With the NHL deadline come and gone, let’s take a look back. The Flyers were one of the most talked about teams heading into the deadline. Even with a recent winning streak, Chuck Fletcher was deemed to be a seller, especially with the the Flyers’ highest odds of making the playoffs hovering around the 8% mark.
Flyers trade Wayne Simmonds to Nashville for Ryan Hartman and a conditional 4th round pick
Without a doubt, the Flyers’ biggest bargaining chip was Wayne Simmonds. In a new NHL that caters to smaller, skilled players, Simmonds is a unique talent. One of the NHL’s top power play producers over the past few seasons, Simmonds, as Flyers’ fans well know, has always played a rough and tumble style of hockey. He isn’t afraid to fight or stand up for his teammates. He is a modern day power forward.
Because of this, heading into the trade deadline, it seemed like most playoff teams really wanted to get their hands on Simmonds. Tampa Bay, Nashville, Toronto, Carolina, Boston, Calgary, San Jose, and Washington were all teams rumored to have interest. The market seemed ripe, but at first glance, Fletcher’s return for Simmonds from Nashville is underwhelming. And, if demand was as high as perceived, it seems that Fletcher may have errored in believing too much in this group and “giving them a chance” to possibly make the playoffs (even with a super low probability), and not get maximum return for Simmonds.
In this trade, the Flyers received a conditional 4th round pick in 2020 and Ryan Hartman. Hartman once had the projected upside of Simmonds perhaps. Drafted by the Blackhawks, he was dubbed a new age power forward as well. However, over the past two seasons, Hartman has really struggled to find his game. The Preds gave up a first round pick for Hartman last year and even scratched him in the playoffs. This season, Hartman was mostly used as a fourth-liner.
While he is still somewhat young, Hartman’s upside at this point seems like a third line winger at best, or a fourth line winger at worst. The conditional fourth-round pick, as most fourth-round picks do, has little value also. Good NHL players can be found in the fourth round, but they are far from a guarantee. Essentially, the Flyers traded Wayne Simmonds, a top six forward, for a fourth line winger and a conditional draft pick with little value.
If I were to grade this trade today, it would be a hard F. The Flyers received very little value in this trade and do not improve now or in the near future. Flyers fans might begin questioning the decision, as was rumored, that Fletcher held on to Simmonds as long as he could to give his team a chance. While this is admirable and Flyers fans got a great last taste of Simmonds in the outdoor game on Saturday, the underwhelming return on a player that has meant so much to this franchise is a glaring negative for the new Flyers GM in his early tenure.