The Philadelphia Flyers are having an underwhelming start to the 2019-20 NHL regular season. After years of mediocrity under Ron Hextall and Dave Hakstol, expectations under the Chuck Fletcher and Alain Vigneault are high. Although the mentality surrounding the organization has changed, progress isn’t demonstrated consistently where it matters most, the scoreboard.
Twenty-three games into the season, the Flyers are 11-7-5. The team is a frequent participant in extended gameplay, including shootouts. Unfortunately, a lot of these situations are a result of blown leads and translate into a Flyers loss. It’s hard to place a finger on what is currently plaguing Philadelphia. However, frustration is building up amongst the fanbase.
During these times of failure, many will look for the Flyers to seek answers to the problems. There’s plenty of time left in the season for Philadelphia to right the ship and become a contender.
One of the more popular resolutions discussed amongst the Flyers faithful is trading members of the supposed core. The two most-mentioned names are Jakub Voracek and Shayne Gostisbehere. If you follow this team even just casually, it’s easy to see why. Voracek and Gostisbehere, simply aren’t doing enough to stay in favor in Philadelphia. Both of them continue to experience struggles, leading to Vigneault lessening their respective roles and responsibilities. With every passing game, it’s becoming more apparent that the orange and black need to move on from at least one of them to shake things up.
Not Gonna Happen
Unfortunately for the Flyers, shipping either Voracek or Gostisbehere during the season is very unlikely. Add in the fact that Philadelphia will look to add players that can help the team now and the likelihood steers to impossible.
Both Gostisbehere and Voracek are on long-term deals. Voracek’s contract keeps him on the books until the summer of 2024 with a $8.25 million annual cap hit. Meanwhile, Gostisbehere’s contract doesn’t run out until 2023. His $4.5 million is easier to swallow but not when the player isn’t reaching the value of his contract. Historically, trades involving players with a decent term left on their contracts are rare. Deals such as those generally occur closer to the draft. Of course, trading either of these players at the draft does nothing to change Philadelphia’s fortunes this season.
Even if Philadelphia pulled off trading Voracek or Gostisbehere during the season, the return would not bring in immediate solutions. At this point, the only things the Flyers are getting for either player are prospects or drafts. Everyone can agree that future assets do not appeal to Fletcher at this time. The value of both players is low, especially in the case of Gostisbhere. No team bringing them in is going to give up comparable assets. They will view it as a salary dump and approach any deal as such.
Voracek and Gostisbehere are not living up to expectations. Obviously, that is frustrating. Still, it is hard to argue that Philadelphia would be better off this season trading either of them for futures. Subtract Voracek from this roster and the forward depth takes a major hit. Gostisbehere might be easier to live without but one injury to the blueline and things would get very concerning quick.
Once the 2019-20 season comes to an end for Philadelphia, trading a core member such as Jakub Voracek or Shayne Gostisbehere becomes a possibility. However, for now, seeing either of them shipped off in-season is simply unrealistic.
Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports