2019 NHL Draft Preview: Could the Flyers Trade the 11th Pick?
As the week has progressed, we have looked at the prospects that could be available to the Flyers when the 11th overall pick rolls around on Friday night. But there is another scenario on the table that could be very different from what the Flyers have done in the past.
Could the Flyers trade the 11th overall pick?
It is an idea that GM Chuck Fletcher has certainly entertained, but then again, everything has been on the table this offseason. Fletcher is not actively looking to trade a fairly high draft pick, but he is not opposed to moving it for the right price.
“I’ve certainly mentioned it to teams that we’re open to any concepts,” Fletcher said on June 10. “There hasn’t really been a big push for the pick I will admit. At this point, as you get closer, things can change. We’ll see. If we keep our pick and stay at 11, we are still going to get a really good player. It is a pretty good chip. In certain scenarios, I would not hesitate to move it if it can really help our team.”
Obviously, there is nothing that holds the Flyers from trading the pick. If the right offer comes along and makes the team better, you certainly entertain it. But what is the right offer?
The right offer could in part of a package that fills a void for the current team. If you have your sights set on a top defenseman or a scoring winger via trade and the pick is the difference between adding an established player or taking a flier on a prospect, you would certainly consider the move.
Fletcher knows that the Flyers have to become a better team in 2019-20. It’s why he’s been aggressive on the trade market early in the offseason. He traded a fifth-round pick for the rights to free agent Kevin Hayes, and signed him to a seven-year, $50 million deal on Tuesday. He traded defenseman Radko Gudas for defenseman Matt Niskanen last Friday. He traded two draft picks, including this year’s second-round pick, for defenseman Justin Braun.
Fletcher is really just starting to make his mark on the team as draft weekend arrives. Following the draft, he will be able to finish off the team by re-signing restricted free agents and speaking with any free agents that may be available come July 1. It is expected that Fletcher could make some headway with agents of the restricted free agents on the roster during GM Meetings and at the Draft.
When it comes to constructing this team and a roster for next season, everything is in play. That said, it is not in the Flyers best interest to trade the pick unless it is for something that proves to be a substantial upgrade. If you were to package the pick and a prospect to make a significant roster upgrade or if you were to move up in the draft by packaging the pick and another from this year’s draft to get into the Top 10 to select a player you really want. That certainly becomes more difficult as your assets start to get depleted. With a second-round pick and fifth-round pick off the table, there may not be enough among picks alone to make a deal.
All of those things still fit the aggressive mindset that Fletcher has already shown this offseason, while still being conservative. Any move that is made has to be for the better of the team. That needs to be the mindset. If that means trading the 11th overall pick, Fletcher will have to determine if the right deal is worth the cost.
Kevin Durso is Flyers insider for 97.3 ESPN and Flyers editor for SportsTalkPhilly.com. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.