The Philadelphia Flyers continue to be in the mix for top-tier defensemen this offseason. A few weeks ago, it was reported that Seth Jones wants out of Columbus and the Flyers were immediately among the teams mentioned.
Elliotte Friedman continued reporting on Jones and the Flyers in his weekly 31 Thoughts column on Monday:
“3. Still hearing a lot of Philadelphia and Jones. The Flyers are definitely working at it.”
It’s not a ton of information, but the fact that it was included is more than enough. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire, and there’s been plenty of smoke around the Flyers’ targeting Jones.
The Flyers’ interest in Jones was also mentioned in this week’s National Hockey Now Off The Record column. Be sure to check that one out.
Jones at top of Flyers’ wish list?
The Flyers’ list of defensemen targets this offseason should be long and it seems like Jones is toward the top of the list –– if not at the top.
One of the downsides to Jones is that the Blue Jackets will likely need a good trade package for him. Chuck Fletcher and the Flyers may be better off trying to lure a free agent like Dougie Hamilton or test the trade market with the Nashville Predators (Mattias Ekholm, Ryan Ellis) or Minnesota Wild (Matt Dumba).
Fletcher knows he needs to make a big move and it might only be a matter of who and when. Seth Jones might be that guy.
Seth Jones’ fit in Philadelphia
Jones played over 25 minutes per game for the past three seasons, but his play has dropped off a bit. He reached as high as fourth in the Norris Trophy Voting (2017-18) at just 23 years old, so the skill and pedigree are there. However, he fell to ninth and 14th in voting the following two years. He’s still a good defenseman and could bounce back with a change of scenery, but a consistently strong defenseman may be a better fit for the Flyers.
On the surface, Jones is a perfect fit in Philadelphia. He’s a top-pair right defenseman, which is exactly what the Flyers need. At 26 (soon to be 27) years old, Jones’ prime years fit right in with the Flyers’ goals of being a Stanley Cup contender in the next few seasons.
Jones will be 27 when next season starts and has a $5.4 million cap hit for one more year on his current contract. He’ll likely fetch a much larger price tag on his next deal, which the Flyers would assumably give him if they end up trading for him.
Nevertheless, Fletcher needs to be aggressive this offseason after failing last year and it appears that he is doing just that. The Flyers have been rumored to be in on multiple high-level targets this offseason, including those names mentioned above as well as Jack Eichel.
It should be an exciting offseason in Philadelphia as the rumors continue to swirl.
Photo: Heather Barry Images