Flyers Weekly Mailbag: Should The Flyers Pursue Erik Karlsson?

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-San Jose Sharks at Vegas Golden Knights
Apr 14, 2019; Las Vegas, NV, USA; San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson (65) looks on during the second period against the Vegas Golden Knights in game three of the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

What will the 2019-20 Flyers team look like when the puck drops in October? That’s the million dollar question around the orange and black these days.

There has been much speculation as to who the Flyers will look to add this off-season. Right now it’s just that, speculation, or a wish list perhaps. When the NHL Playoffs are complete in June it will be interesting to see who re-signs with their respective clubs, and who will test the free agent market. Right now, Flyers fans can only hope of scooping up one of Artemi Panarin or Matt Duchene. Without further delay, here are our answers to your questions.

If Chuck Fletcher does not use the 11th pick at the draft to pick-up a top-four defenseman, then I do believe the Flyers will have some interest for Erik Karlsson. He is looking for a long-term deal, with money attached to it, for good reason. However, I think it will be too rich for the Flyers blood. If this was last year, absolutely, but the game has taken a toll on Karlsson’s body. He only played in 53 games this past year. I will always love Karlsson as a player, as he has done some remarkable things. However, the Flyers need an able-bodied, veteran defenseman to aide the youth, one who can stay healthy the majority of the season.

Well, they got their guy in Alain Vigneault, as he became the 21st head coach in Flyers history. He is a players coach and one that gets respect from the players because of good communication.

The Flyers do need a culture change. They can get Kevin Hayes who has been around the block somewhat with tours with the New York Rangers and the Winnipeg Jets, or Brock Nelson with the Islanders. Hayes is familiar with a Vigneault system, so he would seem comfortable throughout the locker room. He could really assist those players to understand Vigneault, and to what Vigneault expects from them.

One player that would instantly make an impact on the locker room is Michael Ferland. He is able to send shock waves through the locker room in a good way, after a big hit on the ice or after a fight. I mean there was a classic fight between Ferland and John Tortorella in the Calgary Flames hallway, in between periods during the Flames and Vancouver Canucks game on April 18, 2015. Tortorella and Ferland exchanged words after the first period in the hallway, as Tortorella tried storming the Flames locker room. If that doesn’t pump up your teammates then I don’t know what will.

The Flyers haven’t won a playoff series since the 2011-12 season. In addition, the Flyers have been to the playoffs three times since the 2011-12 season. With having an able-bodied netminder, and a darn good one at that, I believe the Flyers could have been Stanley Cup contenders the past few seasons. One thing that has been the Achilles Heel of the franchise for the past 25 years at least has been the goaltending position. Could the Flyers have won a Cup? Who knows. Unfortunately, we will never be able to find that out. What I can say is the Flyers would have been Stanley Cup contenders in the last two out of the four seasons at least, under then head coach, Dave Hakstol.

I think Nolan Patrick will thrive under Alain Vigneault. Patrick is fast, and let’s hope he’s able to stay healthy. Vigneault’s system requires speed, and Patrick possesses that. I hope Vigneault also uses Patrick on the penalty kill. This past season I was hoping he could squeeze in on the unit, however, he did not.

A defenseman that will thrive under Vigneault’s system in Shayne Gostisbehere. Look for him to have a strong rebound season. Vigneault loves his defensemen to join the rush. Ghost also possesses the speed to backcheck, as well. Travis Sanheim and Ivan Provorov will also enjoy Vigneault’s system.

Thanks so much, Tommy for the condolences for our family member in Matt Martin. He meant so much to this site. I think the readiest out of camp will be no other than Joel Farabee. Farabee needs to bulk up, and he will do that in the offseason. He explained this to me in an interview a few months ago, so he’s well aware of this.

Farabee possesses a very good hockey IQ, to go with his blazing speed and good hands. Morgan Frost needs to improve on playing with the pace of the game more, pushing the play. Unfortunately, Frost didn’t have to do this as much in the OHL, as he was more advanced than his competition. Frost will get a chance to do that in training camp and the preseason, but I think Farabee is just a tad more advanced in this area.

Isaac Ratcliffe will have a great shot at making the roster, but I think the Flyers will like to see what he does with better competition at the AHL level. Let’s see if Ratcliffe can use his big frame to his advantage at the professional level, but I will not be surprised one bit if he makes the roster in the Fall.

Ryan Dzingel wasn’t on my 2C target list to be honest. I believe the 2C target will look something like this:

Matt Duchene

Kevin Hayes

Brock Nelson

Joe Pavelski

Teams miss out on drafting players every year. One can make the case that the Flyers missed out on Elias Pettersson. In addition, the Flyers missed out on Alex DeBrincat, as the Flyers took Pascal Laberge with the 36th pick of the 2016 NHL Draft. Of course, DeBrincat was selected by the Chicago Blackhawks with the 39th pick. Where I’m getting at is all those teams before the Blackhawks selected DeBrincat, also missed out on him. This will continue to happen, as every prospect is different. I mean look at Nail Yakupov and the Edmonton Oilers. He was a bust for them. I know it’s tough to see players excel with other teams that the Flyers could have drafted, but it’s just tough to say all prospects drafted will succeed.

A large part of me believes the Flyers will trade the 11th pick for a top-four defenseman. I will go on record, and say the Flyers will indeed get a top-four defenseman at the draft. Who will be moved, and what picks will be moved I don’t know, but Fletcher will add a top-four veteran defenseman at the draft, I believe. Now that doesn’t mean the 11th pick will be involved in such, but it could very well be.

I love the humor with Jori Lehtera. Here is my Friday reminder: Lehtera is no longer a Flyer.

Alex Lyon will have no shot at the backup role, at least to start the season for the orange and black. The Flyers are looking to add a veteran goaltender to help mentor Carter Hart, and that is not Lyon. Lyon is on his way out in the organization in my opinion. This was made evident when he was sent down to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms when he was healthy at one point this past season. I like Lyon, and he’s a class act. But, Fletcher, in my opinion, re-signs Cam Talbot to help mentor Hart.

If you would like to see your questions submitted in our weekly mailbag. Just submit your question on our Facebook page or on Twitter using #Flyersmail. Thanks to all the fans for another great mailbag, and Let’s go Flyers. Without your support, we wouldn’t be here today.

Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports