As has been mentioned on more occasions than one, this should be the offseason where Ron Hextall and the Philadelphia Flyers make a splash. With only a few free agents worth pursuing, it would be in the franchise’s best interest to peruse the trade market in search of upgrades to the current roster.
Philadelphia will approach addressing the blueline differently than how they will handle improving at both the forward positions and goaltending. They have an incredible group of young defensemen including Shayne Gostisbehere, Ivan Provorov, Travis Sanheim, Philippe Myers, Robert Hagg, and Samuel Morin (to a certain extent). Gostisbehere and Provorov are already the Flyers best two defensemen while players like Sanheim and Myers should be ready to demonstrate their worth on the NHL roster. If Hextall is going to look to improve his team’s defensive core through the trade market, it will be to replace someone like Radko Gudas or Andrew MacDonald with a proven player that can make an immediate impact.
Hextall may be comfortable keeping blueline as is, relying more on the youngsters than in year’s past. Still, there are indeed pieces out there that could entice the Flyers to make a deal.
Current Cap Hit: $6,500,000
Let’s go ahead and get the biggest name reported to be on the trade market out of the way now. Do I think that the Flyers will realistically be in play to land Karlsson this summer? No, not really. The asking price is going to be way more than Hextall will be comfortable paying and Philadelphia doesn’t necessarily “need” him. Still, with Ottawa dangling his name out there, you can bet that there will be 30 teams at least kicking the tires on Karlsson.
Current Cap Hit: $5,750,000
Outside of Karlsson, there may not be a blueliner who could be on the move that would make a bigger impact on his new team than Hamilton. He is a big, right-handed, top-pairing defenseman that skates well and can provide offense. It’s a bit head-scratching as to why Calgary would want to part ways with the 24-year-old defenseman, but the Flames are a franchise looking to shake things up. No matter who acquires him, Hamilton will provide Calgary with a sufficient return. Hamilton also has two more years on his current deal, giving the Flyers, or any other team, extended time with him. Philadelphia may have top-pairing defensemen in Gostisbehere and Provorov but adding Hamilton to the picture would only help.
Current Cap Hit: $4,833,333
It appears that Carolina may look to clean house this offseason, making Faulk an enticing name that could be available. He had a down year last season but is still a skilled puck-moving defenseman that can contribute on the powerplay. His struggles last season may lower Carolina’s asking price, but they may hesitate to deal with a Metropolitan Division team such as the Flyers. Like Hamilton, Faulk has two more years remaining on his current contract.
Current Cap Hit: $4,167,000
The Edmonton Oilers are another one of those franchises where things are a complete mess. Klefbom has been rumored to be available which doesn’t make much sense for the Oilers. Anyhow, he would provide a drastic improvement to the Flyers top four. He will be 25 by the beginning of next season and is on the books until 2023. The term left on his contract might make Hextall shy away a bit; however, he is young enough where it should not deter him from at least seeing what Edmonton would want in return.