Trades in the NHL are tough to get correct. Overpaying for a player is a regular occurrence. Negotiating becomes an art where the first to speak loses. Chuck Fletcher has been vocal in the offseason regarding conversations for a right-handed defenseman to the point where it’s the NHL’s worst kept secret. Could Sam Reinhart be a potential option?
Whenever a player decides that they want out of a franchise, that franchise loses leverage.
Sam Reinhart is due around the ballpark of $6.5mil in 2021-2022. Since his rookie season, he’s scored at least forty points per season. On average, Reinhart tallies 53pts per 82 game season. The Sabres are going to want the best return possible.
Usually, a team has to send a package for an asset. This time around, the Philadelphia Flyers could package Travis Konecny or James van Riemsdyk for Reinhart. The leverage in this negotiation belongs to the Flyers.
Consistency Is Key
Travis Konecny didn’t take a step forward in 2020-2021. He mostly maintained his game. By my estimation, Konecny likely would have scored 50-55pts in an 82 game season. That would have been a regression from 2019-2020, but he openly focused on the rest of his 200ft game. Arguably, Konecny is finding his groove during an imperfect time.
Sam Reinhart didn’t regress as much as Konecny did, scoring at a higher rate.
Konecny and Reinhart compare evenly. Reinhart, on average, scores more goals, and Konecny, on average, creates more scoring plays with his passing. Which identity is more important? If it’s finding a goal scorer, bargaining Konecny for Reinhart could be right.
Evaluating the 2020-2021 Philadelphia Flyers should feature a disclaimer that it’s easy to overanalyze and work yourself into a skewed opinion. The players who maintained their value during COVID hockey shouldn’t go unappreciated. Konecny didn’t have a bad season, but Reinhart would push his previous performance metrics at the rate he scored.
Based on recent reports, would it make sense to trade Konecny for Reinhart?
Spreading the Goals Around
There’s a high probability that the Seattle Kraken draft a right-wing from the Philadelphia Flyers. Nicolas Aube-Kubel would be the cheap option, but Elliotte Friedman on NHL Morning Skate brought up an interesting point:
If Chuck Fletcher is attempting to move Jakub Voracek, he’ll have to sweeten the pot for Ron Francis. That could include Aube-Kubel or Nolan Patrick. Either way, two could potentially debut in a Kraken lineup rather than a Flyers. That leaves Travis Konecny as the top right-wing before a steep decline in measured talent. Minus Voracek and Aube-Kubel or Patrick, Wade Allison suddenly becomes a top-six right-wing in Philadelphia.
Every right-wing, except for Allison, accepted the role of a playmaker in 2020-2021. Expecting Allison to become a goal scorer consistently puts a lot of blind faith into a small sample size. Evening the playing field in terms of scorers and playmakers makes sense. Depleting the right-wing and center positions of a player leaves Philadelphia scrambling for depth.
Without a doubt, scoring needs to spread around the yard within the forward lineup. Losing a prolific scorer means a need to add a new one. The Buffalo Sabres will want a player to build around in return for Sam Reinhart, who doesn’t want to be there any longer.
The Market For Reinhart
Many teams who are eyeing Sam Reinhart are about to pay a steep price for a promising player at the center and right-wing. Most of the market calls for a first-round pick, a player to fill a Buffalo Sabres team need, and a prospect. Here, the Philadelphia Flyers are unique in a sense. Travis Konecny presents an even trade regarding age, position, and production. Since Jakub Voracek is likely on the move, pushing James van Riemsdyk out the door with a first-round pick, and maybe Yegor Zamula or Nolan Patrick makes more sense than forming a trade package around Konecny.
The Sabres will remain stubborn in their ways of wanting a player they can build around. Konecny doesn’t escape the market quite yet. If Patrick doesn’t move Buffalo’s interest in a package deal, the negotiations need revision. Morgan Frost or Tanner Laczynski could work as the prospect in the trade package.
If the Sabres are dead set on Konecny, he can play either wing. Buffalo has yet to extend Rasmus Asplund, which means there’s a fit for Konecny. A package featuring Konecny could only feature a draft pick additionally and not one from the first round.
Other franchises would offer more than a player and a pick to the Sabres for Reinhart, so the Flyers likely won’t be in the hunt.
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