Flyers

Why Erik Karlsson to the Flyers could make sense

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Why Erik Karlsson to the Flyers could make sense

The Ottawa Senators are just a dumpster fire and will continue to be one until owner Eugene Melnyk sells the club.

Senators fans deserve better than the dysfunction taking place in Canada's capital city. If you need to catch up, start here.

All caught up? Good. Erik Karlsson's time as a Senator appears to be limited by hours and perhaps days. If you're a Sens fan, that's a painful sentence to read. I'm sorry.

There are two reports that matter. The first from NBC Sports' Kathryn Tappen.

And the second from the New York Post's Larry Brooks.

Now before we move forward, the Flyers have not been linked to Karlsson in the ridiculous amount of trade speculation that has spun around the internet since last season began.

But many did not foresee Flyers general manager Ron Hextall coming out swinging in free agency by signing James van Riemsdyk. Hextall announced that his process is ramping up.

As NBCSports.com's Joey Alfieri writes, "Philadelphia has plenty of quality prospects at their disposal and the roster is young enough that they can afford to move some of them away."

With that, let's take a closer look at why Karlsson to the Flyers isn't as crazy as it sounds but remains improbable.

Why it makes sense

For starters, players like Karlsson don't become available very often and this summer, two superstars have been or are available. The first star was John Tavares, who was an unrestricted free agent before he signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Tavares handpicked the six teams he was interested in: the Islanders, Lightning, Maple Leafs, Sharks, Bruins and Stars. The Flyers were not on the list, but it wasn't because they didn't want to be.

Hextall made that clear last Friday, saying "we would have liked to have been in there." It's Hextall's duty as general manager to explore all options. Of course, he called Tavares. And he'll likely ping Senators GM Pierre Dorion about Karlsson.

Even with signing JVR, the Flyers still have money to spend. Hextall said Sunday that he doesn't envision signing a center and will continue to monitor the market for a defenseman but doesn't want to go term on the players who are available.

Look at the free-agent crop and you can't blame Hextall for not wanting to overpay for mediocre defensemen who will only block Travis Sanheim, Philippe Myers and Samuel Morin.

Karlsson is a totally different animal. He's an elite defenseman, a five-time NHL All-Star and a two-time James Norris Memorial Trophy winner. He's averaged 0.83 points per game throughout his career, ninth-most ever by defensemen. The next closest active player is P.K. Subban, who averages 0.65 points per game. Karlsson is pretty, pretty, pretty good at hockey.

Last season, Karlsson registered 53 assists and 62 points in 71 games for an 0.87 points-per-game clip on an atrocious Sens team. At 28 years old and even with some serious injuries in his career, he hasn't shown any signs of losing his offensive gifts.

For the Flyers, it's worth poking around. Karlsson carries a $6.5 million cap hit for 2018-19. For argument's sake, let's say the Flyers acquire Karlsson, they'd have about $8.2 million in cap space without taking into account players going the other way.

The point is, they have money to spend and fitting Karlsson in would not be a problem. As for Karlsson's extension, because any acquiring team would want to sign him first, that's a bridge to cross down the road.

Ivan Provorov has a major extension coming his way and Travis Konecny has a raise on the way too. Nolan Patrick's entry-level contract isn't that far away from expiring. But that's why the Flyers have people in charge of the cap.

They have money to spend and adding Karlsson into the mix, without subtracting too much from the current roster, would elevate the Flyers into a Stanley Cup contender now.

Why it probably won't happen

Trading for Karlsson would require a king's ransom and while Hextall did show he's willing and capable of striking big in free agency, trading away top prospects is a different story.

Hextall has built up one of the strongest farm systems in the league and has enough assets to start selling off. It's also why it would make sense for the Flyers to be in on Karlsson. They have the prospect pool to land Karlsson in a trade.

But Hextall builds through drafting and developing. Signing van Riemsdyk doesn't change Hextall's philosophy. Rather, it just affirms that he's willing to go big-game hunting when he deems it to make sense.

If — and this is a big if — the Flyers could negotiate an extension with Karlsson, then we have to consider the asking price. We don't know what Dorion is seeking for Karlsson, but you'd have to think it begins with at least one young, impact NHL player, a high-end prospect and significant draft picks. You'd think a competent organization would ask for, say, Konecny and either Sanheim or Shayne Gostisbehere plus a prospect and at least one first-round pick for Karlsson.

Ottawa isn't exactly competent, but the price would be a lot. Would Hextall be willing to give up Konecny, Sanheim or Gostisbehere plus a prospect and picks for Karlsson? That remains to be seen. I'd steer clear from that bet.

