Let the NHL trade rumors swirl. With the NHL trade deadline now less than a month away, things around the league are going to pick up. For the Philadelphia Flyers, Chuck Fletcher and Co. will look to add a defenseman before the deadline. That addition could very well be Nashville Predators defenseman Mattias Ekholm.
Two weeks ago, we wrote about Tony Androckitis of Inside AHL Hockey breaking the news that the Predators were scouting Flyers prospects with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
Predators scouting Phantoms
Well, the Predators are continuing to scout the Phantoms, according to Androckitis:
“Sunday in Hershey (NHL-Washington), there were a handful of scouts on hand at Giant Center scouting the Hershey Bears and Phantoms (PHI) – including not one, but two representatives (presumed scouts) from the Nashville Predators organization in attendance.
The Predators are now scouting Phantoms’ road games in addition to their appearance at recent home games. Their increased presence might suggest there’s something brewing between the Flyers and Predators organizations, which in the past two weeks has seen the rumor mill spinning as the NHL’s trade deadline approaches in April.”
As Androckitis writes, it’s very possible that the talks between the two sides are intensifying with the Predators wanting to get more looks at certain players.
The Predators got a good look at two forward prospects on Sunday afternoon at the very least. 2020 first-round pick Tyson Foerster scored his first professional goal, and Wade Allison scored in his professional debut.
Flyers and Predators talking Mattias Ekholm
The news of the Predators continuing to scout the Phantoms is important. It comes on the heels of an interesting report from Broad Street Hockey. They reported that the Flyers are in preliminary talks with the Predators, with a few key names mentioned:
“On Thursday afternoon, Broad Street Hockey learned from a source in the Flyers’ organization that the Flyers have been in preliminary talks with the flailing Nashville Predators about a potential trade. While discussions are still early, the trade being discussed at this stage would (perhaps unsurprisingly) involve defenseman Mattias Ekholm and (more unexpectedly) winger Viktor Arvidsson being sent to the Flyers, with Shayne Gostisbehere and some draft picks (at least one first and another conditional pick) being a starting point of a potential package to Nashville.”
As noted, Mattias Ekholm is expected to be the Flyers’ main target. Arvidsson is an interesting addition, however, and would help offset some of the salary if the Predators do acquire Gostisbehere. Gostisbehere has a cap hit of $4.5 million through 2023. Arvidsson has a cap hit of $4.25 million through 2024.
We wrote last week about two potential defensemen targets topping TSN’s Trade Bait list. Ekholm is the top target, with Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman at No. 2. Savard may be the fall-back plan if the price for Ekholm is too high, which it could be if the Bruins get involved.
The Flyers are in freefall right now. A goaltending controversy over which goalie shouldn’t be starting is brewing, and the team is far past the point where they need something to change. It’s time for them to show what they’re made of and it might be time for Fletcher to pull the trigger on a deal.
If the Flyers’ struggles continue, we could see a trade sooner than later.