10 targets by tier as Flyers sell

10 targets by tier as Flyers sell

Selling Flyers: 10 trade candidates by tier originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

VOORHEES, N.J. — The Flyers don’t need to dust off the “For Sale” sign. It hasn’t been tucked away for three straight seasons.

The club is selling at a third straight NHL trade deadline, a reality that was ultimately expected before the start of the 2022-23 season. The Flyers were coming off a true bottoming out in 2021-22, a year in which they fired their head coach, traded their longtime captain and lost 57 games (25-46-11).

John Tortorella took over as head coach in the summer and has been forthright from Day 1 about the Flyers’ arduous build ahead.

With the trading period well in full swing, the Flyers should shed some pieces if they want to continue to get younger heading into next season.

On Tuesday, general manager Chuck Fletcher said the Flyers are “willing to listen on just about anything if it makes sense.”

Time will tell just how aggressively and drastically they change their roster by Friday’s 3 p.m. ET deadline.

If nothing is off the table, let’s look at 10 Flyers trade candidates by different tiers.

The expiring contracts


James van Riemsdyk

It feels all but certain van Riemsdyk will be dealt. His age (33), contract (pending unrestricted free agent) and biggest strength (goal scoring) make him the Flyers’ most clear-cut candidate to be moved.

“I’m not naive, I’ve been around, I’ve played for a few years now,” van Riemsdyk said last month. “You know when you’re in the last year of your deal and you’re kind of in the situation as we’re at as a team right now, that things can happen.”

In return for van Riemsdyk, Fletcher could aim to acquire a second- or third-round draft pick or a younger, not-yet-established player. The Flyers will be open to retaining some of van Riemsdyk’s $7 million salary.

Patrick Brown

The 30-year-old center wins defensive-zone faceoffs, can kill penalties and would be a good locker room guy for a team’s playoff run. He values the importance of a fourth-line role and his cap hit is only $750,000 on an expiring, two-year, $1.5 million deal he originally signed with the Golden Knights.

“I love it here,” Brown said last Friday. “The Flyers took a chance on me on waivers, they went out of their way to say we want this guy. I’ve tried to do everything I can to prove that I want to be here and be a good player for this team.”

A fifth-round draft pick seems possible for a return on Brown if the Flyers move him.

Justin Braun

Last March, the Flyers moved Braun to the Rangers for a third-round draft pick. The veteran defenseman was showcased in a top-pair role for most of that season.

This season, he has often been a healthy scratch, playing only 40 games. He’s rich with playoff experience (119 games) and his expiring contract has a $1 million cap hit, but moving him this time might not really be worth it for the Flyers.

“Certainly not the most gifted skater, not the most gifted passer, not the most gifted shot, but there’s not too many people here in this building that tries as hard as he does,” Tortorella said during training camp. “I think young guys should be looking at that.”

The checks all the boxes


Nick Seeler

Perhaps the Flyers’ most underrated trade chip. The 29-year-old defenseman is having the best year of his NHL career. He defends hard, he moves well and he stands up for teammates. Almost an ideal addition for playoff type of character and reliability.

And contending teams will like his contract. Seeler is making just $750,000 this season ($775,000 cap hit) in Year 1 of a two-year, $1.55 million deal. The contract turns into a two-way deal next year, which could be attractive to clubs.

If the Flyers are bowled over by an offer — maybe a second-round draft pick — they’d have to consider it.

“He’s a character kid,” Fletcher said Tuesday. “It doesn’t surprise me there are teams that would probably have interest in him. He’s still a valuable player for us and a player on a real good cap number for next year, as well. I think he’s somebody that I can tell you probably quite a few teams have interest in.”

The big calls


Kevin Hayes

As a 30-year-old forward scoring at a career-high pace, Hayes should have suitors. The Flyers have to contemplate if he fits their timeline.

A trade feels more unlikely than likely, but the Flyers will listen given their position and Hayes’ production.

It’s also fair to wonder if Hayes and Tortorella are a match for the future. The 6-foot-5 center was moved to the wing at the end of November and has played there almost exclusively since then.

“I don’t know if they see me as a center here in the long run,” Hayes said Tuesday. “I’ve read that they need centers.”

