It’s the most anticipated day on the league calendar as general managers work the phones to make that one acquisition that could put them over the top in their quest for a Stanley Cup.
Here’s everything you need to know from a Flyers perspective leading up to the NHL’s Trade Deadline.
When is the actual deadline?
Monday at 3 p.m. However, teams don’t necessarily need a deal to be signed, sealed and completed by then. As long as the framework of a trade is in place, teams can finalize the details in the minutes preceding the deadline.
Can the Flyers realistically make the playoffs?
Let’s simply look at the two most recent seasons in which they failed to make the postseason.
In 2015, with 20 games remaining on the schedule, the Flyers were 10th in the East, six points back of the final wild card.
In 2017, with 20 games left, the Flyers were 11th in the East, and just four points back of the final wild-card spot.
As it stands right now, the Flyers are once again 11th in the East, but seven points behind the Carolina Hurricanes for the last wild card position with the Penguins and Sabres ahead of them. It doesn’t look promising at all.
According to the website sportsclubstats.com the Flyers’ chances of reaching the playoffs currently stand at 1.8 percent, even after their electrifying win over the Penguins Saturday night.
How should the Flyers approach the deadline?
They should look to improve their team for next season and beyond.
It appears general manager Chuck Fletcher has already taken steps to do that by adding goaltender Cam Talbot, who I expect will be re-signed on a two-year contract, while also adding organizational depth with right winger Justin Bailey.
Fletcher has stated he will not add a “rental” — a player in the final year of his contract, like Wayne Simmonds.
Currently, the Flyers have 23 players on the active roster, but after the deadline, there’s no limit. However, all 31 teams still have to comply with the salary cap. Organizationally, the Flyers have some flexibility with 46 (max-50) standard player contracts, which means they can certainly add to their prospect pool.
Which notable players could be on the move?
Every indication suggests Simmonds will be dealt. The feeling in talking with the players is that Saturday night’s game was a farewell of sorts. Unless Fletcher believes a new contract can be completed between now and July 1, the Flyers GM is better off making a deal and getting younger in the process.
There’s a lot of smoke surrounding defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere right now. TSN analyst Bob McKenzie told a Montreal radio station last month that Ghost could be moved if the price is right. There are a handful of teams looking to improve their power play and he can certainly add that element.
Forward Michael Raffl is in the final year of his contract and could provide depth and versatility at a very manageable salary.
Which teams will be buzzing Chuck Fletcher’s phone?
I think Fletcher could be fielding calls from as many as 8 to 10 teams. David Poile and the Nashville Predators are heavily linked to Simmonds, as are the Jets and the Lightning.
The Maple Leafs would like to add some toughness and grit and I’m not discounting organizations like the Islanders, Canadiens and Avalanche, all in playoff positioning with plenty of salary cap space to work with.
How has Ron Hextall helped Chuck Fletcher moving forward?
The Flyers’ former GM was firm in not giving players a no-trade clause. Claude Giroux has a no-movement clause, but Fletcher considers the captain untouchable.
Simmonds has a modified no-trade clause where he can deny a trade to a list of 12 teams of his choosing. However, don’t expect that to get in the way if there’s a team that covets Simmonds.
It’s a barrier that Fletcher doesn’t need to be concerned with as any player can be moved at any time.
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