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Wayne Simmonds (photo via TheScore)

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Wayne Simmonds tops list of tradeable Flyers

At the time of this writing, the Flyers sit 26th in the NHL, “earning” a top five potential lottery pick. New GM Chuck Fletcher has the opportunity to change the future as a clear-cut seller in his first deadline with Philadelphia.

Fletcher has already gotten his feet wet with a few smaller trades: Jordan Weal to Arizona, Taylor Leier to Buffalo. Neither of these trades are important to the short or long term success of the franchise. Listed are what should be his top priorities.

Wayne Simmonds

I wrote an article directly claiming that Wayne Simmonds should not be traded, but that’s the NHL. Fact is, the worst thing Fletcher can do is re-sign Simmonds to an expected long term deal. At 30 years old, this is his last real chance to get big money. A contender would love to have this player, but he’s almost purely a rental.

Rory Boylen at Sportsnet Canada gave a list of seven likely destinations, leading with Toronto. Also listed was the Avalanche, Stars, Bruins, Sabres, Blue Jackets, and the Ducks.

Once worth a sizable haul, he’s hit a noticeable decline, albeit an expected one. Fletcher should get a 2nd round pick, plus a young AHL forward to help out in Lehigh Valley. This graph shows his value as a player, and he’s right around the second and third line forward benchmark. Simmonds has to submit a 12 team list of accepted trade destinations.

”The goal would be to either have him signed or moved by the trade deadline,” said Fletcher about Simmonds. He shouldn’t be difficult to move, and a Cup chasing team may be desperate enough to give up a first rounder.

Dale Weise

In his best season as a Flyer, Weise has found himself clear through waivers and sitting at home waiting patiently. Apparently, they’ve told him not to report to the AHL Phantoms after he requested a trade.

Weise has another year left on his deal after this one, and at a $2.5M cap hit, isn’t breaking the bank. While Fletcher isn’t pressured to make a decision before the deadline as he is with Simmonds, Weise won’t bring too much back in the form of assets.

With Weise at home, pretty much any return is a plus for Philadelphia.

Jake Voracek

Voracek, like Simmonds, is an integral part of the Flyers core group. The difference is, Voracek could net an absolute haul in comparison.

Voracek would be coming with plenty of term on his deal at an $8M plus cap hit. He’s too expensive for any true contender to add him without dumping their own salary in return. However, that doesn’t rule out a Ryan Johansen for Seth Jones type of trade.

Voracek is a top-line talent worthy of a quality defenseman in return— or even a mentor goaltender for Carter Hart. Though, with each game he starts, Hart looks more and more like he has the crease figured out. The Flyers shouldn’t need to go crazy looking for a 1A to his 1B.

The Flyers should absolutely entertain offers for the Czech winger, but there’s no hurry to move him. A popular mock-up sends Voracek to St. Louis for all-star sniper Vladimir Tarasenko. Two struggling teams giving their core a shake-up could work something out, but the Flyers would likely need to add to this.

Brian Elliott

This is something that before Hart’s emergence would have been suicide, as he’s the only other keeper keeping the puck even remotely out of the net. In a contract year, coming off injury, he may not be coming back.

Elliott would make a very good backup for a starting goaltender with questionable health— provided he can stay healthy. He could have 3rd round pick value, it’s just a matter of which team has a fit for him. Calgary could probably stand to give Big Save Dave some help. Mike Smith’s statistics aren’t sparkling.

With Hart playing so well, it’s not out of the picture that the Flyers could rotate three goalies (Hart, Neuvirth, Stolarz) given their injury histories. Hart should still get the majority of starts, and the other two just need to stay alive. Neuvirth would be a trade-able asset if he could stay healthy longer than a couple of weeks at a time.

On the other hand, a Hart-Elliott tandem next season doesn’t sound too bad.

Michael Raffl

This name hasn’t appeared in too many rumors, but he is in a contract year. Raffl is a skilled bottom-six winger who can briefly fill in anywhere in the lineup.

Fortunately for the Flyers, it sounds like they have this in abundance coming from the Phantoms next year. If there’s a market for Raffl, it needs to be capitalized on. It won’t be the end of the world if they don’t, though.

Nicknamed RafflCopter by the team for going flying after a goal once, he would probably get a 5th round pick or a younger player with similar upside. Depth guys win championships.

Post-Deadline: Determine Call-ups

With the above hopefully on to bigger and better teams, this opens more ice time for the younger, up and coming wingers depending on who comes back in return. Three wingers leaving the lineup leaves guys like Oskar Lindblom filling in with more minutes. This could likely even spell a call-up for Nicolas Aube-Kubel, who is currently injured, and Sam Morin will be back and ready to play around this time next month. Fletcher will almost definitely keep him on the NHL roster, seeing as he has to clear waivers to be sent down.

Phil Myers has been one of the top scoring 5v5 defensemen in the entire AHL after a relatively slow start. However, the Flyers have a bit of a logjam on the back end, especially with Morin coming back. Radko Gudas and Robert Hagg could have value for teams looking to add depth to their defensive end, and a move will probably need to happen to clear the depth chart.

Another name that could have some a little value is Scott Laughton. In a contract year, he has potential to be moved, though less likely seeing as he’s a restricted free agent still.

Wayne Simmonds is the most realistic, number one trade piece for Chuck Fletcher. With his recent play (2 goals, 2 assists) in the last three games, his value is going up. Former GM Ron Hextall and Simmonds reportedly were not close on a contract agreement, and it’s hard to imagine Fletcher making much more progress. Unless they can come to an agreement soon, he’s gone.

 

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