Their playoff hopes remain quite slim for the Philadelphia Flyers, however, their latest four-game winning streak could have them flirt with an Eastern Conference wild card spot. General manager Chuck Fletcher therefore has to think ahead of the trade deadline to decide which of his players will be going or staying and the impact it will have on the team’s future.
The Flyers entered 14 points out of the last playoff spot in the East and Fletcher is ready to make changes by the Feb. 25 trade deadline. He revealed on Monday that team captain Claude Giroux is the only veteran he won't trade.
“We have a lot of good players here but I would never say never to almost anybody besides [Claude] Giroux. Giroux’s got the no-trade and he’s our captain and probably one of the best players in the history of the franchise. So I don’t think that makes much sense. But there’s a lot of guys that don’t make much sense either, but I can’t say never.”
This has many of us, including NHL insider Bob McKenzie, wondering if talented defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere could land on the trade block. Several teams would be looking to jump on the blue liner if he was to be made available.
Well, the phone might start ringing quite a bit in Philly following the comments McKenzie made on Tuesday about the trade chatter heard in Philadelphia:
“I don’t think he’s got an agenda that says, ‘I’ve got to get Shayne Gostisbehere out of town here,’ but I think he’s also willing to listen on just about anybody,” McKenzie told TSN Radio 690 Montreal. “They’ve got multifaceted plans in Philadelphia in terms of ‘We could keep this guy and we could move that guy, or we could that guy and move this guy,’ and flip it around depending on what the interest is and what the prices are.
“But Gostisbehere is a real good young defenseman who hasn’t played to his potential with the Philadelphia Flyers recently, and you’ve got to be careful to give those guys away. They’ve got a lot of really young defensemen that are not NHL-proven there. They’re looking for a veteran goaltender to mentor Carter Hart and insulate him a little bit in his development. They’re looking for a veteran Top-4 defenseman to insulate some of their younger players and they’re looking for a veteran forward up front.
“But Gostisbehere is a name that’s been out there, but I don’t know that it’s at the top of the list of things that Chuck Fletcher wants to move out of town. That’s not to say that he wouldn’t for the right price.”
Gostisbehere was a last-minute scratch for the Flyers' game against the Winnipeg Jets Monday. He suffered a lower-body injury as he left pregame warmups to head to the dressing room and never returned. He will miss tonight's road game against the New York Rangers but the Flyers are hopeful he'll be able to play Thursday in Boston against the Bruins.The injury is believed to be nothing more than a bruise and won't affect his trade value.
The 25-year-old could benefit from a change of scenery, he who has seen his role decrease dramatically since the start of the year. He has five goals and 15 assists in 48 games this season. He is signed for four more seasons at a $4.5 million cap hit.
While the blue liner himself could be thrilled about a trade, it remains to be seen which rival team will be ready to pay the price.