A contending club trading for Hayes at this time of year won’t be easy. He has three more years left on a seven-year, $50 million deal ($7,142,857 cap hit).

“I think you’re always trying to improve your team,” Tortorella said Thursday. “When players are getting up in the 30s and we’re in this process here — trying to get younger, but also try to stay competitive while we’re doing that — his name has to be brought up, has to be talked about.

“Chuck hasn’t talked to me about anything with Kevin to this time. But his name is certainly in conversations just because of where we are in the process and where he is in his career.”

Ivan Provorov

Provorov is another player the Flyers have to think long and hard about as to whether he’s a cornerstone.

The 26-year-old defenseman is in Year 4 of a six-year, $40.5 million contract. He was a tough read last season but has been better this year with more stability around him.

If the Flyers are to listen on Provorov, they shouldn’t sell him short. There’s no denying his durability.

Tortorella has appreciated the way the stoic defenseman has pushed through outside noise this season. In January, Provorov made national headlines by not warming up because of the Flyers’ Pride Night-themed jerseys.

“He just plays,” Tortorella said Thursday. “There’s no nonsense to him. He doesn’t care about the drama, he doesn’t care about what you guys say. He goes out and plays and that’s what I’ve really, truly respected about him.”

“I wasn’t sure, when I first met him, how he was going to handle my coaching. I don’t think he was sure. I think there’s been a little roundabout way we’ve gone through it and gone through some situations, but I know each and every night he puts the uniform on, that we’re going to have no problem with his compete and how he’s going to play.”

Tony DeAngelo

The puck-moving defenseman is signed for only two years at a $5 million annual cap hit. Shorter-term contracts tend to be more appealing at the deadline and, as a result, easier to move.

In Year 1 of his deal, the 27-year-old DeAngelo has led all Flyers defensemen in goals (10) and assists (24), but also has a minus-27 rating.

If the Flyers wanted to clear some cap and get younger, they do have a 22-year-old puck-mover in Cam York and some other prospects on the back end.

Tortorella believes DeAngelo can be a part of the solution moving forward.

“Absolutely,” the head coach said Monday. “It’s our job to work on parts of the game that we feel they need work on. I think he has one of the best first passes in the National Hockey League, which is a very important thing to have on your team. Some teams don’t have it, to get you out of your end zone.

“He competes, he does all the things and the personality shows — it’s what we want. Do I think he’s a big part of trying to get us on the right track? Absolutely.”

DeAngelo is a local product and wants to be a Flyer. He has been an accountable player all season.

“I’m not very worried about my situation,” DeAngelo said Monday. “I think I’ll be all right. I would assume I’m going to be fine. You’ve actually got me thinking about it now. But I think I’ll be all right this time around.

“I’d like to right the ship here a little bit. I’d be very disappointed if anything did happen, in that sense, because I feel like I have a lot to give this team.”

The total surprises


Rasmus Ristolainen

In February, Tortorella called Ristolainen the Flyers’ most improved player. On Tuesday, Fletcher said Ristolainen has taken “massive strides this year.”

The 28-year-old plays a bruising, in-your-face style that many folks feel is well-suited for the playoffs.

He’s in Year 1 of a five-year, $25.5 million contract, but the Flyers would have to listen if a team came knocking with an overpay type of offer.

Joel Farabee

It would be absolutely stunning if Farabee was moved at the deadline. The Flyers view him as a foundation piece.

But maybe the recent report of his camp’s frustration caught the eyes of some clubs who might check in on his availability.

“For me right now, I’m 100 percent committed to being a Flyer, I love being here, I love playing for the city,” Farabee said last Friday. “That’s all I’m really focused on.”

Scott Laughton

The Flyers love Laughton and he loves the organization. He’s 28 years old, has just a $3 million cap hit and is having a career year as the Flyers’ alternate captain.

The only reason he’s listed here is because a player like him would demand a really, really nice return. Teams in the Flyers’ spot can’t rule out those tough decisions.

But it sure feels like he’s going to be here to lead the Flyers’ transition.

“I obviously want to win here, it’s a special place to me,” Laughton said in December. “I want to be a part of something that you can be proud of and our city can be proud of.”

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