Should the Flyers explore trading with the Jets to move up in the Draft

NHL: FEB 20 Jets at Senators
OTTAWA, ON – FEBRUARY 20: Winnipeg Jets right wing Patrik Laine (29) waits for a face-off during first period National Hockey League action between the Winnipeg Jets and Ottawa Senators on February 20, 2020, at Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, ON, Canada. (Photo by Richard A. Whittaker/Icon Sportswire)

The NHL Draft is rapidly approaching and speculation is snowballing. The Philadelphia Flyers are coming off of a postseason heartbreak and will be looking to add some speed and sniping to their long-term plans. Currently picking 23rd in the Draft, there are several players that could entice the Flyers to climb the board – none more so than Jack Quinn.

Who is Jack Quinn?

I wrote this about the 19-year-old winger in a first-round preview yesterday.

If you’re just looking for numbers alone, finding a winger who went from 12 goals to 52 in one season should be enough to grab your attention. With 89 total points in 62 games, Quinn is an out-and-out sniper from the wing who has a lethal slapshot to the table, effortlessly drilling shots from either side and able to manipulate the positioning of goalies and defenders with ease.

The Ottawa 67s were a machine last year, led by none other than Marco Rossi, a top prospect in this year’s draft who led the OHL in scoring. To say that Quinn was a benefactor of some elite play around him would be an understatement, but it shouldn’t take away from his incredible accomplishments.

What really stands out to me is that 15 of those 52 goals came on the power-play, which will be an area circled in red by the Flyers brass after a woeful postseason of squandered special teams shifts.

Quinn was a fringe 2019 NHL Draft prospect, so his body of work comes with a level of maturity that perhaps you won’t find elsewhere. His passing could use some work and he’s not the smoothest skater in the class, rendering him a fairly one-dimensional player out of the gate. It just so happens that the one dimension he falls into is one the Flyers crave.

It’s unlikely that he falls into the 20’s, but a trade-up into the teens to secure a talent who could be ready to add some long-term stability to a position that could lack it in the next few years would make sense.

Why Jack Quinn?

Outside of his strengths aligning perfectly with what the Flyers need, this is part of a much bigger plan. With the Expansion Draft looming in the distance, the Flyers are eventually going to have to move some cap around and do some housekeeping at the winger position.

Jake Voracek and James Van-Riemsdyk are both earning $7M+ through 2022-2023. Sean Couturier’s contract, running at an average of $4M, runs out one year before then. Finding the cap space to sign this year’s Selke winner to a long-term deal is crucial, but they may end up having to risk someone like JVR to the expansion draft, or even part ways before then.

Depth on the wing is light and after the team have invested so much on strengthening their defense in recent years, it makes sense to find a long-term piece on the wing who will one day be ready to take the baton and keep that top-6 production going.

Jack Quinn could absolutely be that player.

Would the Flyers move from 23?

To put it bluntly, yes. Chuck Fletcher moved back last year because the board fell in his favor, enabling him to pick up Cam York at 14 overall. This year, it’s a class stacked with forwards, and the top 15 is loaded with potential. If Fletcher can read the room correctly again, it would make sense to move up.

Why the Jets?

If Quinn is projected to go in the heart of the first-round, a move up to 19 (Calgary) might not be enough. It all depends on how badly they want him, but the Jets at pick 10 offer the most flexibility. Would it be a slight reach for Quinn? Sure. Could the Flyers swing a blockbuster trade to land one Patrik Laine as well? Never say never.

What would a trade look like?

If we’re to go off the NHL Draft value chart, pick #10 carries a weight of around 565 points. A pick-swap (23 for 10), would leave excess value of 250. The Flyers’ 2nd-round pick would carry a value of 182, and their 4th pick, 89. Whether the team would ‘gut’ their draft picks just to move up, or potentially look at sending a third next year (around 120 value) to sweeten the deal would remain to be seen.

The Jets need some defensive firepower and it’s not exactly a hidden fact that the Flyers are willing to shop Shayne Gostisbehere, a player once regarded as a breakout star who has been hampered by injuries. What makes this attractive is that the Flyers could not only shed some cap but certainly entice the Jets by giving up less in the way of draft capital.

Flyers push for Laine

Of course, the wildcard here is Patrik Laine, who fans have become besotted with the idea of acquiring this offseason. It’s easy to understand why.

He’s now scored 30+ goals in each of his last four seasons and is still only 22-years-old, making him worth the $6.75mil contract – the value of which could be offset by moving on from Ghost and maybe even someone like Scott Laughton or Nolan Patrick. The Jets could also use a second-line center and both players would fill very different voids depending on who wets their appetite.

Acquiring both Laine and Quinn would give the Flyers one of the brightest winger positions in the entire league for the foreseeable future, and open up the doors to moving on from someone like JVR when that time does eventually come around with a very strong contingency plan in place.

The question is, would Chuck Fletcher see enough potential in a move to pull the trigger?

Photo by Richard A. Whittaker/Icon Sportswire