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NHL Trade Talk

Grading the Flyers’ Sean Walker Trade With Avalanche



Sean Walker trade
(Photo: AP)

The Philadelphia Flyers kicked off what would become an eventful afternoon of NHL trades and trade rumors with the Sean Walker trade, sending Walker and a 2026 fifth-round pick to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for Ryan Johansen and a conditional 2025 first-round pick.

Walker, 29, was always the likeliest Flyers player to be traded, given the market demand for his position, age, and contractual status. Fast forward to Wednesday afternoon, and that’s exactly what happened. So, how did the Flyers do in this one? Let’s discuss.

Walker going to the Avalanche was quite the surprise, as was Johansen coming to the Flyers. Given that Johansen was immediately placed on waivers, he’s nothing more than a cap dump in this deal that helped increase the Flyers’ return.

On the flip side, John Tortorella has some history with Johansen, coaching him for a handful of games with the Columbus Blue Jackets before Johansen was moved to the Nashville Predators. In his only half-season under Tortorella, Johansen scored five goals, 15 assists, and 20 points in 31 games.

This year, though, in Colorado, Johansen has only managed to scrap together 13 goals and 10 assists in 63 games despite being given an extended opportunity in the Avalanche’s top-six.

The 31-year-old is, however, only one full season removed from a 26-goal, 63-point 2021-22 campaign. Johansen is a cap dump for now, but don’t be surprised if the Flyers try to rehab him like they did Walker in preparation for this time next year.

As for the 2026-fifth round pick, it’s a negligible throw-in on the Flyers’ behalf, until it yields the Avalanche the next Jesper Bratt or Pavel Datsyuk, or someone of that ilk. In all seriousness, it’s a draft pick for two drafts from now that likely was just an extra dart throw for Colorado’s front office.

The big fish is obviously the 2025 first-round pick, which may have raised some eyebrows given it’s not for the 2024 NHL Draft. The truth is that NHL GMs aren’t crazy about the talent level at the back end of this year’s draft, which is why most teams have been forking over their first-round picks this year with no issue. To that end, the Flyers and first-year general manager Danny Briere did exceptionally well to nab a 2025 pick instead.

As a result, the Flyers will have two first-round picks in 2024, two first-round picks in 2025, two second-round picks in 2024, and two second-round picks in 2025. That’s a nice start for this rebuild here in Philadelphia.

Grade: Comfortably an A+

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