tatar, Milan Lucic, Tyler Toffoli, Jake Allen, and Justin Faulk.
Sure, for every Brandon Saad in this list there are 5 Theo Ruths, but we all know that the draft is far from a perfect science.
Then of course, there is the long con of stock piling second round picks – trade bait.
Let’s put it this way, do you think the Flyers move up to get Travis Konecny without an extra 2nd to deal to Toronto? This is especially relevant because this year’s draft is on the weaker side. That being said, if in some way the Flyers do end up with four 2nd round picks I don’t believe they should be traded to move up in the drat unless you’re moving up to get (another) top ten pick.
If the Flyers end up with four 2nd round picks, they should be used to acquire depth forwards and reliable bottom pairing defensemen. It’s not sexy, but we need players like Jared Spurgeon and Andrew Desjardins. Top-end talent isn’t this teams problem. Every team has top-end guys to neutralize everyone else’s top-end guys. Wins and championships aren’t necessarily won with your bottom-6 forwards or your 5th and 6th defensemen, rather a team can do themselves a huge service by making sure that these guys aren’t loosing you games. Lack of depth is the reason why the Penguins have squandered some of the most productive years of all-world talents Crosby and Malkin. Lack of depth is the reason why the Blackhawks beat the Flyers in the 2010 Stanley Cup because all they had to do was break even against our top two D-pairings and just roll Lukas Krajicek and Ryan Parent.
Acquiring depth guys at the deadline won’t blow-up the Twitters but think of it this way: The Penguins didn’t win the Marian Hossa trade because they got Marian Hossa. They won the trade because they got Pascal Dupuis as a “throw-in” guy.
With the current workings of the CBA, star talent will predominately come from the draft. Finding the guys who play the 40 minutes a night that your top line isn’t on the ice for is paramount. You can position yourself a whole better in the market place to get those guys with a pocket full of 2nd round picks, Mr. Hextall.