The Philadelphia Flyers buying and pushing for a playoff berth would be like.. driving 100mph to Starbucks, getting pulled over for a speeding ticket, not having enough money for that Frap you desperately wanted and in the end settling for a crappy Gas Station coffee. The reward just doesn’t equal the risk!
Flyers Are Sellers
Get those silly “Trade Giroux!” scenarios out of your head because doing that would be dumb. Brayden Schenn? Well maybe, but let’s not talk about that today. As Flyer fans we should be expecting Hextall to deal, but probably not on a huge scale. The most likely trades will include Unrestricted Free Agents at season’s end, and the Flyers have plenty.
Defensemen Mark Streit, Michael Del Zotto, and Nick Schultz
Where Hextall could make his biggest score is dealing 1 or 2 of these guys. The market for veteran defensemen who can fill a small role in a playoff push is huge. Just yesterday morning the Penguins dealt a 2nd Round pick and AHL farmhand Danny Kristo to the Hurricanes for veteran blueliner Ron Hainsey. That’s as good a jumping off point as any.
*Gilbert’s stats for 2014-16 hasn’t played much for LA. Stats via Puckalytics
Hainsey is pretty much smack-dab in the middle of this chart in terms of total points scored. That’s a result of him playing WAY too much for a developing Carolina team, but those points gave the Canes some leverage. Ron sits between Streit and Del Zotto which is generally where I might slot him if I was just picking based on reputation alone.
At the top of the chart is the infamous Kris Russell. Russell has never really been fantastic. But he caught a ride on that really lucky Calgary Flames team when they went against all probabilities and made the playoffs in 2015. As a result when the Flames started to flounder the season after they were able to sell BIG. They received replacement level defenseman Jyrki Jokipakka + former 2nd Round pick and good WHL forward at the time Brett Pollock + conditional 2nd Rounder. That conditional pick actually rounded up (!) if the Stars made the conference finals.. they weren’t far off losing in the quarters.
Streit’s Proposed Market Value
Streit still drives play effectively. He’s not what he once was, but given a mid-pairing role he could help out. The Flyers have been average to pretty bad over the last 2 seasons, but Streit’s stat line continues to hold at a decent clip. Given that the top of this chart isn’t far off the middle a package for Mark will probably be something in between Russell’s package and Hainsey’s package.
Photo via Frank Fimmano
It’s also worth mentioning at this point that John-Michael Liles went for a Prospect + 3rd + 5th, and Michael Stone (whom I might consider the best on this list) went for a 3rd + conditional 5th (if he re-signs in Calgary). Stone may work out really well for Calgary, and what they gave up is pretty negligible. For the Flyers sake we’ll err on the side of the earlier 2nd Rounder + extras.
Del Zotto’s / Schultz’s Proposed Market Value
MDZ has had a bit of a rough time in Philly after his resurgence a few years back. His value could be all over the place to be honest. He might be desired by teams struggling to find a Powerplay specialist, or the market might dry completely. I doubt he gets a 2nd Rounder, but maybe a 3rd? It’s possible, but so is a 4th.
Schultz at this point is kind of a throw-away similar to Gilbert. Barely playing in the NHL, but might be a 6th/7th defenseman for a playoff bound team. Anything for Nick Schultz would be acceptable. That conditional 5th Round pick looks perfect.
Forwards Bellemare and Vandevelde
They won’t be worth a whole lot, but forwards P.E. Bellemare, and Chris Vandevelde are UFAs at season’s end. They’re noted as being Coach Hakstol favourites so he might have a say in both being kept and re-signed this offseason.
The truth is they’re both replacement level NHLers. Meaning the Flyers could probably call up their top AHL forwards (Leier, Miele, Carey, etc.) and not notice a whole lot of difference in level of play. Playoff bound teams love to stock up on a few fringe checkers though, so they may have a market.
Stats via Puckalytics
The Predators jumped on the depth-checking-forward bandwagon earlier in 2017. They picked up Cody McLeod for prospect Felix Girard (former 4th Rounder) and Vernon Fiddler for a 4th Round pick. So.. I guess a checker is worth a 4th Round pick. Case closed.
Goaltenders Mason and Neuvirth
Both have been pretty crap all season. Just when it looks like one of them is going to turn the corner they slip up again. Their poor play doesn’t really bode well for trade returns, but historically both have been good NHL goalies. It might be in the Flyers’ best interest to deal one now, recoup some picks, and sign the other immediately.
There were 2 instances of starting calibre goaltenders being traded last offseason. The Leafs picked up Frederik Andersen from the Ducks for a late 1st Rounder (30th) and a 2nd Rounder while the Flames received Brian Elliott for a 2nd Rounder and a Conditional 3rd (I think this is a ‘if he re-signs’ pick).
Stats via Puckalytics
Immediately jumping off the page is Mason’s sub par Win %. It’s tough to blame him for all those losses, but something like that will have a negative impact on value. Neuvirth at least cracked 51% although he would’ve faced much lesser competition than Mason in the back-up role.
Mason’s 5v5 Save % compares well with Elliott and Andersen and that’s what really counts. As you can see Mason was the most victimized of the 4 receiving the least defensive and offensive support in terms of shots against (SA60) and shots for (SF60). Popular opinion will often overlook that fact.
This will probably come down to the market on either guy. Mason might be harder to move because most playoff teams have a starting goalie. That’s why Elliott and Andersen were both offseason acquisitions, the teams had more time to plan a package and subsequent roster beyond that. If I were the Flyers and looking to rent Mason I’d like a 2nd + 3rd like the Elliott deal. However that might not be on the table at the deadline.
Neuvirth might be worth less, but moving him would definitely be easier as a back-up or even a 3rd-stringer as insurance. Maybe a 3rd + 4th or something like that would be palatable to a team like the Capitals who want to make a run right now.