The Flyers are on a 2-game winning streak after a shootout win over the Ottawa Senators, and an OT thriller over the Washington Capitals, yet still sit 6th in their division and 9 points out of a wild card spot. It seems like the playoff cut-off number will be anywhere from 90-94 points to make the last wild card spot if the other teams in the conference continue to play like they have in the first half of the season. After getting only 39 points out of 41 games, the Flyers would need 53 points from the next 41 just to hit the 92 mark, and then still might not make the playoffs. To get 53 points out of 41 games we would need a record close to 22-10-9, much like the first half of the season of the Detroit Red Wings. If they have trouble making it to overtime however, then you’re then looking at 27 wins over 41 games (65% of the games would have to be won). Is it impossible? Of course it’s not, we did it last season. However it’s very unlikely to say the least. Barring some late season magic, let’s explore some potential options the Flyers have prior to, or on March 2nd, the trade deadline.
Once it’s January, teams start to look at themselves and start to decide if they’re a seller or a buyer. The Flyers probably won’t have a tough time deciding what to do this time. Assuming Hextall decides we will be a selling team, expect some older players to be shipped off to bring in some draft picks for a deep draft class. Here are 5 players that we could potentially move out of Philadelphia.
1. Braydon Coburn. The Flyers fill-in #1 defenseman is in his 9th year in orange and black and it could very well be his last. The 29-year old defenseman has been linked to trades over the past couple seasons but a trade has never been finalized. With Ron Hextall’s plan for the future it might just be time a deal will actually happen to send #5 out of Philadelphia.
2. Mark Streit. Streit has been an offensive threat for his entire career, as well as looked at as a leader. He has captained the Islanders and was most recently named an alternate captain by the Flyers. However, at 38 years old, there’s really not a good reason for the Flyers to keep him if they are looking to have a mini-rebuild. They could easily find a playoff bound team with a struggling power play that would love to have a guy like Streit join them for a deep run in the postseason.
3. Vincent Lecavalier. After the dramatic increase in his play as of late, the Flyers just might find a team willing to take on Lecavalier’s cap-hit if they were to retain 25-50% of it. Since December 21st, Vinny has put up 6 points over a span of 9 games playing on a line with Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Chris VandeVelde. He only has 12 points throughout 27 games, which isn’t the nicest numbers to look at but he’s been playing a lot better as of late, which is great timing for Hextall to explore options.
4. Nicklas Grossmann. Nicklas Grossmann has never been, and never will be that flashy defenseman but throughout his career he’s shown that he’s a steady blue-liner who can lay the body and block shots. Much to the same reason I have Coburn on this list, is because the new management in charge might just be ready to make a complete roster shakeup. He already has his career high in goals (3) this season and is on pace for about 16 points. If his recent injury isn’t more series than just being out 3 weeks, expect Grossmann to be sent out this year.
5. Nick Schultz. Surprisingly, Schultz has become one of the better penalty killers the Flyers have had this season. Signed as a depth defenseman, Schultz could end up being traded to a team for a 3rd round pick, like when the Flyers moved Meszaros to Boston last season, which would be a great trade for us, and the team getting him.
Now this might mean nothing if the Flyers go on a nice 7 game winning streak to start the 2nd half, but for now the playoffs seem very unlikely. This year’s trade deadline has got to go better than last year, when we acquired Andrew MacDonald and quickly signed him to a hefty contract extension, so that’s a positive to remember as March creeps up on us.