There was a bit of chatter around the Flyers on two occasions before the NHL trade deadline. The first bit of news was that Hextall had supposedly turned down an offer for Radko Gudas that would have given the Flyers two 2nd round draft picks; which was the first hint we got that maybe Hextall wasn’t so willing to sell. Then there was a rumor that the Flyers were trying pretty hard to acquire Jonathan Drouin from the Tampa Bay Lightning; the deal never happened and Drouin is still in Tampa, suspended indefinitely. The rumors said that the Lightning wanted a substantial chunk of the future that Hextall wouldn’t think of giving up. Something like Schenn+picks+Travis Sanheim was what the Lightning were looking for.
The Flyers made one move at the trade deadline, and it wasn’t even a trade. After the Florida Panthers failed to put up an offer that Hextall felt was beneficial for Michael Raffl, the Flyers signed him to an extension. The three-year contract, worth $2.35 million per season, is a decent deal for the Flyers. While Raffl isn’t a top line scoring talent, his possession numbers are at the same level as a first liner. On an elite team, Raffl would be a solid 3rd liner, and that’s the kind of contract he got. Raffl is making less than comparable players like Eric Nystrom and
Raffl is making less than comparable players like Eric Nystrom, Blake Comeau, and Jannik Hansen. His p5-v-5 points/60 isn’t as good as those players, but his +5.10% Corsi Relative blows them out of the water. Raffl is a play driver who has trouble finishing off plays. He’s good at getting his linemates chances and can be a 20-30 point player depending on the quality of his linemates.
“When looking at these comparables, it’s fair to say that the Flyers paid about market value for Raffl’s point production while getting a bargain on his puck possession capabilities.” – Broad Street Hockey.
We thought that Hextall would try to clear out the blueline for some prospects that are expected to come up next season, but a season-ending injury to Michael Del Zotto may have kept Hextall from moving players like Gudas or Mark Streit. In a press conference after the deadline was passed, Hextall made it clear that none of the deals that were available made sense for the long-term benefit of the team.
“You owe your players, the organization, the fans a certain amount. If something made sense long-term, we would have done it.”
— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) February 29, 2016
Drouin would have made them better today, but it would have cost the Flyers a substantial part of the future. Gudas could have been dealt, but with Del Zotto out for the season, it may have weakened the defense a little more than Hextall would have liked. Michael Raffl is an asset to the Flyers lineup no matter where he’s playing in it, dealing him to Florida for anything less than what Hextall was asking would have been a loss.
So take solace in the fact that we have a general manager who has no delusions about what his roster can do. Hextall knows what he has. He knows what’s coming, and most importantly, he knows what every player is worth.