There has been one glaring hole missing from the Flyers offense for the past few seasons. Size, size, size. It’s like the Chick Fila commercials saying, “Eat Mor Chikin.” Well, in this case the Flyers need more beef.
The Flyers currently have three young, big, skilled forwards in the pipeline in Isaac Ratcliffe, Wade Allison, and Matthew Strome. Unfortunately, they are 2-3 years away from possibly making the big club. If General Manager Ron Hextall didn’t think this was an issue, then he wouldn’t have drafted these three big forwards. Moreover, the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Anaheim Mighty Ducks are just two successful teams in the NHL, who are aided by their big skilled wingers. It seems to add another dimension to their offensive system.
After watching the Tampa Bay Lightning trounce the orange and black this past Thursday night 5-1. One issue that becomes apparent is the Flyers are getting smoked by teams like the New York Rangers and the Lightning due to lack of size. The Flyers simply cannot go against teams and match speed for speed. If we are throwing the word contender around now for this club, then Hextall needs to sure this issue up by the trade deadline on February 26, 2018. Here are some players that fit this bill, and one’s that Hextall should inquire about before the trade deadline concludes.
Evander Kane- Buffalo Sabres
The 26 year old Kane stands at 6’2,” and is a big 212 pound machine, that really knows how to use his size. He has registered 16 goals, and 20 assists on the season in 49 games played. Of course, Kane is asking for a trade, but he may come with some flaws.
Justin Falk just yelled at Evander Kane, called him selfish and shoved him. Wow. #Sabres
— Bill Hoppe (@BillHoppeNHL) January 10, 2018
Now after the on ice incident between Kane and Falk, they both stated it was the heat of the moment, and it was nothing serious. Never the less, Kane remains on this list of players to watch at the deadline. He is in the last year of his contract, and carries a cap hit of $5.25 million.
Rick Nash- New York Rangers
Nash is a tower of terror for opponents. He uses his size to his advantage the majority of the time. However, it’s nice to possess a lethal wrist shot, as well. Nash stands at 6’4,” and weighs 211 pounds. He scored two goals against the Flyers on January 16, 2018. Nash has tallied 15 goals, and 10 assists in 50 games played. Moreover, he is more than available, as the hockey world found out on Friday night the Rangers were going to partake in a fire sale at the trade deadline. Nash is in the final year of his contract, and carries a cap hit of $7.28 million.
Yes, Nash does have a no trade clause. However, with the Flyers contending for a playoff spot, there’s no doubt that he would allow the Rangers to move him to Philly. Maybe the Flyers could get lucky, and package Jori Lehtera in the deal, as well.
Galchenyuk is a beast that stands at 6’1,” and weighs 207 pounds. He has been up and down throughout the Montreal Canadiens lineup this season, but possesses a nasty, wicked shot. This young stud in Galchenyuk is only 23 years old, and has registered 12 goals, and 16 assists in 49 games played.
The Canadiens are a dumpster fire ready to happen. Hextall should be all in if the price is right for Mr. Galchenyuk. Galchenyuk is signed through the 2019-20 season, and carries a cap hit of $4.9 million.
This big rugged Center in Mantha stands at 6’5,” and weighs a lumbersome 225 pounds. Mantha was on my radar last year. He is the jack of all trades, and Mantha is only 23 years old. Not only does this kid possess a lethal wrist and a good hockey IQ to boot, but he can throw down the gloves. On November 15, 2017, Mantha registered a Gordie Howe Hat Trick (Goal, Assist, and a Fight), in a Detroit Red Wings 8-2 rout over the Calgary Flames.
Some people may call me crazy for mentioning Mantha as part of a deal with the Red Wings. However, with the Red Wings currently sitting 10 points out of the last wild card spot, and 15 points out of third place in the Atlantic Division. One would have to bet the Red Wings will be all in at the trade deadline. Medocrity just doesn’t cut it year after year for the Red Wings and their fans. Mantha would be the only player, I’d be willing to give a first round pick for (St. Louis’s pick).
To gather a big middle six winger you have to give, in order to receive. Teams will be looking for a highly touted prospect in return that could play immediately. For instance, a Travis Sanheim or someone along those lines. Paired with Sanheim, it would have to be another player (Maybe Taylor Leier or Michael Raffl), a high valued prospect (German Rubtsov or Pascal Laberge), and a 2nd to a 4th round draft pick. It would be nice to see if Hextall could package Lehtera in the deal, but that might be unlikely. I mean look at the haul that the Colorado Avalanche received from Matt Duchene. Hextall would make the Flyers legit contenders not only for this season, but the next two to three years, as well, if he could pull off a deal for one of these players.
Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports