Almost a handful of Philadelphia Flyers made the TSN trade list as recently as yesterday. Previously, I spoke about two of these players:
- Flyers Must Consider Extending Giroux
- Potential Trade Partners for Giroux
- Did Toffoli Set the Market for Giroux?
Namely, Rasmus Ristolainen made the cut. Despite recalling a desire to extend him when Dave Scott and Chuck Fletcher spoke to the press, Ristolainen makes sense at the trade deadline. The return won’t match the expense, but the Flyers do not have a second-round pick in the upcoming two NHL Entry Drafts. There is a foundation to the required asking price.
Fletcher traded Philadelphia’s 2021 first-round pick and 2023 second-round pick with Robert Hagg for Ristolainen. It was an overpay at the onset. He most consistently paired with Travis Sanheim, as planned.
Braun, who planned to partner with Keith Yandle on the third pair, has performed at a higher rate on the first pair than Ristolainen has in his planned role.
There is value, yet. Ristolainen is an offensive-minded defenseman who could help drive a powerplay, and he uses his big frame to block shots and body check. What destination makes sense? What could his value be worth?
Ristolainen Fits in Anaheim
At the deadline, this trade must return a 2022 second-round pick. Fletcher must make that his baseline. Right now, one team makes sense particularly.
Currently, the Anaheim Ducks ice two RDs. They ought to be in the market for a bottom four RD, which could be closer to his value after a season. A fit for Ristolainen, the Ducks have the fifth-best powerplay in the league. Anaheim also has a second-round pick, but this trade benefits a sellers’ market. The Flyers could ask about including Josh Manson, a UFA at the end of the season.
Of course, there is a caveat. Manson has a modified no-trade clause in his contract. He would have to waive that, or Philadelphia would have to be on his destination list. Perhaps they are because the Flyers rank amongst the most popular markets where players want to be.
Additionally, a player like Manson has a large frame and plays better defense. The concern is his health; Manson is recovering from a finger injury.
Both are featured simultaneously on the TSN trade bait list.
Other Interested Parties
The same teams who showed interest in Justin Braun likely are interested in Ristolainen. Again, those teams see Braun as a failsafe. He’s not one of the sexier names. Ristolainen could be, however.
Interested in Braun is the Toronto Maple Leafs and Carolina Hurricanes. Both teams feature a top ten powerplay unit. The Maple Leafs are the best on the powerplay in the NHL. Ristolainen only helps that irresistible force running through all immoveable objects. A future in Toronto could have him containing and blasting from the blue line on the powerplay.
Financially, the Maple Leafs and Hurricanes likely aren’t able to afford Ristolainen. In the offseason, when Fletcher is debating to extend Ristolainen, these teams could alleviate the right amount of cap space to negotiate.
Aside from Giroux, Ristolainen represents the best value at the NHL Trade Deadline. Working that deal with the Ducks would net a peak return. If a player isn’t involved, a 2023 third or fourth-round pick makes sense to package with a 2022 second-round pick. Restocking his expense, even partially, is a must.
Between Giroux and Ristolainen, Fletcher could gather enough talent and picks for his aggressive retool. The obstacle surrounding Ristolainen is his contract with a flat salary cap.
(Photo by Derek Cain/Icon Sportswire)