Nazem Kadri

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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A pair of sensational efforts for surging Maple Leafs

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A pair of sensational efforts for surging Maple Leafs

TORONTO -- Nazem Kadri had three goals and two assists, Frederik Andersen made a career-high 54 saves and the surging Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 6-3 on Wednesday night.

Patrick Marleau added a goal and two assists and Mitch Marner had a goal and an assist as Toronto closed out a perfect five-game hometand. It was Kadri's fourth career hat trick, and the five points set a career high.

The Blue Jackets recorded 50 or more shots for the third straight game, making them the first team to accomplish the feat in the post-expansion era (since 1967-68). Nick Foligno had a goal and two assists, and Joonas Korpisalo made 22 saves.

Toronto played much of the game without defenseman Jake Gardiner, who departed with a lower-body injury after one period. It was unclear when the injury occurred, but he took a hard slash to the legs from Matt Calvert.

The Maple Leafs had a 4-2 lead before Jack Johnson beat Andersen with a slap shot from the left circle that went off the post and into the net at 14:35 of the second. It was Johnson's third goal of the season.

Toronto then put it away with two in the third. Kadri got his 21st of the season at 11:21, and Marleau added an empty-netter with 1:47 left (see full recap).

Varlamov stops 43 shots to secure shutout
DENVER -- Semyon Varlamov made 43 saves for his first victory in more than a month and the Colorado Avalanche matched the franchise record of 10 straight home wins, beating he Montreal Canadiens 2-0 on Wednesday night.

Carl Soderberg and Alexander Kerfoot scored to help Colorado match the longest home winning streak in franchise history, set in 1994-95 when the team was the Quebec Nordiques.

Antti Niemi stopped 23 shots for Montreal. The Canadiens are 8-17-1 on the road.

Varlamov's last win came against Toronto on Dec. 29, and he left his next start against Winnipeg with a groin injury. He missed 10 games before returning against the Jets on Feb. 3.

Wednesday was his fourth since coming back and one of his best of the season. He denied the Canadiens on several chances in the third for his second shutout of the season.

With Montreal pressing for the equalizer late in the third, Kerfoot scored at 16:58 to give the Avalanche a two-goal cushion.

Colorado had more than two consecutive minutes of play in Montreal's end early in the second period but didn't score until Soderberg beat Niemi with a wraparound to make it 1-0 at 15:55 (see full recap).