Flyers

William Nylander trade rumors: Flyers among teams Maple Leafs have contacted

William Nylander trade rumors: Flyers among teams Maple Leafs have contacted

In October, I explored the possibility of the Flyers utilizing an offer sheet regarding Toronto’s restricted free agent William Nylander, who still remains unsigned.

As Nylander approaches tomorrow's deadline to reach an agreement or forfeit playing this season, the Flyers are among the teams the Maple Leafs have contacted in their "last call" on the 22-year-old, according to TSN's Frank Seravalli.

During his 31 Thoughts podcast Nov. 1, Sportsnet Canada’s Elliotte Friedman mentioned the Flyers as a “stealth team” flying under the radar at this point.

Here's what Friedman said:

The interesting thing about this is they haven’t been a team that’s been mentioned a lot with Nylander, but they could do it. They have pieces that I think Toronto could like. We’ve mentioned Los Angeles, we’ve mentioned Minnesota, Carolina definitely — they’re all over the place there — but I really do believe that a stealth team that has what Toronto would want would be the Flyers.

The pieces Friedman is referring to are defensemen. Organizationally, the Flyers have some depth at the position if they were willing to part with one of those players, but who exactly?

• Ivan Provorov is a top-pairing defenseman who also led all NHL blueliners with 17 goals last season. The Flyers would need more than Nylander to facilitate this deal, and quite frankly, it would set the franchise back rather than move it forward.

• Travis Sanheim has finally evolved into an NHL regular and his two-way game has started to stabilize after an up-and-down rookie season. Sanheim is the name that surfaces whenever teams are looking to add that gifted offensive defenseman. After refusing to part ways with Sanheim in previous years, it doesn’t make much sense for Hextall now that Sanheim is finally starting to figure things out.  

• Philippe Myers was on the cusp of making the Flyers out of training camp but still needs some AHL seasoning to ensure he’s ready for the NHL grind. The attraction for Toronto is that Myers is right-handed and still has a year remaining on his entry-level contract after 2018-19. That’s attractive with the Leafs having to re-sign Auston Matthews, who’s in line for a significant raise next season.  

• Robert Hagg is showing that he can be a serviceable top-pairing defenseman as he’s played steady minutes with Provorov. Despite some early-season point production, Hagg is more of a stay-at-home defenseman who brings a punishing physical presence that would work well on Toronto’s blue line. Hagg signed a very reasonable two-year contract this summer at $1.15 million/season and is an RFA after the 2019-20 season.

We do know that Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas was in Philadelphia watching the Flyers-Avalanche game on Oct. 22, and four nights later he was in Carolina for Sharks vs. Hurricanes, another team with a solid surplus of defensemen.

Hagg may be the only defenseman I’d be willing to part with in a deal for Nylander and it would likely take a little bit more on the Flyers' end to facilitate a trade. But a potential blockbuster comes with other concerns. How could the Flyers lock up Nylander when the Leafs haven’t had much success in negotiations — a frustration the organization doesn’t need at this point with its early-season struggles.

Secondly, the Flyers don’t have a huge need at left winger once James van Riemsdyk returns to the lineup. Unless Dave Hakstol plans on moving Claude Giroux back to center or the right side, Nylander would be slotted onto the Flyers' third line and their second power-play unit. You don’t make that trade to put a player like Nylander with back-to-back 61-point seasons in a bottom-six role. Interestingly, Friedman had previously stated he thought the Flyers kicked the tires on Columbus winger Artemi Panarin, but that was prior to signing JVR. 

Right now, I see the Flyers standing pat with what they have, but the longer the Nylander situation goes unresolved, the more you’ll hear the Flyers mentioned as a possible trade partner.

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Shorthanded Flyers can't keep up with Avalanche to begin road trip

Shorthanded Flyers can't keep up with Avalanche to begin road trip

BOX SCORE

From the moment it was announced that Oskar Lindblom would miss Wednesday night's game, the Flyers' chances at Pepsi Center felt bleak.

No Lindblom, no Travis Konecny and facing the NHL's highest-scoring team in its building was not a promising script for the Flyers, who lost to the Avalanche, 3-1.

In stretches this season, the Flyers have struggled to bury goals. And that has been with Lindblom and Konecny — their two leading goal-scorers at 11 apiece — in the lineup.

The Flyers (17-9-5) did some good things but Colorado finished plays behind its world class talent up top.

The Avalanche (20-8-3) are on an eight-game point streak (7-0-1) in which they've scored 4.13 goals per game.

• Without Konecny (concussion) and Lindblom (upper body), the Flyers had difficulty putting the puck in the net. They were going to have to put up some goals against the Avalanche, who entered scoring an NHL-best 3.70 goals per game. For the second time in the last three games, the Flyers scored only one goal.

