Rumor: 3 Flyers who could end up traded before the end of the season.
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Rumor: 3 Flyers who could end up traded before the end of the season.

Things must change in Philadelphia.

Jonathan Larivee

The Philadelphia Flyers are something of a disaster this season and with the team currently on an 11 game losing streak there is a growing feeling that a massive tear down of this current roster is on the horizon. Over the last several weeks there have been rumblings regarding what the Flyers intend to do with their roster moving forward and those rumblings have only grown louder and louder as the Flyers fall further and further out of playoff relevancy.

General manager Chuck Fletcher made a number of moves in the offseason in an effort to improve his roster, but it seems clear now that a complete overhaul will be necessary to get this team back on the right track, and that means some popular players are likely destined for new teams.

Today I will be looking at the 3 players I believe are most likely to end up in a different jersey either prior to or at the National Hockey League's trade deadline.

#1 Claude Giroux.

Last week we covered comments made by NHL insider Elliotte Friedman suggesting that Giroux is not likely to remain a Flyer for much longer. There's no reason to think anything has changed since that initial report, in fact if anything there is even more reason to trade Giroux now, and Friedman was pretty adamant about his belief that Giroux is on his way out of Philly.

"I think there will be a discussion if there hasn't been already. It is my personal opinion that he is traded and they ask him where he wants to go," said Friedman "Look the guy has earned his right to call his shot, he's earned the right to chase the cup if he wants to. He's been a great Flyer and he's done everything they could have ever asked him to do and he cares a lot."

Friedman also indicated that there may be more on the horizon for the Flyers.

"They are gonna ask really hard questions about where they are going and what they are gonna do and I think Philly is gonna be really interesting to watch," said the insider.

#2 Rasmus Ristolainen.

I have to admit I feel terrible for Ristolainen who has gone from one bottom feeding team in Buffalo to another in Philadelphia. The once promising Finnish defenseman has spent his entire career mired in irrelevancy and playoff success is nothing but a fantasy for him at this point in his NHL career. Ristolainen is however on an expiring contract and is a right shot defenseman, which means he could prove to be a valuable trading chip for Chuck Fletcher at the trade deadline.

His cap hit of $5.4 million is significant in this current flat cap era of the NHL, but the Flyers could retain salary or even take back a bad contract in order to maximize their return for Ristolainen.

Quite honestly I also hope for his sake that he gets the chance to play for a contending team, even if only for a brief period of time. Ristolainen is currently playing in his 9th season in the NHL and has thus far never even so much as caught a whiff of playoff hockey.

#3 James van Riemsdyk.

This will be a much more difficult trade for Chuck Fletcher to pull off and if he does manage to make it a reality it will almost certainly have to involve salary retention. The Flyers forward has not been particularly productive this season with 10 goals and 6 assists for 16 points through 41 games, but at least some small part of that is likely a product of just how awful the team has been around him.

The biggest problem for the Flyers in making a move of this nature will be the fact that van Riemsdyk has one more season left on his contract beyond this current one, and his cap hit of $7 million is a tough pill to swallow for a player putting up his kind of numbers. If the Flyers were to eat half of that and bring that number down to $3.5 million it would be much more manageable, and much more likely to net them a return they would be satisfied with.

Finding a team willing to take on his contract for this season and the next will be easier said than done, but there's little doubt that van Riemsdyk is a piece that will have to be moved if the Flyers are indeed planning on looking towards their long term future.