Flyers Deadline Approach Should Not Change Despite Standings
For the first time in a long time, the Flyers are in a position to be buyers, to take a chance at the trade deadline. Usually, this time of year is reserved for talks of selling, or acquiring more draft picks for the ongoing rebuild through prospects.
But as the Flyers prepare for a game on Monday night in Montreal in the aftermath of the deadline at 3 p.m., they sit one point back of the division lead and comfortably in the playoff picture.
This puts GM Ron Hextall in a new position as well. For a change, he can look at the market and see if there are any options that improve the team in the here and now.
Despite the rise in the standings and the flurry of activity from Eastern Conference counterparts, Hextall needs to stay the course. In fact, the Flyers don’t have to do a thing at this deadline.
Hextall already made one move pre-deadline, acquiring goaltender Petr Mrazek from Detroit for a pair of conditional draft picks. This move was essentially a nod to the current team, a way of saying that by pushing back into the playoff picture, Hextall was going to let them move forward and see where things go this season without making major changes.
Essentially, the Flyers are already playing with house money. Expectations were mainly based around a playoff appearance, and the Flyers were likely going to be right on the line between making and missing the postseason.
With the Flyers as high as they are in the standings, this is already exceeding some of the expectations. Even as other teams spend a small fortune on rental players, there is no reason for the Flyers to further risk their future on a postseason run that will prove to be a huge experience to the young players already on the roster.
The Flyers could be in the market for a depth forward or third-pairing defenseman, and there have been rumors where they have been “looking” at Buffalo forward Evander Kane, but trading prospects and picks is not Hextall’s style.
For four seasons, Hextall has stockpiled picks and prospects and started to build a team around this blueprint. Some of Hextall’s earliest picks are now part of this team as they start to make strides in the Eastern Conference playoff picture.
Hextall’s trade deadline approach has always been about making deals that make the most sense for the team. That will be the case again this season. If a deal makes sense, Hextall will explore it and perhaps take action. If it doesn’t and the price is too high, he will stick with what he has.
The Flyers are prepared for either option. The pressure is off as this deadline hits. The Flyers are not going to be sellers. If they choose to add, it’s even more of a message to the team going forward that this team is expected to make noise in the playoffs this year. If not, the Flyers can certainly use this current playoff run and channel that into making an offseason move.
Regardless, the Flyers have made a good situation for themselves, one where they are not selling.
Kevin Durso is Flyers editor for SportsTalkPhilly.com. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.