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NHL Trade Talk

Flyers Must Trade for Sabres’ Casey Mittelstadt

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Casey Mittelstadt
The Buffalo Sabres are reportedly shopping Casey Mittelstadt, which means the Philadelphia Flyers must attempt to bring him aboard. (Photo: AP)

The Philadelphia Flyers have expressed their seriousness about making hockey trades that make sense for the organization, whether it be for now, the future, or both. They now have the opportunity to prove it by making a Casey Mittelstadt trade with the Buffalo Sabres.

To explain the situation in Buffalo, general manager Kevyn Adams and the Sabres are reportedly shopping Mittelstadt, a 25-year-old center, and actively seeking and goaltenders, according to former NHLer Andrew Peters. Now, the Flyers don’t have any goaltenders to give to the Sabres in return, nor do they have any of the kind that the Sabres are looking for anyway. The Flyers do, however, have some veteran defensemen who can play top-four minutes that Buffalo also needs.

Indeed, the Sabres are not the Toronto Maple Leafs or Tampa Bay Lightning – perennial contenders who often move assets in an attempt to make deeper playoff runs. However, they appear to be serious about getting to that spot, just like the Flyers.

This could be one of those times when a trade makes perfect sense for both sides.

Mittelstadt, 25, is in the final year of a three-year, $7.5 million contract, making him a restricted free agent this offseason. With 12 goals, 30 assists, and 42 points in 50 games, Mittelstadt is likely headed for a substantial raise from the $2.6 million salary he makes this season.

The Flyers are a perfect fit for Mittelstadt for a few reasons.

For one, Mittelstadt, Sean Couturier, and Morgan Frost all offer slightly different things on the ice. Each player does something the other does not.

Couturier is the two-way, penalty-killing ace who has been one of the worst finishers in the NHL in his last few seasons. Frost is a slightly better finisher who produces primary assists at a high rate, doesn’t play on the penalty kill, and doesn’t have strong underlying numbers on the power play. Mittelstadt is in the middle of them; he produces strong results at both ends of the ice, is a slightly below-average player on the power play, produces primary assists at an alarming rate, and plays his best hockey when the puck is on his stick in transition.

The Flyers, who have one of the league’s very best rush offenses, would benefit greatly from a Mittelstadt trade. Who can say no to a 25-year-old who fits in the short and long-term, and can serve guys like Owen Tippett and Travis Konecny scoring chances on a silver platter?

Oh, and did I mention Mittelstadt can play both center and left wing?

Philadelphia does not necessarily have to move a forward to make this trade work for the roster’s sake, but it would make the most sense. The Sabres, as we established before, are going to be in on the Flyers’ defensemen; a right-shot like Sean Walker would closest suit their needs. Rasmus Ristolainen could make a return to Buffalo, though that’s highly unlikely and the trade talk around him has died down substantially in the last few weeks.

No matter the cost, the Flyers must trade for Mittelstadt. The center pipeline is thin, and Mittelstadt will be substantially better than any center they could draft in the late 20’s in the 2024 NHL Draft. The ball (puck?) is in Danny Briere’s court.

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