Going End to End today are NBC Sports Philadelphia's John Boruk and Jordan Hall.
The question: Who is the Flyers' next trade chip?
So far, general manager Chuck Fletcher has been the butcher with a meat cleaver, trimming the fat from the Flyers' roster by parting away with players who don't seem to fit into the GM's future plans. Fletcher has found takers for Jordan Weal, Taylor Leier, Dale Weise and Christian Folin — a quartet of players who had fallen out of favor within the organization.
Aside from the obvious decision surrounding Wayne Simmonds — and I believe he will be moved before the Feb. 25 trade deadline — there are some other interesting names that could surface and be on the move, as well.
I’ve touched on impending free agent Michael Raffl, a relatively inexpensive depth forward who plays big and provides an extra body on the penalty kill. With a cap hit of $2.35 million, most teams won’t have to negotiate their way around the salary cap to fit Raffl onto their roster.
But if there’s a potential trade to be made within the next week, there are some decisions looming around the goaltending position. Teams know that with Brian Elliott close to returning, the Flyers will be looking to place Mike McKenna on waivers. McKenna has been claimed once (by the Flyers) and the guy he replaced, Calvin Pickard, was claimed by Arizona.
For teams desperate for goalie depth, then I wouldn’t be surprised if another team took a proactive move and offered up a seventh-rounder rather than crossing its fingers, hoping a goalie might fall to it through the waiver process.
With the Stars losing Ben Bishop a week ago and the Coyotes playing without Antti Raanta for much of this season, there are two potential playoff teams who could be looking for experience and depth at the goaltending position, as well. One reason to play Elliott once he’s completed his conditioning stint with the Phantoms is to see if there’s a market for the 33-year-old goalie with 45 postseason games under his belt.
Playoff experience is valuable and difficult to find and if there’s a team willing to take a chance on Elliott’s recent injury history, then a late-round pick is not much to give up for a veteran goalie capable of winning a few postseason games.
Part of me believes we could see another defenseman on the move, which would open up a spot in the lineup for prospect Philippe Myers (see story).
Radko Gudas comes to mind because he's played extremely well this season and would be a nice bottom-pair addition for a contending team looking for depth, physicality and reliability on the back end. The 28-year-old can become an unrestricted free agent after 2019-20 and his contract is reasonable ($3.35 million cap hit, $2.5 million base salary next season).
However, Raffl is such an intriguing piece for buying teams when considering the factors, which makes him the next most likely trade chip.
The 30-year-old is a power forward with an excellent hockey IQ, a player who utilizes his size for great puck possession, kills penalties, can play up and down the lineup and has 19 games of postseason experience. Add the fact that he's an impending UFA with a cap hit of just $2.35 million, and it simply makes sense for suitors and Fletcher, who is eyeing next season just as much as this one.
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