The lone tally came from Claude Giroux when the Flyers were trailing 3-0 with just over five minutes remaining in regulation.

• Following a first period in which they survived, especially in the back half of it thanks to Carter Hart, the Flyers actually played a solid second period. At one point during the middle stanza, the Flyers were outshooting Colorado 11-0.

But as the Flyers kept pushing to no avail, the Avalanche changed the whole complexion of the period with one play by their two best weapons. Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen hooked up for a nasty marker to make it 2-0 with 3:55 left in the period, a deflating goal to allow for the Flyers (see highlights).

Considering Colorado was 14-0-1 when leading after the middle period, the Flyers were in a serious hole, even after a hard-working period.

• Hart, who entered 8-2-2 with a 1.96 goals-against average and .928 save percentage over his last 12 starts, faced the Avalanche for the first time in his career.

He made a highlight-reel save and gave the Flyers a fighting chance in tough circumstances.

The 21-year-old has been impressive during the first period all season long, allowing the Flyers to find their legs and rhythm. He converted 12 of his 24 saves in the opening stanza against Colorado.

On the Avalanche's first-period goal, Scott Laughton won a defensive zone faceoff but the Flyers failed to clear the puck, resulting in Matt Calvert's tally.

Rantanen added his second goal early in the third period and that was pretty much the game.

Colorado goalie Pavel Francouz, who came in 5-0-1 with a 2.36 goals-against average and .926 save percentage over his last eight games (six starts), finished with 32 stops.

• When Philippe Myers (back spasms, day to day) is ready to return, Robert Hagg should be the odd man out on defense. Shayne Gostisbehere has found some of his offensive mojo and Myers has shown way too much promise to be sitting when healthy.

A stay-at-home guy like Hagg was far too noticeable against the Avalanche. He committed a penalty and was a minus-2 in 15:21 minutes.

• David Kase was summoned to Denver this morning to make his NHL debut and become the ninth rookie to play for the Flyers this season

The 22-year-old winger had a nice scoring chance and two shots in 7:47 minutes. 

• The Flyers head to the old stomping grounds of general manager Chuck Fletcher and assistant general manager Brent Flahr when they visit the Wild on Saturday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

Fletcher was the GM in Minnesota from 2009 to 2018 and Flahr was his AGM from 2010 to 2018.

The Flyers have not lost consecutive games in regulation since Oct. 27-29.

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Flyers at Avalanche: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

Flyers at Avalanche: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

As one of the NHL's best teams since Nov. 1 (12-3-4, 28 points), the Flyers now face a new challenge.

Alain Vigneault's undermanned group begins a three-game road trip Wednesday as the Flyers (17-8-5) visit the Avalanche (19-8-3).

Let's get into the essentials:

When: 9:30 p.m. ET
Where: Pepsi Center
Broadcast: NBC Sports Network
Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com

• The Flyers are without Travis Konecny (concussion, out indefinitely), Oskar Lindblom (upper body, out tonight), Philippe Myers (back spasms, day to day), Michael Raffl (broken right pinkie finger, out approximately four weeks) and Nolan Patrick (migraine disorder, out indefinitely).

"Injuries are a part of a season. You have to expect it," Vigneault said Monday. "Then you need somebody else to step up."

More than ever this season, the Flyers will be looking to Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek, Sean Couturier, Kevin Hayes and James van Riemsdyk to produce among the forwards.

The Flyers are 10-2-1 when Hayes records a point and 9-1-0 when van Riemsdyk records a point.

• Not only are the Flyers severely shorthanded Wednesday night, but they're also facing the NHL's highest-scoring club. The Avalanche lead the league with 3.70 goals per game. Their top line of Nathan MacKinnon (47 points in 30 games), Mikko Rantanen (18 points in 14 games) and Gabriel Landeskog (nine points in 14 games) is scary.

"We know going into Colorado, we're going to have to be careful versus their top unit," Vigneault said Tuesday. "[Monday] night, they seemed to load up. That's one of the best lines in hockey."

• Carter Hart will face the Avalanche for the first time in his career.

The 21-year-old goalie is 8-2-2 with a 1.96 goals-against average and .928 save percentage over his last 12 starts.

Projected lineup

Forwards

Claude Giroux-Sean Couturier-Jakub Voracek
James van Riemsdyk-Morgan Frost-Tyler Pitlick
Scott Laughton-Kevin Hayes-Joel Farabee
David Kase-Mikhail Vorobyev-Chris Stewart

Defensemen

Ivan Provorov-Matt Niskanen
Travis Sanheim-Justin Braun
Shayne Gostisbehere-Robert Hagg

Goalies

Carter Hart
Brian Elliott

 

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