But the Flyers trading for Karlsson isn't that insane of a thought. Right now, though, it's just that.

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Podcast: Jim Jackson, Marc Zumoff, Tom McCarthy talk careers in sports, and more

Podcast: Jim Jackson, Marc Zumoff, Tom McCarthy talk careers in sports, and more

On a brand new, cross-sports podcast, Philadelphia's play-by-play broadcasters Jim Jackson, Marc Zumoff, and Tom McCarthy sat down this week to reminisce about their careers, chat about the future, and plenty more.

Here's a segment-by-segment rundown of the show:

0:40 - Personal appearance during the stay-at-home orders.

4:47 - Listening to their own broadcasts.

9:10 - Managing long seasons.

12:35 - Selling radio.

14:48 - Mount Rushmore of broadcasters.

29:01 - First job in the business.

35:24 - How they became the play-by-by broadcaster for the Flyers, Phillies, and Sixers.

43:38 - Optimism in the face of COVID-19.

You can listen to the full episode, in all its glory, below.

Subscribe and rate Phillies Talk: Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Spotify | Stitcher | Art19 | YouTube

Subscribe and rate Sixers Talk: Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Spotify | Stitcher | Art19 | YouTube

Subscribe and rate Flyers Talk: Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Spotify | Stitcher | Art19 | YouTube

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

Because of coronavirus outbreak, James van Riemsdyk sees possible 'unique opportunity' for NHL playoffs

Because of coronavirus outbreak, James van Riemsdyk sees possible 'unique opportunity' for NHL playoffs

There always seem to be the people out there pleading for the NHL to become more marketable, more fun, more appealing.

If there's a silver lining to the suspension and uncertainty of the 2019-20 season amid the coronavirus outbreak, it could be the doors opening for some experimentation by the league.

Wednesday morning saw the calendar flip to April. The 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs were originally scheduled to start April 8. Nobody knows when or if they'll begin. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the NHL has been out of commission since March 12 and on Tuesday extended its isolation period to April 15.

Every NHL team has at least 11 games left on its regular-season schedule. The Flyers, who are a point behind the Metropolitan Division-leading Capitals, have 13 games left.

With each passing day, the hopes of finishing the 2019-20 season in full weaken.

"That’s been the hardest part, for not only us but I feel like everyone in the world — there’s all this uncertainty around everything," James van Riemsdyk, the Flyers' NHLPA representative, said Tuesday night in a conference call. "It’d be nice to be like, ‘You know what, you sit at home for a month and then everything will go back to normal.’ I think that would obviously be a lot easier for everyone to handle than these daily to weekly updates on stuff and you’re kind of still unsure about what’s going to go on. A lot of people feel like, I’m sure, just running in place right now trying to stay busy and keep yourself in shape.”

Will the NHL find a way to drastically change its plan throughout the summer to play 2019-20 in its entirety? Should the league ax the remainder of the regular season and jump right into the playoffs? Could the postseason format change? Is the season going to resume at all?

A veteran of 11 seasons, van Riemsdyk knows all options will be on the table.

"I’d like to think we’ll find a way, but ultimately we want to guarantee the safety of everyone involved whether that’s players, staff, fans, families — we don’t want to do anything at the expense of any of that," van Riemsdyk said. "This is a way bigger issue than sports.”

He sees the NHL's predicament as a possible tryout opportunity for the league.

“Ultimately it’s going to come down to timing and how we can fit everything in," van Riemsdyk said. "In a perfect world, you’d like to finish the regular season and play it out as it may and go from there. But if some of those timeframes become a little bit too shortened where we can’t fit that in, it kind of creates a unique opportunity, in my opinion, to maybe try something a little bit unique with the playoff structure.

"I know that’s been talked about in the last couple of years especially is try to maybe add some more teams to it. If we’re in a situation like we are this year, it’s basically a free chance to try something a little bit outside the box maybe and see what might work.

"We’ll cross those bridges when we get there as far as time-wise and when we’re able to start things up and how that might look.”

Sixteen of the NHL's 31 teams qualify for the postseason. Each round features a best-of-seven series. The NHL playoffs have always been must-see entertainment. They could be a whole lot more fun, for all viewers, with a look that will be different to everybody. After all, 2019-20 has now become much different than other seasons in the past.

“If it gets to the point where we don’t have enough time to play out the regular season, which I’m sure everyone obviously would like to do," van Riemsdyk said, "then we can be more creative in the sense of trying something a little bit outside the box with the playoff structure potentially.”

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

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