Monday night the Flyers stayed alive in their quest to salvage their season and make the playoffs as they defeated the Bruins 3-2 in the shoot out. The team now sits 3 points behind the Bruins, a team they play twice (depending on when you read this) before Mondays trade deadline. But the big decision the Flyers have isnt whether or not the team should be buyers at the deadline, but instead who they are selling.
Buying at this point is pointless. And in his most recent podcast, NHL Insider Elliote Friedman said that the Flyers have all but given up on this season. They’re thinking more long term. So while it was thought the team might be in on guys like Mattias Ekholm, their poor play has turned the Flyers from buyers to sellers. Chuck Fletcher and company don’t want to give up assets on a season thats gone about as well as the year 2020.
And while they havent played well this season, the Flyers still have some enticing players for teams who are contending. A guy like Michael Raffl is in the last year of his contract and is on an affordable contract. Which is huge for teams who are up against the cap. Nolan Patrick is an RFA after the season but if the Flyers were to move on from the former #2 overall pick it would likely happen after the season.
The most enticing trade piece for the Flyers is Scott Laughton. The former 20th overall pick has really established himself as a very solid bottom six forward. And a center is usually the most sought after position come the trade deadline. Laughton can kill penalties, win faceoffs, and isnt a liability out there. A perfect bottom six forward. And a player that could fetch a second round pick and then some from a team. But will they make the deal?
Laughton is 26 years old and on the final year of his deal. But he LOVES Philadelphia. He loves being a Flyer (according to Friedman) and the question is, could the Flyers hold onto Laughton and try and sign him long term. A potential Laughton deal could be what Sean Couturier signed in 2015. Couturier signed a 6 year deal with an AAV of $4.33 million. Couturier was younger, but and he was slightly more productive at the time offensively. Also with a flat cap you have to wonder what the Flyers are willing to do. But hypothetically could a 4 year deal with a $3.85-$4 million AAV get it done?
The Flyers have to figure out what they want to do and in a hurry. The clock is ticking.