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Flyers’ Tough Guy Traded to Penguins? It Nearly Happened

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Nicolas Deslauriers nearly ended up with the Penguins before he signed with the Flyers in 2022. (Photo: AP)

If trade negotiations had gone differently a few years ago, the Philadelphia Flyers wouldn’t be nearly as intimidating as they are now.

That’s because the Metropolitan Division is currently stacked with fighters, and the Pittsburgh Penguins are the only team without one.

Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek shared in his latest edition of “Rink Fries” a story of how Flyers forward Nick Deslauriers nearly ended up in Pittsburgh only a few years ago.

“The Pittsburgh Penguins are the only team in the division that doesn’t place some value in having a player like this in their lineup. However, when Brian Burke was in Penguins management they tried to deal for Deslauriers in Anaheim but balked at the first-round draft pick price tag,” Marek wrote. “He was eventually traded for a third-round pick, but Pittsburgh was trying to get him while he still had term left on his deal.”

Deslauriers spent three seasons in Anaheim, from 2019 to 2022, and was even teammates with new Flyers defenseman Jamie Drysdale at one point. Before ending up in Philadelphia, Anaheim eventually traded Deslauriers to Minnesota for the third-round pick Marek mentioned above.

Deslauriers would eventually leave Minnesota to join the Flyers in the summer of 2022, inking a four-year, $7 million contract with the Orange and Black.

After setting the franchise record for hits in a season with his 306 last year, Deslauriers has become a rotational piece and taken on more of a pure enforcer role than anything else. The arrival of Garnet Hathaway has played a part in cutting the 33-year-old’s minutes, and Hathaway has also since broken Deslauriers’s hits record.

Still, though, the Flyers are glad to have Deslauriers as their resident tough guy and would certainly hate to be on the other side of his hits and fights. That would especially be the case if Deslauriers ended up with the Penguins.

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