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NHL Trade Talk

Flyers Can Still Get First-Round Pick in Sean Walker Trade

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Sean Walker will be worth as much as the Philadelphia Flyers ask in return for him. (Photo: AP)

We had our first blockbuster trade go down on Wednesday night ahead of the March 8 NHL trade deadline, as the Calgary Flames sent veteran defenseman Chris Tanev, with double retention, to the Dallas Stars for a second-round pick, a conditional third-round pick, and Artem Grushnikov. Although this is the first domino in a Sean Walker trade for the Philadelphia Flyers, a first-round pick is most certainly not out of the question.

Whether the Flyers decide to trade Walker is one thing, but the return they get in a Walker trade is another. Here’s the thing with Walker, especially compared to Tanev: Walker is younger, plays power play and penalty kill for the Flyers, has a smaller cap hit, and has been the better player this season.

Walker is 29, while Tanev is 34 and has played north of 70 regular season games once in the last decade.

Some may argue that Tanev’s rugged, shot-blocking style makes him better equipped for playoff hockey and more appealing to contenders, but since Tanev became an NHL regular, he’s made it past the second round only twice.

In short, looking the part and playing the part are two different things.

Even if the Flyers decide that trading Walker is what they want to do, they’ll need to find a worthy dance partner that will offer up a first-round pick. Some contenders that still have theirs include the Vegas Golden Knights, the Stars, the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Edmonton Oilers, and the New York Rangers.

The Minnesota Wild, who have made up significant ground in the playoff chase despite captain Jared Spurgeon’s season-ending injury, also desperately need blueline help. They just signed Marat Khusnutdinov and are committed to keeping veteran goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury on their roster instead of trading him away.

Ultimately, what Walker fetches the Flyers is not for them to decide. On the other hand, plenty of teams out there still need help defensively, especially on the right side.

The Flyers will not sell on Walker for cheap, and the closer the NHL trade deadline gets, the more desperate teams will get to bolster their roster in pursuit of the Stanley Cup. All the Flyers need is one bidding war to break out for things to really take off.

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