Flyers

Flyers trade options: Would Jason Zucker or Nazem Kadri make sense?

Flyers trade options: Would Jason Zucker or Nazem Kadri make sense?

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 will be an avenue for Fletcher, especially with the June 21-22 NHL draft ahead. The Flyers enter this summer with a strong prospect pool, greater cap space and 10 selections in the draft, so 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.

Over the next few days, let's look at 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.

Jason Zucker, LW, Wild

Fletcher and assistant general manager Brent Flahr know Zucker well, having drafted him in 2010 when both were with the Wild.

The 27-year-old is coming off a down season in which he recorded 21 goals and 21 assists. However, just a year before, Zucker put up career highs in goals (33), assists (31) and points (64), and was a plus-34 the season prior.

Zucker has reportedly been in trade talks. He has a modified no-trade clause and is under contract through the 2022-23 season with an annual cap hit of $5.5 million.

The winger could be attractive to the Flyers because of his age, the contractual control and strengths that play up and down the lineup.

Nazem Kadri, C, Maple Leafs

Once again, the Flyers need more depth at center. It's uncertain if 20-year-old Nolan Patrick is ready to be the Flyers' No. 2 center behind Sean Couturier.

"I would suggest there are 27, 28 teams that would probably like to find a No. 1 or No. 2 centerman. It's a hard thing to find," Fletcher said in April. "Certainly if you can find a top centerman, I think any team should jump on it. We'll certainly look, but Nolan has the capability of being a No. 2 centerman."

Kadri, 28, had back-to-back 32-goal seasons from 2016-18. The 2009 seventh overall pick had 44 points (16 goals, 28 assists) in 73 games this season but was suspended during the playoffs for a second straight year and owns five career suspensions.

Kadri has a modified no-trade clause and is signed through the 2021-22 season with an annual cap hit of $4.5 million. Maybe Toronto grows impatient with Kadri at this point and the Flyers capitalize. While his ability down the middle is intriguing, there could be other concerns.

Contract information courtesy of CapFriendly.com.

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2020 NHL All-Star Game: Flyers' Travis Konecny shows off his career-high stuff for Metropolitan Division

2020 NHL All-Star Game: Flyers' Travis Konecny shows off his career-high stuff for Metropolitan Division

BOX SCORE

Travis Konecny stormed into the NHL All-Star break already with a new career high in assists. The Flyers' winger has 26 helpers and is projected to finish with 44, a sign of significant growth in a breakout 2019-20 season for the 22-year-old.

On Saturday night in the 2020 All-Star Game at Enterprise Center in St. Louis, Konecny put his facilitating on display during the 3-on-3 action featuring the world's best players. He finished with three assists in the Metropolitan Division's 9-5 semifinal loss to the Atlantic Division.

"I had a lot of fun," Konecny said Saturday, via Flyers senior director of public relations and communications Zack Hill. "It was pretty funny, I was watching my parents in the stands and my mom didn't understand why we weren't playing like a real game.

"It's my first game and it's her first time seeing it. I don't know if she was expecting me to be blocking shots and forechecking, stuff like that. I had a lot of fun with it.

"It was a really cool experience, getting to play with some players, too, that I usually won't get the chance to play with was fun."

Konecny playing in his first All-Star Game at 22 years old should be exciting for the Flyers. Claude Giroux was 23 years old for his first All-Star Game back in 2011. The future looks bright for Konecny, who signed a new six-year, $33 million contract back in mid-September.

With 17 goals and 43 points through 47 games, Konecny is eight goals and seven points away from setting career highs across the board.

A breakout, indeed.

Here are more sights and scenes from Konecny's first All-Star Game:

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Why Flyers fans should be hopeful about post-NHL All-Star break playoff chances

Why Flyers fans should be hopeful about post-NHL All-Star break playoff chances

Today, we break down why Flyers fans should be hopeful for the post-All-Star break stretch. On Sunday, we’ll look at the reasons for concern.

Through 50 games, the Flyers have done two important things. They’ve played well within the division and have dominated at home. 

Those two trends bode well for after the All-Star break because divisional games become much bigger and confidence at home is paramount as the pressure builds.

The Flyers are 17-4-4 at home and 9-2-3 against Metropolitan foes. The marks are notable given the Flyers fell sorely short in those areas last season, when they finished 19-18-4 at home and 10-16-2 in divisional play.

Another positive is the Flyers are getting healthier after the break. Shayne Gostisbehere (knee) could be back Friday in the Flyers’ first game out of the bye week, while Carter Hart (abdominal strain) is expected to return not long after.

But what might be the Flyers’ most convincing piece of evidence for optimism is how they’ve performed against the NHL’s best teams. The Flyers have shown they can play with any club, which is huge for their own belief moving forward.

The Flyers are 11th in the NHL standings at 27-17-6. They've gone 9-5-3 against the top-10 teams and 5-1-1 vs. the top four.

Head coach Alain Vigneault has a history of taking teams to the playoffs, and doing so in Year 1 on the job. At his previous three stops (Canadiens, Canucks, Rangers), each of his first seasons produced playoff bids and at least one series victory.

Vigneault’s track record will be tested over the Flyers’ final 32 games.

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