How the Philadelphia Flyers Can Move Up in the NHL DraftBREAKING NEWS, Flyers, News, NHL Thursday, June 21st, 2012
I’ve been reluctant to craft mock drafts or post my educated, if not completely unreliable, predictions on who they could select simply because this organization is too unpredictable to bother guessing at.
The fact that the team is tied very heavily into the potential trades of superstars Rick Nash and Bobby Ryan is a perfect example of this. Both are excellent players to have on any team, but at what cost and to fill what void?
The asking price for both players appears to include one of Sean Couturier or Brayden Schenn, among other assets, and all signs point to the Flyers being unwilling to part with either forward. James van Riemsdyk, on the other hand, is being dangled as the prize catch for any potential swapping of picks.
Both Bill Meltzer from HockeyBuzz and Dustin Leed from The Hockey Guys have confirmed that the Flyers told several of the top-ranked draft eligible players that, if the Flyers can move up in the draft, they will be calling their names.
The Flyers are only likely to move up, though, if the players they covet are still on the board by the time they can pull off a trade. So who are their potential trading partners?
- The Edmonton Oilers – Don’t count on it.
- The Columbus Blue Jackets – Fool me once…
- The Montreal Canadiens – Finished in 15th place. They need improvement in every area of the game, so there’s little the Flyers have to offer to warrant giving up on a potential franchise player.
- The New York Islanders – Good luck trading with an Atlantic Division rival.
- The Toronto Maple Leafs – Now we’re talking. Leafs general manager Brian Burke is a shrewd salesman that could sell refrigerators to eskimos. In spite of having few blue chip prospects or players in his system, he’s always been capable of putting a shine on those that gleam the dullest.Take Luke Schenn. Please! (Cue snare drum). A former 5th overall pick in 2008, Schenn has been tossed in trade speculation with JVR since last year, and yet he’s one of their worst defensemen. He faced weak competition, had a negative Corsi rating (meaning he was on the ice for more shots against than shots for), and averaged just 16:02 of ice time. It only cost them $3.6 million.
By comparison, Marc-Andre Bourdon and Erik Gustafsson both saw slightly weaker competition than Schenn, but finished with a positive Corsi rating and with a higher average time on ice. These were inexpensive rookies versus a four-year veteran in the NHL.
Schenn does have other redeeming values, but the point is that he’s not worth JVR. The #5 overall pick may not be either when all is said and done, but if there’s a defenseman that the Flyers feel can contribute now and be their Shea Weber, then maybe it’s worth it.
- The Anaheim Ducks – The Ducks finished 24thin the NHL in goals per game. Bobby Ryan did just fine under coach Bruce Boudreau, but a number of their top nine – Ryan Getzlaf, Saku Koivu, Jason Blake, and Matt Beleskey to name a few- underperformed beyond even meager expectations. Finnish reports suggest Teemu Selanne will return for one more season, but even that train is going to eventually run out of steam.If the Ducks think James van Riemsdyk is going to bloom the way the Flyers organization banked last season, then they may consider moving down from #6 to #20. The loss of top defensive prospect Justin Schultz to free agency, though, may convince them to draft another top defenseman (especially considering Lubomir Visnovsky isn’t getting any younger either).
- The Minnesota Wild – The Wild finished dead last in goals per game, but were in the top half for goals-against per game. They could still use another top defenseman, but their goaltending is set between Niklas Backstrom and recently re-signed back-up Josh Harding.Unlike most teams, the Wild have made it public that they intend to outbid every other organization when it comes to Minnesota-born free agent Zach Parise. With a crop of highly touted prospects expected to make the jump to the NHL next season as well, 2012-13 could be the season that they “go for it.” To be clear, “it” is “making the playoffs.” Trading down from #7 to #20 for offensive support is definitely within reason, especially considering they have about $19 million to spend on five open roster spots.
- The Carolina Hurricanes – The Hurricanes are in an interesting position in that they don’t really have a “go for broke” roster or pool of prospects, as much as they have a solid foundation in which to build from. It’s hard to imagine that any given player is going to be the “missing piece,” but it’s become public knowledge at this point that they would consider moving the #8 overall pick if it could land Jordan Staal from Pittsburgh.TSN’s Bob McKenzie reported today that Staal rejected a ten-year “mega contract” from the Penguins. He didn’t rule out signing one in the future, but it’s also become clear he’s very open to playing with his brother Eric in Carolina. Don’t be shocked if Pittsburgh ends up drafting here tomorrow evening.
- The Winnipeg Jets – The Jets are in a similar position to the Hurricanes, but for some reason they’re having difficulty signing restricted free agents Evander Kane and Ondrej Pavelec. With one of the lowest payrolls in the NHL, it’d be surprising if they were willing to take on JVR’s contract. It’s also worth noting that their offense was just fine, finishing in-between the New York Rangers and the San Jose Sharks in goals-per-game. It was their defense that struggled. If the Flyers wanted to get their attention, they’d have to consider moving a defenseman.
- The Tampa Bay Lightning – For some reason, Steve Yzerman has gotten the better of Paul Holmgren in nearly every deal they’ve made to date. Andrej Meszaros has been decent for a 2nd round pick, but losing additional assets and Simon Gagne for the likes of Matt Walker and Pavel Kubina has been less than illuminating. No point in making him look smarter.
Realistically, the Flyers can move up from #20 to any of the spots between #5 and #9. The difficulty will be outbidding any other teams for those positions.
If any general manager can pull it off, though, it’s Paul Holmgren.
For the latest Flyers news and updates, you can follow me on twitter (@JoshJanet).
Short URL: http://gcobb.com/?p=31149