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January 21, 2016

What they’re saying: The Flyers are ‘in the mix’ for a Jonathan Drouin trade

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It’s safe to say that the Jonathan Drouin situation is not going well in Tampa (Syracuse, actually). By now, you likely know the deal with the third overall pick in the 2013 NHL Draft: Drouin, a 20-year-old forward with a ton of raw talent who is still on an entry-level contract, formally requested a trade from the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Lightning sent Drouin down to the AHL on January 2nd, and after a couple of weeks in the minors, he decided that he had enough on Wednesday:

As a result, the Lightning suspended Drouin without pay. Let the trade rumors keep flying!

Tampa Bay general manager Steve Yzerman is in an interesting position. With every new act of defiance, you would imagine that Drouin’s trade value continues to drop. This is a bold move by Drouin, because Yzerman doesn’t really have to trade him. He is under team control for quite a long time, after all:

If Yzerman does decide to swing a deal, guess who TSN’s Frank Seravalli says could be on the other end?

A handful of teams believed to be in the mix to land Drouin included the Anaheim Ducks, Nashville Predators, St. Louis Blues, Montreal Canadiens and Philadelphia Flyers.

The question is obviously what Drouin would cost. It’s hard to imagine Ron Hextall parting with any of the Flyers’ top prospects, and that is probably what Yzerman is seeking in return. Even if the Flyers aren’t ultimately a fit, stay tuned on the Drouin trade rumors.

Other Flyers news, notes and analysis from around the web:

30 Thoughts: Elliotte Friedman, Sportsnet

Friedman has notes on a couple of recent Flyers. First, here is what Kings coach Daryl Sutter said about Vincent Lecavalier’s final stand. In his first six games with Los Angeles, Vinny has four points:

But what really stood out were the morning skates the two times LA and Philadelphia met this season. Lecavalier did not play in either, but “he was working his ass off to stay in the league,” Sutter said. “It reminds me of bringing Denis Savard back to Chicago (in 1995). He was a depth guy, but he was great around the team and embraced it.

On a less feel-good note, Scott Hartnell was benched recently in Columbus by John Tortorella:

He took two minors last week in Toronto, got an earful, then set up Alexander Wennberg’s game-winner. Saturday, he got into a verbal joust with the Avalanche rather than changing, leading to a too-many-men call. He was benched, and apologized in front of the team at Monday’s practice. Tortorella praised that move, and we’ll see if the worst is over.

The Philadelphia Flyers might have the best goaltending in the NHL: Charlie O’Connor, Broad Street Hockey

O’Connor starts the article by mentioning the goaltending metric in the tweet below, which tries to account for shot location. It’s not perfect (no hockey metric is), but I like the idea of what Nick Mercadante is trying to do here. A save from point-blank range should count for more than one on a shot from the point:

Anyway, the Flyers grade out at the very top because both of their goaltenders have been rock solid. The Lundqvists of the world do well in the metric, but their backups don’t have numbers that approach Neuvirth’s. Savvy signing by Ron Hextall in the offseason:

A deeper look into the numbers reveals the answer. Neuvirth actually leads the entire NHL in save percentage with a 0.936 in 19 games. And Mason's even strength performance (which 5v5 adjGSAA/60 measures) is near the top of the league charts as well. It's been his poor performance while shorthanded that has deflated Mason's unadjusted statistics. But what really has rocketed the Flyers up the rankings has been the fact that both starter and backup are dominating at even strength.

The NBCSN crew showed the Flyers prospects a lot of love last night: CJ Burns, Sons of Penn

Here is video of Pierre McGuire and co. gushing over the Flyers system on Sunday night’s national broadcast from Motown. When Pierre mentioned the recent Travis Konecny trade, it marked the first time that I actually knew what he was talking about with this stuff:

Penguins situation shaky as they prepare for another Flyers loss at home: Gene Collier, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The title really says it all.

In case you missed it at PhillyVoice

1.    The Flyers’ loss to the Maple Leafs on Tuesday night was disappointing in more ways than one.

2.    After said disappointing loss, Dave Hakstol is looking to make changes to the lineup. Could we perhaps see Jordan Weal take R.J. Umberger’s spot?

Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann