With two games left until we reach the half way point through the season, we cannot overlook what lies ahead with the upcoming trading deadline on February 28, 2017 at 3 p.m. Many teams have had cap constraints the past few years, so big splashes have rarely happened. General managers such as Ron Hextall, have to be creative when moving players. With a logjam of defensemen in the system for the Flyers, there are three players on the current roster that could be used as trade bait. Teams who are seeking a veteran blue liner looking to make a long Stanley Cup run, would be ideal candidates for Ron Hextall’ s vision.
Streit is an ideal candidate for General Manager’s looking to get over the hump. He has been a reliable puck moving defenseman, who has a rocket from the point that leads to dirty goals in front or goals of his own.
At age 39, he is in his fifth and final season with the Flyers, and has 5 goals, 11 assists, totalling 16 points on the current season. He typically quarterbacks the 2nd power play unit. For his career, he has played in 748 games with 95 goals, 328 assists, amassing 423 points. His cap hit may not be the most ideal for most teams at $5.25 million, but he is a veteran blue liner that is very versatile and reliable.
Michael Del Zotto:
Originally drafted 20th overall by the New York Rangers in 2008, MDZ quickly emerged as a puck moving defenseman in the 2009-2010 hockey season. He made his NHL debut on October 2, 2009, and amassed 9 goals, 28 assists, totalling 37 points that year. He was traded to the Nashville Predators on January 22, 2014.
The Flyers signed him on August 5, 2014 to a friendly cap deal of $1.3 million. He played well in his first full season with the Flyers totalling 10 goals, 22 assists, for a total of 32 points. This granted him a 2-year, $7.75 million dollar deal on July 5, 2015.
Last year he tallied 4 goals and 9 assists, totalling 13 points in only 52 games played. He had his season cut short due to a wrist injury. However, he did play well under Dave Hakstol and was relied upon as a consistent two way defenseman.
This year he had a knee injury to start the season, but has come back strong with 4 goals, 5 assists, and a -3 plus/minus rating thus far. Due to the log jam of defenseman, he found himself benched one game this season. He is in the last year of his contract, and has a favorable cap hit for a contender at $3.75 million. This makes him an ideal candidate to be dealt.
Schultz was drafted 33rd overall in the 2000 NHL draft by the Minnesota Wild. He began his Flyers career on July 2, 2014 when he signed a 1-year deal. He had a stellar campaign becoming a reliable defenseman under former head coach Craig Berube, and that lead to him signing a 2 year extension on February 18, 2015.
He has seen limited action this year due to the overcrowding of defenseman in the Flyers system. He has only played in 11 games and has just 3 assists on the year. For his career, he has 30 goals and 144 assists totalling 174 points. He has a friendly cap hit of $2.25 million, and is in the last year of his contract. This makes him expendable to a team looking for a veteran blueliner.
Matt Read and Andrew Macdonald would have been good candidates, but both players have multiple years left on their deals. They also have cap unfriendly contracts, and they would not be ideal for contenders seeking rentals for a Stanley Cup run.
Ron Hextall has stated, “I don’t want to get in a position where we trade a young player.” He has a long-term vision, and is committed to staying within the organization for success.
Ron Hextall will not trade young players for possible immediate success, like the organization has in the past. With the likes of Travis Sanheim, Samuel Morin, Phillippe Myers, Anthony Stolarz, Carter Hart, Alex Lyon, Taylor Leier, Oskar Linblom, and German Rubtsov, there is no reason to panic. Will all these players work out at the NHL level maybe not, but it does give the organization hope and cap room in the future.
Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports