February 24, 2019
The 2019 NHL Trade Deadline is now less than 24 hours away, and that could mean changes are in short order for the Philadelphia Flyers.
Sitting seven points out of the playoffs with just 20 games to go, the Flyers are expected to be sellers, if anything. And the big name being thrown out there for the Orange and Black is veteran forward Wayne Simmonds, who very well played his last game with the team on Saturday after spending eight seasons with Philly.
What could the Flyers get back in exchange for Simmonds, who seems to have no shortage of suitors? Who might those suitors be? And what other players could general manager Chuck Fletcher decide to move ahead of Monday's 3 p.m. deadline?
We'll try to answer all those burning questions in today's Flyers trade deadline edition of What They're Saying...
After a few trades were made last week, Simmonds has climbed TSN's Trade Bait chart and now sits at No. 2 behind Ottawa's Matt Stone. According to former Flyers beat writer Frank Seravalli, now a columnist for TSN, the Flyers are more than likely going to be dealing Simmonds before the deadline, and given the number of teams reportedly in the market for a player of his type, could get a pretty nice return.
Two things could keep Simmonds in Philadelphia: a last-minute tug at the heartstrings by Fletcher to forego free agency with a team-friendly deal, or trade offers that only net secondary assets in return.
In that case, Fletcher has vowed to keep Simmonds for the final push.
But the belief is that Simmonds, even with a less productive 16-goal season and recent injury history, could still bring back a conditional first-round pick and a prospect.
The Tampa Bay Lightning were one of the first teams to contact Fletcher about Simmonds in January. He would add bite to a stacked Lightning team that many believe got pushed around by the heavier Capitals in last year’s Eastern Conference Final.
They are one of a handful of teams to express significant interest. Simmonds holds a 12-team, no-trade clause and the Flyers want to make sure one of their all-time fan favourites finds a comfortable landing spot after eight years of exemplary service. [tsn.ca]
There are said to be more than a half a dozen suitors for Simmonds, including Peter Laviolette and the Nashville Predators — not to mention Eastern Conference teams like the aforementioned Lightning, as well as the Bruins and Maple Leafs.
But there's also significant interest from some of the top teams out West...
Now, it appears Simmonds’ potential suitors are coming into focus.
“I think you’re going to see some teams start pushing for him,” Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman said Saturday during Hockey Night in Canada‘s ‘Headlines’ segment. “San Jose, Calgary and Winnipeg — if Philadelphia feels (a) it wants to make the deal, and (b) is sufficiently out of the playoffs, to do it too.”
The three Western Conference titans mentioned all look set for lengthy playoff runs, with the trio holding the top three spots in the conference. Calgary is currently the West’s No. 1 club with 83 points on the season, while San Jose is second with 80, followed closely by Winnipeg at 78. [sportsnet.ca]
Simmonds has been the name everyone's been talking about, but could there be other Flyers dealt before Monday's deadline passes? After all, Fletcher did say last month that the only untouchable player was captain Claude Giroux.
This might sound crazy, but the Flyers also could deal Nolan Patrick. They have two veteran centers in Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier signed through 2022-2023, which hinders Patrick’s ability to move up on the depth chart. General manager Chuck Fletcher has said Giroux is going nowhere. He could the same for Couturier, who is just 26 and has a team-friendly deal.
Also, the Flyers have a stud prospect in Morgan Frost moving up the ranks in juniors. Frost might make the team next season and force Patrick to move to the wing where he is not fully comfortable...
The Flyers would get back a haul for Patrick, who is seen to have much more value than what his production is showing. They could potentially be getting back a first-round pick and an NHL ready player, including some cap relief. [mcall.com]
Beyond Patrick, there are other Flyers who could have new homes come Monday, although there hasn't been a ton of chatter about either recently...
There’s a lot of smoke surrounding defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere right now. TSN analyst Bob McKenzie told a Montreal radio station last month that Ghost could be moved if the price is right. There’s a handful of teams looking to improve their power play and he can certainly add that element.
Forward Michael Raffl is in the final year of his contract and could provide depth and versatility at a very manageable salary. [nbcsports.com]
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