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April 12, 2021

NHL trade deadline recap: Flyers trade away Erik Gustafsson, Michael Raffl

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Michael_Raffl_01132021_Flyers_Pens_Frese.jpg Kate Frese/for PhillyVoice

Flyers forward Michael Raffl.

UPDATE [3:15 p.m.] — And there's the big one.

The Flyers are reportedly trading away Michael Raffl, a deal that got in just before the deadline passed and was actually reported after 3 p.m.

Interestingly, the team is sending Raffl to division foes the Capitals, a sign of contrition for a team that was very hopeful for a playoff spot when the season began. The team will add a 5th rounder for an expiring asset — not bad.

The deal opens up an every day role for a young winger, era likely Tanner Laczynski. Raffl was set to see his contract expire at the end of the year and the Flyers obviously expected he would walk in free agency anyway.

UPDATE [2:45 p.m.] The Flyers are sellers.

A mere 15 minutes before the deadline, Philly sounds like it found a taker for their lone free agent acquisition this past summer, defenseman Erik Gustafsson.

Brought in to bring some offense and to fill the shoes of retired Matt Niskanen, Gustafsson was disappointing on the ice and quickly fell out of favor as the Flyers defense, frankly stunk. When skating, he had 10 points (one goal) in 24 games as a part of the team's shuffling blue line.

The D-man will head to Montreal, in exchange for a 7th round pick. The team will reportedly split his salary with the Canadians.

Will there be another move close to the deadline? Stay tuned...

UPDATE [1:30 p.m.] — It appears that Scott Laughton will remain a Flyer, if you believe some reporting from NHL insider Darren Dreger. 

The future of the winger was murky with his contract set to expire, and many teams interested in his services. Ultimately it sounds as though the team will keep him for the long term. With more than an hour left before the deadline passes, the team still could make a sizable move. Stay tuned.

UPDATE [10:20 a.m.] — As things head up with the deadline a mere hours away, the Flyers are reportedly doing some deep thinking on forward Scott Laughton.

Laughton is set to become a free agent this summer and has 17 points so far this season through 38 games. He is 26, and has never scored more than .55 points per game in a season — and has played more than 70 games in a (full) season only three times since entering the league in 2012.

From earlier...

After surrendering an early 2-0 lead, the Flyers — desperate to hang around for a playoff spot in the Eastern Division — jumped ahead 3-2 after a Shayne Gostisbehere goal in the third period Sunday against the lowly Sabres.

With the NHL trade deadline looming, a win Sunday would have put the Flyers just two points out of the final playoff spot. The win could have been enough to make a case for the team to at least stand pat, if not add a piece, before the Monday deadline. 

But, as has become routine this season, the Flyers allowed three unanswered goals in the game's final four minutes and fell back into sixth place in the division. According to Money Puck, Philly has less than a 10% chance of making the postseason. 

Would you trade away assets to try and make a push this spring based on what you've seen on the ice lately?

The Flyers likely won't, and their loss adds to the chances that standing pat may not be good enough. Several household names have been the subject of trade rumors over the last few weeks, like Scott Laughton, Nolan Patrick, Michael Raffl and Goshisbehere.

Will the Flyers stand pat prior to the 3 p.m deadline, hoping that their roster as currently constructed can make a push in the season's final 15 games? They will need to pass the Rangers, with whom they are tied in the standings and play two more times, and the Bruins, who are four points ahead and hold two games in hand (and who they do not play again). It's a tall task, but the Flyers certainly have overcome worse. 

The team also could be wise to take this opportunity to gain some future assets while getting rid of players unlikely to re-sign here, as well as to open playing time for youngsters in the AHL.

Teams in the East have already been making small upgrades, while the Devils have started selling:

Devils3rd round pick (for Jonas Siegenthaler)
PenguinsJeff Carter (for two conditional picks) 
BruinsMike Rilley (for '22 3rd round pick)
IslandersBraydon Coburn (for '22 7th round pick) 

Whatever they do, we'll keep tabs on it right here all day long with updates and with our live NHL trade deadline tracker just below.

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