So, it’s been a while since we’ve projected prospects or looked at rentals, but with the Flyers in a playoff position and with a decent chance to hold on, we’re going to look at how the Flyers should play the deadline as buyers or sellers. Today, we’re going to look at what to do with Valtteri Filppula.
Stats via Hockey-Reference
As the above possession metrics show, Filppula’s negative Relative Corsi show that he is a drag on possession and given his age, it’s unlikely he finds his game. His 102 PDO is propped up heavily a 94 On-Ice SV% which is likely due to regress. As such, his recent drop from second line center to fourth line center is extremely warranted.
Via Hockey Viz
His With or Without You chart shows that Filppula is a drag on just about every player he plays with. As such, the Flyers have no real need to keep him.
At age 33 and coming into a contract year, trading Filppula for a mid round pick or a B level prospect is most certainly the best course of action for the Flyers, however finding a taker for him may be difficult.
Obviously the Flyers would be better off dropping the Dale Weise or Jori Lehtera contracts, but those two players would be harder sells as their deals still have term left.
On a more positive note, the Flyers could probably still get useful minutes out of Filppula by keeping him in a fourth line role. Even though he’s not the player he used to be, he’s still far better than former WonderTwin Chris VandeVelde.
Via Own the Puck
In short, if the trade market for a depth forward existed, Filppula fits the bill, however, unless the Flyers are 100% certain that one of Oskar Lindblom, Mike Vecchione, or Nicolas Aube-Kubel is better, they should just keep Filppula and let him walk as an unrestricted free agent in July.
The good news is, by relying on Filppula less and letting Nolan Patrick and Scott Laughton eat bigger minutes, the negative impact of Filppula will be minimized.