During the first intermission of Wednesday night’s 9-0 loss to the New York Rangers, Bob McKenzie discussed the Philadelphia Flyers’ trade deadline plans.
The Flyers had already given up two goals as a result of defensive breakdowns and Brian Elliott erased another. The Flyers’ need for a defenseman was as clear as day.
However, given the Flyers’ play as of late, one of the big questions is if the Flyers should even be buyers. One trade won’t fix their underlying issues, but it could lead to things improving.
Bob McKenzie got into all of it on Wednesday night.
There’s a few important pull quotes, as well as some things that were already known (or assumed).
McKenzie opened the segment saying that the conventional wisdom is that Chuck Fletcher will be aggressive as the time is now for the Flyers. However, the Flyers’ spotty play may give Fletcher pause.
Chuck Fletcher’s thought process
“Fletcher’s gotta ask himself … is adding one player going to completely turn things around? And yet he knows that they need a replacement for Matt Niskanen, and the obvious name that’s out there –– and one that I’m sure the Philadelphia Flyers have talked to the Nashville Predators about –– is Mattias Ekholm. “
This is what must be giving Fletcher fits watching the Flyers play, especially on Wednesday night. He reportedly has had preliminary discussions with Nashville regarding Ekholm, but it may not even be worth it if the Flyers continue downhill.
The Flyers’ time to win is now, as McKenzie mentioned, and Fletcher may be stuck between a rock and a hard place. If he trades for Ekholm and the Flyers miss the playoffs, he just gave up a ton of assets for no improvement this season. If he doesn’t make the big move and the Flyers turn it on after the deadline, he could regret it if the Flyers barely miss the playoffs.
The price for Mattias Ekholm
“But here’s the thing: Nashville’s not going to give him away. It’s going to be a first-round pick, and probably a couple of prospects, including a real blue-chip prospect. That’s what David Poile would want.”
That’s another thing with Ekholm. The Flyers are going to need to trade a first-round pick and a top prospect or two depending on the other offers. If they’re not in the playoff picture, it won’t be worth it.
The final thing McKenzie touched on was the expansion draft. If the Flyers get Ekholm, they’d have to either protect four forwards, four defensemen, and a goalie, or seven forwards, three defensemen, and a goalie. They would have to expose one of Provorov, Ekholm, Sanheim, or Myers in the second scenario. In the first scenario, they could only expose two forwards with Claude Giroux and Kevin Hayes, who both have no-movement clauses. Neither of those scenarios are ideal.
Of course, none of this is going to matter if the Flyers don’t right the ship. There will be no hopes of Ekholm or even buying at the deadline. The discourse surrounding the Flyers’ potential deadline plans has been circling for a week or two and McKenzie summed it up pretty well.