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February 14, 2023

Flyers trade rumors: Interest in James van Riemsdyk, Nick Seeler heating up

With the March 3 deadline approaching, NHL insiders discussed trade interest in the Flyers' James van Riemsdyk, Nick Seeler, and Travis Konecny on the "32 Thoughts" podcast.

With the March 3 NHL trade deadline looming, rumors are gaining traction, players are getting healthy scratched in anticipation of deals, and in some cases – like Bo Horvat to the Islanders and Vladimir Tarasenko to the Rangers – major deals have already been pushed through. 

But all has been mostly quiet on the Flyers' front so far, though it may not stay that way for long. 

Seven points out from the last playoff spot in the East – steep ones at that – and with a letter recently sent to season ticket holders acknowledging that this season is no longer the organization's endgame, the Flyers are expected to be sellers ahead of the deadline and perhaps one of the more curious ones in the NHL with several names drawing interest. 

Veteran winger James van Riemsdyk is on an expiring contract and has been an obvious trade target from before the season even began. He's been valuable to the team, both as a leader and mentor to its younger players – Joel Farabee, Owen Tippett, Noah Cates, etc. – and as a bigger net-front presence who can still put up points from cleaning up rebounds or redirecting shots.

But other teams value that type of role too, especially ones looking at the postseason, and van Riemsdyk has been well aware of the reality of the situation.

"Try not to get too wrapped up into it because ultimately you don't want to take anything away from ... there's a job to be done and we're trying to claw our way back into the playoffs," he said last week (via NBC Sports Philly's Jordan Hall). "But realistically, I'm not naive, I've been around, I've played for a few years now. You know when you're in the last year of your deal and you're kind of in the situation as we're at as a team right now, that things can happen."

And there is plenty of interest. 

On the latest "32 Thoughts" podcast uploaded Monday, league insiders Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek named the Winnipeg Jets, Minnesota Wild, and Vegas Golden Knights – each in the thick of the playoff hunt out West – as the three main teams looking into van Riemsdyk. 

Vegas especially, Friedman said, is expected to be aggressive in going after a forward with their captain Mark Stone out indefinitely from back surgery and dissatisfaction lingering from missing the playoffs last year. 

Said Friedman

"I don't think you should be surprised about [Vegas general manager Kelly McCrimmon at all...They have a lot of cash free here – or cap free here – all of a sudden, right? I think he's gonna do something. I don't think he's just gonna sit there and not use it. They won't have Stone back for the regular season and they were already looking for depth forwards anyway. I think Vegas is going to be a team to watch, whether it's the St. Louis guys – [Ryan O'Reilly], [Ivan Barbashev,] [Noel Acciari] – whether it's van Riemsdyk, whether it's [Chicago's Patrick Kane], I think Vegas is gonna do something here. 


"So I think they go for it. I think they will, especially after missing the playoffs last year. I don't think there's any doubt in my mind that they're looking to add, and I think they're willing to be creative in what they've lost in Stone." [32 Thoughts]

Friedman also threw out defenseman Nick Seeler as another name on the Flyers other teams might have eyes on.

He's only a third-pairing defenseman, but one who plays a tough game on a very affordable contract (his cap hit is just $775,000 for this season and next). And again, for that role – a hard-skating and affordable depth defenseman – playoffs teams do find value in that, which may give the Flyers more leverage in a deal than most would initially think, especially for a player that they do like. At the same time, however, that line of thinking could push teams looking for defensive help elsewhere. 

Said Friedman and Marek:

Marek: "I like Nick Seeler. I am of the belief that teams have called about Nick Seeler, but for all those reasons you laid out about why other teams would want him, that's probably why Philly wants to keep him, and I think a lot of it is the price tag. Like what a great team – like if you're Philadelphia, and it's gonna sound weird because we're talking about a sixth or seventh defenseman here, 'you're gonna really have to knock our socks off.'"

Friedman: "Yeah, why would you do that? Why would you?"

Marek: If I'm Philly, I'm like 'Yeah, thanks, but no thanks. Unless you're really gonna overpay, no way. I wanna keep Nick Seeler.'" [32 Thoughts]

The possibility of Travis Konecny getting moved was discussed as well. 

The 25-year-old winger, who's been the Flyers' best player by far this season in a massive bounce-back year, is still relatively young, under contract for two more years beyond this season, and, as a top-six forward, could likely fetch a favorable return of picks and/or prospects for a team that looks to finally be leaning toward a rebuild. 

The chances of that, however, seem slim, at least to Friedman. 

"I know people have wondered if they're gonna move him, and he's really struggling, at least production-wise, but [head coach John Tortorella] paid him a really big compliment the other day about how hard he's playing," Friedman said on the podcast. "I heard Philly said to someone like 'Why would we do that? He's signed for three years, we need players, you have to get people in your building.' I think they said 'You really have to make it worth our while for us to consider it.'"

Have to wait and see if anyone does. 

The trade deadline is March 3 at 3 p.m. ET.

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