With the Flyers 14 points (yes, 14 points) out of a Wild Card spot, now seems like as good a time as any to evaluate what the Flyers might do in the coming weeks and month leading up to the NHL trade deadline. Because of the Flyers’ current situation, they find themselves in a “seller” position.
Let’s take a look at what the Flyers’ trade options might be for their current players.
Below is a list of who are most likely to be traded .
Simmonds is a soon to be free agent. He has historically been a power play specialist and power forward. Simmonds has had a bit of a rough year, and with his age and physical style of play, Simmonds seems to be a player in decline. The Flyers would do well to trade him while he still has some value instead of looking to re-sign him. Because of his past history and the notion that Simmonds plays a “playoff style” of hockey, many teams would likely line up to try and snatch him up. This bodes well for the Flyers, as they can create a potential bidding war for Simmonds.
There have been some rumored destinations for Simmonds in recent days. Teams like Nashville and Toronto (likely an untrue rumor in my opinion) have supposedly shown interest. The Flyers would do well in trading Simmonds to a “bubble” playoff team and try to secure a first round pick in the process. Teams like the Oilers, for example, seem to covet players like Simmonds.
Receiving a first round pick in return from a middle team could potentially yield a pick just outside the top 10. If, for some reason, the team makes the playoffs, then the Flyers would likely be picking a player in the 17-20 range. This would still be a decent pick in return. Teams in this range include the New York Islanders, Buffalo, San Jose, Dallas, Anaheim, and Edmonton. Buffalo has three first round picks in this year’s draft and are currently in a playoff position, so there might be a fit there as well.
Simmonds might not fetch more than a first round pick, but if he does, look for it to be a low-end roster player (bottom 6) or a middling prospect.
Raffl is a depth player that a team might find value in for a playoff run. Raffl is limited offensively, but he is still a solid bottom six forward. With the Flyers in a seemingly on-the-fly rebuild, they will likely look from within or to free agency to fill the gap left by him at the end of the season. Raffl is unlikely to fetch more than a third or fourth round pick, but for an expiring contract, it might be worth getting whatever you can for him at this point.
Laughton has been somewhat of a disappointment in his Flyers career. A former first round pick, Laughton was projected to be a two-way winger who could score. Some projections had him as high as a second line winger or a number two center. However, Laughton is pretty much cemented as a fourth line player, and his upside seems limited at this point. Because he is still considered young and has pedigree (a former first round pick), Laughton may get a similar return to Raffl (a third to fifth round pick). Not a great return, but nonetheless, something for a player that may benefit from a change of scenery.
Gudas’ play perpetually has mixed reviews. However, what is never questioned is Gudas’ hardnosed style and attitude. Many teams would covet Gudas’ services if the Flyers are willing to part with him. The Flyers could likely receive a 2nd round pick or similar value for Gudas, perhaps even more (like a low level prospect of sorts).
Load Up for the Draft
There is always the possibility that the Flyers could unload the expiring contract of Brian Elliott, if healthy, as well. However, Elliott’s value is extremely low, and his injury history makes it unlikely he would fetch much in return.
If the Flyers make these trades, there is a legit chance they could have upwards of 10 picks in the first five rounds of this year’s draft. This would go a long ways to adding more organizational depth and give the Flyers cap flexibility heading into free agency.