The Philadelphia Flyers haven't advanced beyond the first round of the NHL playoffs since the 2011-12 season. General manager Ron Hextall is tasked with upgrading the roster with more depth beyond its star power, led by Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek.
Philly would benefit from improving the left side of its defense behind Ivan Provorov and could still use a little more firepower up front for its top six. Fortifying both areas this summer should make the team tougher to play against in the postseason.
So let's check out some trade rumors involving the Flyers with the 2018 NHL draft now in the rear-view mirror and free agency on the horizon.
Wayne Simmonds On The Block?
Simmonds is coming off a season where his goal (24) and point (46) totals reached five-year lows. While those are still respectable numbers and his presence on the power play is consistently valuable, the drop off combined with the fact he's entering the final year of his contract makes him a trade candidate.
Michael Russo of The Athletic reported the Flyers are "gearing to potentially trade" the 29-year-old Canadian winger before possibly losing him to free agency next summer.
Simmonds does possess a modified no-trade clause that allows him to provide a list of 12 teams to which he can reject a trade, per Steven Loung of Sportsnet.
Last week, Hextall told Elliotte Friedman of Hockey Night in Canada that "we're going to try and sign him" amid speculation about a potential trade.
If the sides can't come to an agreement, then a trade comes into play, especially because Philadelphia possesses solid depth on the right side with Voracek and Travis Konecny.
The best option is likely moving Simmonds for a defensive upgrade without taking on much, if any, additional salary. That would allow the front office to retain some financial flexibility while trading from a position of strength to address an area of need.
Flyers Among Ryan O'Reilly Suitors
If Philly can achieve that Simmonds deal, it would leave the door open to acquire O'Reilly, who would instantly fill the team's void as a top-line center.
The rebuilding Buffalo Sabres have their future top-six centermen in Jack Eichel and Casey Mittelstadt, creating a logjam down the middle. Trading ROR, who carries a $7.5 million cap hit through the 2022-23 season, makes the most sense to improve a roster that lacks speed and youth on the wings.
It's a situation that makes the sides ideal trade partners.
Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic reported Buffalo likes Philly's "very deep pool of young players throughout their organization" and O'Reilly "would fit the type of guy that organization wants," making the Flyers one of the top candidates to land the two-way stalwart.
The 27-year-old veteran scored 61 points (24 goals and 37 assists) in 81 games for a Sabres team that ranked last in the NHL in goals per game last season. Putting him between Giroux and Voracek would have the potential to create monster results.
All told, trading Simmonds and acquiring O'Reilly in separate deals—Buffalo isn't likely to want a player at the back end of his prime on a short-term contract—could reshape the Flyers' roster enough to help them make a deeper playoff run next season.