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Friedman: Flyers Not ‘Eager’ to Trade Ristolainen

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Philadelphia Flyers
Flyers defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen has popped up in some trade rumors recently. (Photo: AP)

NHL insider Elliotte Friedman published his written “32 Thoughts” column late Wednesday night, and with it came an interesting nugget about the Philadelphia Flyers.

Friedman started the piece by describing in great detail the situation of the Toronto Maple Leafs, and the lengths they are or are not willing to go to wheel and deal. Defenseman John Klingberg was ruled out for the season earlier in the day after undergoing hip surgery, and Timothy Liljegren and Jake Muzzin will be keeping him company on the LTIR list.

As a result, Friedman believes that the Maple Leafs have looked at Flyers defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen, but also noted “. . . I don’t believe the Flyers are eager to give him away, and there’s no rush for them to do anything while their group is playing well. That’s not to say it couldn’t be something down the road. . .”

Roadblocks for Flyers, Maple Leafs

At this point in time, it’s hard to imagine a reality where the Maple Leafs are throwing some weight around in the NHL trade market. They’re already nearly $14 million over the cap ceiling, but have Klingberg, Liljegren, Muzzin, and Matt Murray on LTIR to free up cap space. Even so, Toronto still only has $1.46 million in available space.

Ristolainen, meanwhile, has four years remaining on his contract (including this season) at a $5.1 million cap hit. Even if the Flyers were to retain half in any deal, money would still have to come back the other way. And if Danny Briere and the Flyers were to do something like this – and they are open to this kind of deal – the return would have to be extraordinary.

Remember, Philadelphia will still have a big chunk of Cal Petersen’s salary on their books next year, and they’ll be paying $3.571 million of Kevin Hayes’ contract annually until 2026. Of course, anything is possible, but it looks like any type of Maple Leafs move for a defenseman is still far off the horizon at best.

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