Chuck Fletcher won't close any doors in his first offseason as Flyers general manager.
"We're going to be active in trying to improve our team," the GM said two days after the Flyers' season ended in April. "How that translates this summer, we'll find out.
"I think we need to add a couple more proven players — I think we could add in any area. Clearly we need to find a goaltender to play with Carter [Hart]. Certainly a veteran defenseman could help. I think some help up front, as well. I think we score, but maybe finding another experienced guy that can help with that mindset — playing the right way, that could contribute both ways."
It's no secret the Flyers will look to utilize free agency in gearing up for a bounce-back year in 2019-20. It's also no secret the trade route is an avenue for Fletcher, especially with the June 21-22 NHL draft ahead. He has already taken advantage by trading a fifth-round pick to acquire soon-to-be unrestricted free agent Kevin Hayes (see story).
With a strong prospect pool, greater cap space and now nine selections in the draft, the ability to explore trades is evident.
The Flyers hold the 11th overall pick in the draft (see five targets). According to a report by Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Fletcher has listened to trade offers for the pick.
#Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher is listening to trade offers for his first overall pick. He will happily keep it if he doesn’t get what he wants, but “if we can get a good player at the right stage of his career and with some term left on his contract, we’d certainly look at it.”— Sam Carchidi (@BroadStBull) June 1, 2019
This week, we're looking at some possible targets for the Flyers, with some help from TSN's trade bait board by Frank Seravalli. To be clear, the Flyers have not been linked to these players; we're simply looking at potential fits.
Jacob Trouba, D, Jets
The 25-year-old defenseman coming off a career season is one of the hotter names on the trade market. According to Seravalli, the Jets have "engaged in dialogue with multiple interested parties" about Trouba, who is set to become a restricted free agent. The 2012 first-round pick is a do-it-all, top-pair guy that scored 50 points (eight goals, 42 assists) this season.
In an excellent piece, which highlights the Flyers as a team that should pursue the Jets' blueliner, Ken Wiebe of the Winnipeg Sun writes how Trouba wants to be paid like a No. 1 defenseman.
That's where it gets tricky. Trouba will garner a raise from his $5.5 million and Winnipeg will demand a nice package in return for him. A younger player and the No. 11 overall pick, possibly? Maybe a prospect or pick and Shayne Gostisbehere, who is under contract through 2022-23 and cheaper? There's no doubt the Flyers have the essentials for the trade scenario.
Not sure it's the wisest move, though, given the team already has a lot to like on the blue line and can add to the position in different ways.
Jared Spurgeon, D, Wild
Similar to with Jason Zucker, the Flyers know Spurgeon well as Fletcher signed him in 2010. The 29-year-old is a righty shot — the Flyers have only two on the blue line (Radko Gudas, Philippe Myers) — and enjoyed a career season of 14 goals and 43 points in 2018-19. For his career, the 5-foot-9, 167-pound Spurgeon is a plus-51.
"He has the ability to play in every situation: up a goal, down a goal, both specialty teams," Fletcher said in 2015, via the Associated Press. "He just does everything right. Just a great system player."
Spurgeon, who has a modified no-movement clause, will enter 2019-20 on the final year of his contract with a cap hit a little over $5 million. The Wild missed the playoffs for the first time in seven years and draft one slot after the Flyers in the first round. Again, the Flyers have what it takes and the haul to acquire Spurgeon shouldn't be as daunting as other targets.
Contract information courtesy of CapFriendly.com.
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