“According to a source…”
Does that sound familiar? Of course it does, it’s what you hear almost year around February with the trade deadline looming on the horizon. Do yourself a favor and search Evander Kane’s name on Twitter and most of the results will involve something about the Flyers.
We’ve been through this before, right? Right.
Why The Flyers Don’t Need An Evander Kane
A few of the reports I came across online stated that sources close to the team were saying that the Flyers would be willing to give up significant prospects to acquire Kane or another big name to bolster their scoring. Let that sink in for a moment. To bolster their scoring. In what world do the Flyers need to bolster their scoring? They have three forwards who are averaging a point per game, 9 players with at least 10 goals, and one of the best records in the conference since that abysmal losing streak. Does that sound like a team that needs to shake things up with a big move on the offensive front?
Not in the least.
On top of that, you also have to consider the who Evander Kane is and what the consequences of acquiring a guy like him would be. First of all, Kane has cracked the 50 point plateau once in his NHL career, that is hardly the offensive presence that anyone has been dreaming over in Philadelphia. In fact, where would you even put Kane in this lineup? The Flyers have a pretty group of forwards right now. Giroux-Couturier-Konecny isn’t going to be broken apart anytime soon, Voracek-Patrick-Simmonds has looked stellar at times and has really allowed Nolan Patrick to start showing signs of success, and Raffl-Laughton-Weal has been an in-your-face third line that has speed and can pose a scoring threat.
Of course, you do have Weise-Filppula-Lehtera, and you might be saying “well he could replace Lehtera!”, well, it’s not really that simple. Throw Kane into the mix and then what? Expect him to change the whole dynamic of that line and score? That won’t happen.
Within all of that is the bigger picture. Kane is on the last year of his contract and that means one of two things. He’s either going to be a rental player, or the Flyers re-sign him. Neither of those makes sense. Ron Hextall obviously has a long-term plan for this team, and quite frankly this season has been a pleasant surprise in terms of where they are at. Do they really want to trade away future assets for a player that would be here for a few months?
There’s also no shot that Kane (or a player like him) would be a part of a long-term plan here. Morgan Frost could easily eclipse Kane’s production once he hits the bigs, Konecny could easily eclipse Kane’s production by next year, and Patrick isn’t going anywhere soon. On top of that, the Flyers will need the cap space to sign guys like Provorov and Simmonds.
Kane, or any other player of his stature, isn’t needed on this team right now.
What Do The Flyers Need?
The answer to that question is goaltending, at least for the short-term.
There have been countless games recently where I’ve found myself thinking that either Brian Elliott, or in last night’s case Michal Neuvirth, has stolen a game for the Flyers. The problem is that both of them have had their fair share of injury problems this season. Alex Lyon will have a future in the NHL, but to ask him to possibly step in a playoff game might be a lot to ask.
The Flyers could easily trade away a few of their picks or some lower level prospects for a veteran goaltender. That could be where the rumors with Buffalo are coming from, Chad Johnson would fit that role perfectly, but it certainly wouldn’t involve any highly touted prospects on the Flyers end. That is one of the Flyers needs.
The same goes for defense. If the Flyers could somehow trade for a veteran defenseman who has a low cap hit and can eat up minutes in place of Brandon Manning, then I would pull the trigger, but only if it doesn’t involve trading away those highly-touted prospects.
The other one of their needs is addition by subtraction. While highly unlikely, if the Flyers could somehow shed a guy like Weise, Lehtera, or even Filppula. Despite not scoring much, I do think Filppula has defensive upside and has anchored down that fourth line to some extent. He easily would have the most value out of all three of those guys.
Other than acquiring a veteran goaltender, the Flyers will really win at the deadline by being silent. They have the young core in place, their big guns are putting up big numbers, and despite that 10-game losing streak, they have been one of the best teams in the conference as of late. No big moves is the moves for the Philadelphia Flyers.