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February 26, 2019

What they're saying: Did the Flyers get enough in return for Wayne Simmonds?

Flyers NHL

Typically, when the team with which you just made a trade is being praised from all sides, that's not a good sign for your club. And that's exactly what's happening today with regards to the Flyers and the Predators, who made a deal just before Monday's NHL Trade Deadline. 

The Flyers sent veteran forward Wayne Simmonds to Nashville for Ryan Hartman and a conditional fourth-round pick, which is not nearly what GM Chuck Fletcher was hoping to net in return for one of his most desirable trade chips. 

Unfortunately for the Flyers, there wasn't much they could do about the haul — other than opt to stand pat, of course — because the market for forwards like Simmonds had been previously set. It's part of the reason ESPN's Emily Kaplan and Greg Wyshynski lumped every team selling forwards at the deadline under the "Losers" category of their deadline winners and losers post.

What happened to all of those first-round picks who were going to move on the rental market? Just three of them moved unconditionally. As one source said, "This year was really dicey for some reason ... everyone wanted to hang on to their picks."

That was never more evident than on deadline day itself, as the presumably high-ticket rentals like Wayne Simmonds, Derick Brassard and Marcus Johansson all went for less than expected. Kudos to the Senators, Rangers and Red Wings for getting ahead of that market depression and getting value back before the clock struck Monday.  []

Interestingly enough, nearly every site out there — including ESPN, CBS Sports, Yahoo!, and even SportsNet up in Canada — listed the Predators as a deadline winner. The Flyers? Not so much. But, hey, at least all those sites didn't list them as a loser.

With that in mind, let's take a look at some Flyers grades for Fletcher's first deadline at the helm (and more) in today's edition of What They're Saying... 

Nothing to C here

Emily Kaplan | ESPN+

We already know that ESPN listed the Predators as one of their winners, so before we get to the Flyers side of things, let's look at what the Predators gave up. Emily rewarded the Predators with a B-plus for this deal by giving up a guy that by all accounts had quickly worn out his welcome in Nashville.

Hartman is a loss only because of the high price the Predators paid for him last season (a first-round pick and a very strong prospect in Victor Ejdsell). He wasn't a liability for the Predators, but the offensive upside wasn't what it was projected to be. Hartman was going to be a career third- or fourth-liner for them, so it was smart to cut ties, even if it meant admitting a past mistake.  []

The Flyers, meanwhile, got a C for their part in this trade:

The return is less than expected. Though Philadelphia might have hoped for a first-round pick in return, Simmonds' so-so production this season -- and his non-production over the Flyers' past two playoff series -- dropped the price. (Simmonds also had some trade protection, which limited their options). The Flyers should have at least secured a second-rounder, though, or even a third. The silver lining? The fourth-rounder should become a third-rounder, barring a Predators' upset in the first round of the playoffs. But it would be better to have that secure.

Ryan Hartman is a first-round pick of the Chicago Blackhawks' who plays with an edge. He's only 24 and already has 226 games of NHL experience, but he's not a big offensive producer, averaging only 0.19 goals and 0.31 points per game. He'll plug in on a middle line for the Flyers, but his upside is probably not what the Predators projected it to be around this time last year.  []

Another subpar grade

Scott Burnside | The Athletic

Over at The Athletic, the Flyers get the second worst grade in their division. The only one worse was Islanders, who stood pat at the deadline (when they should have been buyers) and received a C-minus.

Deadline Grade: C

It took until late in the going but Philadelphia GM Chuck Fletcher finally found a deal he could live with for popular winger Wayne Simmonds. The return was less than inspiring as Philadelphia came away with Ryan Hartman and a fourth-round pick in 2020, which will become a third-round pick if the Predators win at least one playoff round this spring. If the Predators don’t, it will be a major setback but even then the return for a player with Simmonds’ unique set of skill and brawn is less than expected. Hartman is a bottom-six forward who can agitate but has shown limited upside after scoring 19 times in Chicago in 2016-17. He is just 24 years old, so perhaps Philadelphia is where he gets it together.  []

It's not great, but... 

Brandon Schlager | Sporting News

... at least it's slightly better than the first two grades.

To no one's surprise, the Predators and GM David Poile undoubtedly were in the mix for Artemi Panarin and Mark Stone. And while those blockbusters never materialized, Poile did manage to turn Kevin Fiala and Ryan Hartman into Mikael Granlund and Wayne Simmonds. Not bad.

More on Granlund below. But Simmonds, 30, was one of the deadline's most sought-after rental forwards for a reason. With 16 goals, he packs offensive punch Nashville needs for the playoff run and can boost a power play that ranks dead last in the NHL (12.6 percent).

Hartman, 24, was a nice acquisition at last year's deadline, but he hadn't carved out much of a role offensively for the Preds. The draft pick gets bumped to a 2020 third-round pick if Nashville wins one round in the 2018-19 playoffs. It's a price Poile was more than willing to pay. 

Predators: B+

Flyers: B  []

So why make the deal?

John Boruk | NBC Sports Philadelphia

The Flyers general manager met with the Philly media on Monday following the Simmonds trade and explained why they ultimately felt this was their best option. Once again, a lot of it had to do with the market set earlier in the day by other trades. 

The Flyers received an underwhelming return of forward Ryan Hartman and a 2020 fourth-round pick, which becomes a third-rounder if the Predators win one round in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. 

Fletcher rejected any previous reports that Simmonds turned down a trade as part of his 12-team no-trade clause. There was an expectation that a Simmonds deal could return at least a second-round choice and a top-quality prospect, but Fletcher was looking for someone who could step in and contribute right away.

“We have an awful lot of prospects,” Fletcher said. “We have an awful lot of picks and there were opportunities to get multi-pick packages, but for the Flyers right now to add a 24-year-old first-round pick, I think we’re getting a young player with upside who can fit into our room and plays a gritty game.” ...

“This was a crazy market this year,” Fletcher said. “There were more forwards available this year than previous years, so if you were a team that was buying, you had a lot of different options. We exhausted every avenue, made every call. We were weighing a couple calls in the end and for us this trade made the most sense.”  []

They like it in Nashville

Joe Rexrode | The Tennessean

As we said at the top, when one side seems overjoyed with the trade they just made, that probably doesn't bode well for the other team involved. In this case, that was the Flyers. I think it's safe to say the Predators "won" this trade... 

It is a better team now after a pair of Poile deals that broke in the last half hour before Monday’s trading deadline. Good enough? We shall see. The Predators weren't the only Western Conference contender that upgraded Monday. The Predators’ fate still largely rests on a lot of proven guys rediscovering their best games – and on the power play, which has stunk all season, stinking less in the spring.

But Poile did work. He sent Kevin Fiala to Minnesota for Mikael Granlund, a swap of top-six forwards that will leave it to Granlund to help revive the Predators’ second line. And at the last second, he got bruising forward Wayne Simmonds from Philadelphia for forward Ryan Hartman and a fourth-round pick (a third-round pick if the Predators win a playoff series this spring) in 2020.

From a long-term perspective, I love what Poile did here. It looked like Philly wasn’t going to be able to ship Simmonds, and that’s when the price starts dropping. Poile made the deal without having to use a high pick or prospect. (It also provides a re-do of sorts on the overpaying Poile did a year ago by sending a first-round pick to Chicago for Hartman).  []

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