Ranking the Philadelphia Flyers Most Likely to Be Moved at Trade Deadline
The race for the playoffs in the Metropolitan Division is so close with just six points separating second place from the seventh spot.
With the race this close, expect the Philadelphia Flyers to be active at the trade deadline. General manager Paul Holmgren is not known for his patience, and this team has been too inconsistent and has some noticeable flaws that need correcting if it is to make a long playoff run.
Here is a look at the players the Flyers are most likely to trade before the trade deadline.
Feel free to comment on any of the players on this list or to mention any other player you feel may be on the trading block. As always, indicate why you feel the way you do.
All contract figures via Cap Geek, unless otherwise noted.
5. Scott Hartnell
Dealing Scott Hartnell may be wishful thinking since the veteran winger has a no-movement clause in his contract.
Still, the Flyers would be wise to trade him if they can. Hartnell is the kind of player that becomes more valuable at playoff time and adds leadership to the locker room, so he has some appeal for teams looking to improve for the stretch drive.
Hartnell has been inconsistent this season. He has been streaky and accumulates points in bunches for a few games but then struggles to contribute offensively for a week or two.
The big issues with Hartnell are his age and his salary. He'll be 32 in April, and the Flyers have to pay him for five more seasons at an annual cap hit of $4.75 million.
Based on Hartnell's age and physical style of play, it makes sense to expect diminished returns over the next several seasons.
The time to move Hartnell is now while the Flyers can still get some value for him in return. Trading him could also free up some valuable cap space, something Philadelphia desperately needs if they hope to add a key player for the stretch drive.
Dealing Hartnell is unlikely, but it would probably be a good move for the Flyers to make if they can find a taker and the veteran forward is willing to waive his no-movement clause.
4. Hal Gill
Let's face it, veteran defenseman Hal Gill is nothing but a spare part for the Flyers. Gill has played in only four games thus far this season and will only see action if injuries ravage the Philadelphia defensive corps.
Gill is a slow defenseman who provides little offense but is steady in his own zone. In other words, he has a similar skill set to other players who are ahead of him on the depth chart.
Still, there are reasons teams may wish to add the 6'7", 243-pound defenseman at the trade deadline.
Gill has a long reach and isn't afraid to play a physical style, something that becomes more important during the playoffs. He has postseason experience and has won a Stanley Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins back in 2009. He is also only making $700,000 this year, and his contract expires at the end of this season.
Dealing Gill would mean getting something back for a player who is not making a major contribution to the Flyers right now and isn't in the team's long-term plans. Even if they just get a draft pick in return, it's worth trying to move Gill.
3. Steve Downie
The Flyers acquired Steve Downie in a trade earlier this season. The 26-year-old has fit in well as a third- or fourth-line player. His best skill is agitating opposing players and throwing his body around.
Downie's contract expires at the end of this season, and he carries a cap hit of $2.65 million.
The formula with Downie is a straightforward one. If Holmgren can sign him to an extension, he stays. If negotiations break down, Downie will be made available in a deadline deal if the return is attractive enough.
The Flyers are better off keeping Downie, even though his play slowed down in late December and January after a fast start with Philadelphia in November and early December. But the Flyers are also better off getting something in return for Downie rather than lose him for nothing if they cannot re-sign him.
2. Brayden Schenn
It may be risky for the Flyers to trade Brayden Schenn, a 22-year-old forward with plenty of upside, but it's something Holmgren should seriously consider doing if the return is substantial.
Philadelphia has a glut of forwards who are natural centers on their roster and Schenn is one of them. Schenn would be better off at center, but there just isn't room on the roster for him to play that position.
Schenn's contract also expires at the end of this season although he will only be a restricted free agent.
Because of his age, his potential upside and the fact that he will only be a RFA this summer, Schenn has the potential to bring back a lot in return. It's possible he is more than a rental player for the team that acquires him. The shift in positions may make the trade mutually beneficial for the Flyers and for Schenn.
1. Andrej Meszaros
The Flyers have a lot of defensemen on the roster, but they need to upgrade the speed at this position and their overall talent on the blueline.
Andrej Meszaros would be the most logical defender to move. His contract expires at the end of the season. In addition, Meszaros still makes too many mistakes in his own zone. He isn't consistently physical despite having good size, and when he does try to deliver a big hit, he often finds himself out of position.
Still, because of his size and the fact that he is only 28, other teams may find Meszaros a desirable rental player.
If the Flyers can move Meszaros and acquire a speedier defenseman, it can be a win-win for both teams.