The Philadelphia Flyers should look to Vegas to make a deal

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /

While all of the potential trade drama surrounding the Philadelphia Flyers concerns the fate of Claude Giroux, we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that there could be other deals to be made between now and the NHL’s trade deadline on March 21.

One interesting situation is developing in the desert, where the Vegas Golden Knights are completely capped out to the point that they will need to shed salary in order to become compliant. There are legitimately good players to be had. And, if you’ve looked at the NHL standings for more than ten seconds this year, it should be pretty obvious that the Flyers could use some.

Thus, I believe that Chuck Fletcher and company should be very interested in becoming the Knights’ trade partner to help them out of their predicament.

The Philadelphia Flyers and Vegas Golden Knights could help each other out by striking a deal.

It was obvious that Vegas would have to make a move or two to slash money from the minute they traded for Jack Eichel this past offseason. And while they were able to stash him on long-term injured reserve (LTIR) for much of the season, he’s back now. They’ve saved themselves some headaches for the time being by placing Mark Stone on LTIR, but the bill will come due eventually. Vegas needs to move some money out, and they have attractive pieces that they could offer.

If Flyers management is sincere in its recent message about trying to “aggressively retool” the club rather than simply bottom out and start from scratch, I highly suggest getting a leg up on things now, before this disaster of a season reaches its conclusion. Competitive teams will be making maneuvers for a playoff push or to bulk up a squad that’s already playoff-bound, and moribund teams like the Flyers can use that to their advantage now in a way that they can’t in the offseason, where everyone is back on theoretically equal footing.

To be clear, Vegas won’t just give guys away, and they’re no doubt prepared to undertake whatever salary cap gymnastics they have to if they don’t find a viable deal that can help them. But I look at a player like Reilly Smith ($5 million cap hit) and see someone that could be a nice addition for the Flyers. The complicating factor with Smith is that he will be a free agent after this season, so obviously you would have to try to retain him to make it worth your while to trade for him. He’s not a flashy player, but he would bring the kind of consistent scoring that the Flyers always seem to lack.

And then there’s William Karlsson ($5.9 million), a divisive player, to be sure. He’s failed to replicate the offensive breakout that he had during the Golden Knights’ inaugural season, but he remains a useful player with very good underlying metrics, for those who are analytically inclined. Karlsson is on the other end of the contact spectrum, as he is locked in for another five years after this one. He does possess a modified no-trade clause, however, so it’s not clear if the Flyers are one of the ten teams that he chose when he offered up his list of teams he didn’t want to play for. (Insert joke here.)

At any rate, a trade for Karlsson means you get him for the long haul, and he would honestly be an upgrade over much of what the Flyers have, even if he doesn’t bring elite offense. If you want to retool on the fly, he’d be a good place to start.

Depth forward William Carrier would also be a nice player to pluck from Vegas, but his modest salary ($1.4 million) means that they’ll most likely end up holding onto him unless he ends up as part of a bigger move.

Finally, defenseman Alec Martinez is worth a long look. Like Stone, he is currently stashed on LTIR, and his status for the rest of this season remains murky. I can already hear Flyers fans panicking about the thought of trading for another hurt defenseman (see: Ellis, Ryan), but this would be a worthwhile gamble. If Vegas feels that Martinez won’t be able to suit up this year, they should be compelled to get something of value for him, and then rest secure in the knowledge that they don’t need to shoehorn his salary back onto the roster next year if/when he is heathy.

Meanwhile, the Flyers would have no need to play him this year, and they can start with a clean slate next year. Martinez does have one of those pesky modified no-trade clauses in his contract as well, so it’s not 100 percent certain that he could be dealt to the Flyers, but we’re taking all possibilities into account here.

Of course, you can’t get something for nothing (unless you’re acquiring Shayne Gostisbehere), and so the Flyers will have to surrender the typical types of picks and prospects you might expect. Vegas isn’t in a position to import much salary, of course, but it remains to be seen if “young and cheap” would be good enough for them or if they would demand the kind of assets that might make the Flyers balk. Stay tuned to see just how “aggressive” the Flyers actually want to be.

Next. Ron Hextall's GM Draft Grades. dark

On its surface, it might sound odd for a team in the Philadelphia Flyers’ situation to bring in players for the final few weeks of a season like this. But there’s no time like the present to plan for next year and beyond. The Flyers can start to turn their future fortunes by being proactive now, because not all opportunities may exist once this season mercifully concludes for the Orange and Black.