The Flyers are only through six games this season, and the gaping question from the offseason is still the defensive core. The signing of Erik Gustafsson and Justin Braun’s re-signing has shown Flyers fans that those were not the right moves to make this defensive core better. With a 3-2-1 record and the defensive play being embarrassing, to say the least, some are calling for Chuck Fletcher to once and for all finally address this problem.
The defense this season has given the Flyers fans nothing to write home about. Through six games, the core has had 26 giveaways and 27 blocks. Their effort to get the puck out of the zone on clean breakaways has been abysmal. By the time they pick their heads up to pass the puck out of the zone, their lane has decreased, and the puck is bouncing off of the forechecker off the other team. The Flyers have been outshot 213 to 142 in their first six games, and with only 27 blocks, that is unacceptable. The bottom line is that they need to get better, but how can that happen?
With Phil Myers out for the foreseeable future with a fractured rib, the Flyers recalled Mark Friedman from the Taxi Squad. Through his first two games this season, Friedman was definitely not the answer for Myers’s replacement. In the mini-series against Boston, Friedman showed his youth and immaturity to be an NHL defenseman when he took an Unsportsmanlike Conduct penalty.
The reemergence of Shayne Gostisbehere could be helpful to this core, but no one knows how effective he will be if and when he is slotted into the lineup. Does this leave the trade market the only viable option for Chuck Fletcher and the Flyers? Teams like Boston and Pittsburgh are also looking to acquire more defensive help through a trade this season. Chuck is currently playing catch up to the rest of the organizations after watching the defense he has provided to Flyers fans.
Flyers Blueline Trade Targets
Montreal’s Backed Up Blueline
With Montreal having a plethora of blueliners on their current roster with Shea Weber, Alexander Romanov, Jeff Petry, and Ben Chiarot, the Canadians are faced with wasted talent watching from the press box. 22-year-old Victor Mete is in his third season with Montreal and hasn’t seen any playing time this season. With Mete on the roster and not playing games, Montreal is afraid to put Mete on the Taxi Squad with the possibility of a team claiming off of waivers. Instead of losing Mete to nothing if claimed off waivers, why don’t they try to find a trade partner?
Chuck, pick up your phone and call Montreal! Mete would be a great addition to this crumbling defensive core. He’s a quick defenseman with a very high upside. Additionally, Mete not afraid to join the rush with the offense and very creative at the blue line to create offensive scoring. He’s on the smaller side of blueliners, coming in at 5′ 9″ and 183 pounds, but he could add a little bit of shakeup to the roster if needed.
Wild Defenseman on Block
After the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs had ended, TSN had announced a “Trade Bait” list in early October. The second highest defenseman on this list was Matt Dumba of the Minnesota Wild. Dumba has always been known as a creative and physical minded defenseman. Dumba could be the type of player that AV could pair with Provorov and help solidify our first defensive pairing.
This season, Dumba has paired with veteran defenseman Ryan Suter, and they have combined for a quiet offensive upside this season. Bringing Dumba into the mix of our blueliners would help bring calm and physicality that this entire team is missing. Dumba will bring the boom against any player in the league and makes his presence known on the ice.
Chuck Fletcher and Dumba have a lot in common since Fletcher was the General Manager of the Wild and drafted Dumba in 2012. Fletcher obviously sees the upside to Matt Dumba’s game and would take any chance he can to be able to acquire him for the Orange and Black. The tough downside that comes with Dumba is the $6 million cap hit – Chuck would have to shed a big contract to bring him on.
Panthers Close to Yandle Deal?
As noted at the beginning of the season, Keith Yandle and the Florida Panthers have apparently fallen out of favor with each other. This put Yandle’s Iron Man Streak in jeopardy and put everyone in the hockey community on edge. This deal is also a little tricky due to Yandle’s No Movement Clause having to be waived.
Yandle has proven to the Panther’s organization that he still has enough in the tank after posting a goal and two assists in 2 games played to help propel the Panthers to a 2-0 record to begin the season. Known for being a “power-play quarterback,” Yandle could help slot in on one of the powerplay units to help create more opportunities.
Obviously, Alain Vigneault wouldn’t slot Yandle next to Provorov in this position but add him to the bottom two pairings. Yandle and Provorov would work together, but you need to spread the wealth through this defensive core as much as possible. Fletcher might want to jump on this trade quickly due to Boston’s rumors sharing some interest in Yandle.
All three of these players, Mete, Dumba, and Yandle, would make sense for the Philadelphia blue line. Fletcher and company need to make something happen quicker rather than later because this team defense has been absolute trash. With the possibility of Gostisbehere being available to slot into the lineup, please do not expect the defense to change immediately. Ghost is an offensive-minded defenseman and will not be the absolute answer to Flyers fans’ prayers.
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