Sure, it may seem a little early to talk about the trade deadline, and rightfully so. We’re about a month and a half away from April 12th, and the Flyers could be in a completely different position than they are right now come that date. However, the sooner they make a move, the more likely it is that they won’t have to worry about where they are come deadline day. Putting themselves ahead of the pack would greatly benefit Chuck Fletcher and Co., and could ultimately prevent them from having to pay a premium come mid-April.
This begs the question: which players will fetch the highest return? Logistically speaking, teams that are selling off are looking for young, talented roster players, higher caliber prospects, and high draft picks. The Flyers have all three in spades. The dilemma then becomes which ones would Fletcher be willing to part with for an immediate upgrade. The answer to that is simple. Fletcher should be willing to part with just about every player in the organization but a select few.
That doesn’t mean that the team making a deal with Philadelphia covets these guys the way the rest of us do. So many are quick to throw Shayne Gostisbehere’s name into the fold when discussing potential deals, but his trade value isn’t nearly what most think it is. In order to acquire value, you’re going to have to give up some in return. That’s how the world works. With that being said, there are some prospects within the organization that could bring in some quality if they’re traded.
Morgan Frost – C – Lehigh Valley Phantoms (AHL) *IR*
Put away the pitchforks and listen. What other prospect in the Flyers pool has the type of value Morgan Frost does, injury and all? You’d be hard pressed to find someone with the type of trade value Frost has right now for the Flyers organization. This isn’t to say it’s sky-high, but it’s absolutely there. At least one fan base seems to covet Frost and his skillset enough to trade a solid defender to acquire his services.
Obviously the injury to Frost could impact his trade value a bit, but the fact remains that the kid was stellar in juniors and showed some serious promise down with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms last season. The Flyers would be wise to listen to offers including the 21 year-old center. He could wind up being the centerpiece of a deal in which the Flyers wouldn’t have to sweeten the pot too much to acquire some serious help in the way of scoring or defense.
Jay O’Brien – C – Boston University (NCAA)
Again with the pitchforks, but for a different reason. Yes, Ron Hextall got cocky with this pick. O’Brien has had his fair share of tribulation, whether it’s his struggles at Providence College or subsequent transfer to the Penticton Vee’s of the BCHL. O’Brien’s trade value is not the same as Frost’s. That much is obvious. Another obvious is that he is a former first round pick and that type of pedigree carries a bit of weight.
O’Brien also had a moderate level of success at Boston University this year. His seven goals were the most among all Terrier players. His 12 points ranked second on the team to Nashville Predators defensive prospect David Farrance. It’s not quite a redemption tour, but O’Brien is definitely finding his groove at Boston University. Pair his first round pedigree with his success so far this season and he could carry some weight in trade talks.
Kirill Ustimenko – G – Lehigh Valley Phantoms (AHL) *IR*
Yes, another player on IR. However, you can’t deny the season Ustimenko had last year with the Reading Royals. In terms of goalies who played 30 or more games in the ECHL last year, Ustimenko’s 2.40 goals against average was fourth best. His .919 save percentage ranks fifth in accordance with the aforementioned criteria. Pair that with the fact that it was his first season in North America, and you have a strong goalie prospect.
Ustimenko’s adjustment to the style of play in North America is quite impressive. Undoubtedly, teams will notice that and see value in potentially acquiring the 22 year-old netminder. Add in the fact that goalies typically trade at a premium, and the Flyers have a solid chip in the trading game.
Elliot Desnoyers – LW – Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)
Say what you will about the kid’s season so far in the Q, but that screams sell high to the typical hockey fan. Sure, we can all revel in the fact that the 2020 fifth round selection is having a spectacular year with Halifax. The fact remains that Desnoyers was a fifth round selection. While he may be burning the house down in the QMJHL, will that ultimately translate to lighting it up at the NHL level?
While he sure has his fans amongst the Flyers Twitterverse, people who view these types of things objectively will tell you that Desnoyers could be a solid piece to a trade netting the Flyers some immediate help. He surely doesn’t have the type of value that Frost, O’Brien, or Ustimenko would in a potential deal. He does have recency bias on his side though. GM’s may be able to see right through that, but others may be intrigued by the potential upside of him and his game. Fletcher could pull a fast one on another GM that might have an affinity for these types of guys, and it would ultimately look fantastic on paper for the Flyers.
Photo Credit – Photo by Vincent Ethier/Icon Sportswire