Heading into the NHL Trade Deadline, the Flyers find themselves in a very enviable position, sitting just one point back of first place with just 20 games left, they have established themselves as contenders in the eastern conference, and look poised to make noise down the stretch run.
But before that, is the Trade Deadline, and the Flyers, like many teams, are looking to improve on their current roster heading to the final push towards the playoffs.
And even though they have looked good these past couple weeks, there are always ways the Flyers can improve.
One of these areas has already been addressed, as just last week GM Ron Hextall struck a deal with Detroit to bring goaltender Petr Mrazek to the Flyers for conditional 3rd and 4th round picks. After injuries to both Brian Elliott and Michal Neuvirth, Hextall was not willing to put the team’s entire playoff hopes on the shoulders of 25 year old Alex Lyon just yet, and Mrazek seems like a perfect stop-gap option who is also capable of getting hot at any moment.
But netminders aside, the Flyers have a couple other needs that they could fill for the stretch run. One of those being another depth scoring forward. The Flyers bottom six depth has been decent throughout the season and especially in the second half, but going into the stretch run, more help would definitely be welcomed. Specifically on the wings, currently the Flyers have Dale Weise, Jori Lethera, Oskar Lindblom, Jordan Weal, Taylor Leier and Michael Raffl. That group, while not exactly untalented, is lacking a proven NHL scorer, it could be beneficial for the Flyers to maybe add in another scoring forward with speed for the playoff run. Michael Grabner has already been traded to the Devils already, and his sort of production would have been welcome, but there are some other targets the Flyers could be looking at. Players like Ryan Dzingel of the Senators, or Joel Ward of San Jose could definitely have an impact on the Flyers if they choose to pursue that route.
The Flyers could also use a rental defenseman, now that need could probably be filled within the organization by bringing up Travis Sanheim, but Ron Hextall seems reluctant to bring up his young stalwart no matter how good he may play in the AHL. So, the other option would be to look on the trade market for a middle or bottom pairing defenseman, some names that have been floated around being Ian Cole, who was just traded to the Senators from Pittsburgh, as well as Connor Murphy of the Blackhawks. Truthfully, these players are not a signifigant improvement over Travis Sanheim, but they would more than likely be better than Brandon Manning.
We’ll have to see what the Flyers do at the deadline, they are in a good position in which they do not have to force a deal, and should be able to get good value in what is mostly a buyer’s market. It will be interesting to see what changes once Monday’s deadline comes around.
Featured Image// Martin Boucher, Flickr Creative Commons