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Huge Flyers Trade with Ducks Addresses Both Teams’ Needs

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Philadelphia Flyers trade
Ducks forward Trevor Zegras has been a popular name in NHL trade rumors. (Photo: AP)

The Anaheim Ducks might have made themselves a worthy Philadelphia Flyers trade partner after some comments from their general manager, Pat Verbeek, on Tuesday night.

In a Tweet posted by the Ducks’ official X/Twitter account, Verbeek says that the Ducks are looking to add a right-shot top-six forward and a right-shot top-four defenseman. The Flyers could provide both of these things if they are willing to make such a trade.

Of course, the Ducks would have to have something the Flyers want, too. And they do.

The Flyers have many weaknesses on their roster, but none greater than a young, top-six center that they can truly build around in the future. Anaheim currently boasts a horde of centers, headlined by Cutter Gauthier, Ryan Strome, Mason McTavish, Trevor Zegras, and Leo Carlsson.

Gauthier and Carlsson are obviously off the table for the Flyers, and Strome doesn’t fit the bill for them, either. Then it comes down to McTavish and Zegras, and while Zegras has been the most popular name in NHL trade circles, both players would have their pros and cons to the Flyers.

From a Flyers point of view, they need some of the young talent Anaheim has to help kickstart their own rebuild. Conversely, Anaheim needs some of the veterans the Flyers have in order to begin taking the next step.

Rasmus Ristolainen and Jamie Drysdale are the Flyers’ only two right-shot defensemen, and there’s virtually no chance of Drysdale returning to the Ducks. Ristolainen recently underwent surgery, but has been a very popular name amongst GMs and in NHL trade circles after his resurgence under John Tortorella.

The surgery, though, might complicate matters if the Flyers elect to go that route in the offseason.

Simply put, the Flyers also have too many wingers on their roster, right-shot ones in particular. Players like Bobby Brink, Tyson Foerster, and Owen Tippett don’t really make sense for what the Ducks are trying to do.

Cam Atkinson would make sense as a veteran replacement for the recently retired Jakob Silfverberg, but there’s a lot of risk involved from Anaheim’s point of view. Plus, Atkinson’s trade value has probably never been lower after the season he just had.

It goes without saying that Travis Konecny is the Flyers’ most valuable player, both on the ice and on the NHL trade market. The problem, however, is that ‘TK’ will turn 28 before he hits unrestricted free agency in 2025. Konecny is due for a big money extension and is already in his prime years.

Neither Konecny nor the Flyers offered much commentary on a potential extension last week, and Konecny is yet to have a 70-point season in his NHL career. While the Flyers would surely love to have him, a lucrative contract is certainly not without risk, especially given Konecny’s injury history.

Verbeek also mentioned in his press conference the importance of naming a captain, having a strong leadership group, and having an excellent, threatening penalty kill. Konecny, of course, checked all of those boxes for the Flyers this season.

Whether Verbeek and Danny Briere touch base again remains to be seen, but the line of communication is already open. The two had lengthy discussions negotiating the Drysdale-Gauthier trade and successfully kept it under wraps for a long period of time.

Perhaps the two could address each others’ needs once again in the future.

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