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Philadelphia Flyers at the Crossroads of Selling or Buying

Navigating the Trade Deadline: Should the Philadelphia Flyers experiment with buying this deadline, or should they be selling on some players?

Last season, with a struggling 21-21-9 record, the Philadelphia Flyers hit the All-Star break eyeing down the NHL Entry Draft. Their goal was to draft generational talent Connor Bedard. This season, the Flyers have a 25-19-6 record and sit third in the Metropolitan Division. With this sudden change of momentum, Flyers’ general manager Daniel Briere sees himself in quite the dilemma: Does he buy this deadline in pursuit of the playoffs, or does he sell high on overachieving players to continue building for the future? 

Daniel Briere Flyers GM NHL

The Flyers have the fourth-longest Stanley Cup drought, dating back to the 1974-1975 season. It was then the organization faced off against the Buffalo Sabres in the Stanley Cup Final. The Broadstreet Bullies prevailed victorious in a 4-2 series win led by captain Bobby Clarke. He was supported by legendary Flyers alumni such as Dave Schultz, Bill Barber, Bernie Parent, Ed Van Impe, etc. It has been 48 years since the Flyers have hoisted the greatest trophy in all of sports. This drought of success might be the leading factor as to why Briere would buy this deadline.

What The Flyers Might Be Looking to Buy

With a bountiful prospect pool and valuable picks, Briere could seek a halt in rebuilding now and end this cup drought. With teams like Nashville potentially ready to sell on star goaltender Juuse Saros, Briere could look to go all in on replacing the goaltending presence lacking from the absence of Carter Hart.

Juuse Saros trade rumors

The Flyers could also look at bolstering the top six on offense. Their top rival, the Pittsburgh Penguins might be selling on expiring contract Jake Guentzel. Guentzel was previously connected with the Vancouver Canucks, but as of Wednesday, January 31st, the Canucks had bargained a deal with the Calgary Flames to secure forward Elias Lindholm. This opens the door for Briere to step in and buy Guentzel. Not only does Guentzel have playoff experience, but he knows what it feels like to win the Stanley Cup. He was on the 2016-2017 roster when the Penguins beat the Nashville Predators 4-2.

The addition of a few players could go a long way for this Flyers team. 

Why They Might Sell and Stick With Their Players

While being a buyer might be enticing, the Flyers are still young, with talent improving daily. Young players like Bobby Brink, Tyson Foerster, Noah Cates, Cam York, and Jamie Drysdale are improving at very impressive rates. The Flyers also have a highly praised prospect pool in the crease, with generational talent Matvei Michkov. In fact, with the eventual addition of Alexei Kolosov and Ivan Fedotov, losing Carter Hart might not be an issue.

If Briere decides to be patient and continue building on this potential dynasty in the making, he could look to sell on overachieving players for even more picks and prospects. With most teams in the market for a right-handed defenseman, Sean Walker is a name to watch. Having a career season of 17 points and counting, Briere could try and tempt the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Edmonton Oilers. Walker could easily bring in another first-round pick to the organization, adding even more young talent to the Flyers.

Sean Walker and Philadelphia Flyers trade talk

Another name to be thrown around would be Scott Laughton. Laughton is on pace for another average season, with 20 points reaching the deadline. The 29-year-old is starting to fall out of the Flyers timeline. His fate has almost seemed secured with the two-year extension given to 25-year-old Ryan Poehling, who is presumably going to be Laughton’s replacement. Briere has also recently stated he is “taking calls” on the forward. Laughton could bring in multiple picks for the Flyers, as plentiful teams need Laughton’s leadership and skill on the ice, especially on the penalty kill.  

As the deadline approaches faster by the day, and teams become more urgent to make moves, does Briere pull the trigger and go all in? Or, does he linger the cup drought longer, in hopes of building for a lengthier and brighter future? 

Next: Trade Reunion With Former Oilers Forward Unlikely [Report]



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