Rasmus Ristolainen and Claude Giroux represent two players who may move at the trade deadline. One was offered a six-year, $6.3mil/AAV extension but turned it down. The other represents the best trade value but must waive his no-movement clause if he wants to leave town.
Those names are the hottest tickets on the Philadelphia Flyers roster ahead of March 21st, 2022.
The Colorado Avalanche, Minnesota Wild, St. Louis Blues, and Florida Panthers reportedly show interest in Giroux, while the Anaheim Ducks could make sense for Ristolainen. The Flyers should package an additional player in a trade to gain a featured prospect, a top-nine forward or a top-four right-handed defenseman, and quality draft capital.
Yesterday, Morgan Frost was a healthy scratch. He’s due to be a restricted free agent at the end of this season.
Let’s sound off about Frost. Is it time to package him in a trade for Chuck Fletcher’s aggressive retool? A packaged deal featuring Frost and Ristolainen could net a return of a young right-handed defenseman or top-four Philadelphia desperately needs. Ristolainen won’t be a Flyer next season after turning down Fletcher’s overpayment. Featuring Frost in a package with Ristolainen could maybe net the price paid for acquiring him last offseason.
Confidence and Fit
Two seasons ago, Frost debuted on a Philadelphia Flyers team that was red hot. Alain Vigneault had the 2019-2020 roster firing on all cylinders. Then, COVID-19 flipped the Flyers on their head. In 2021-2022, Philadelphia consistently was one of the most injured teams from the onset of the season. Oh, also Mike Yeo is the interim head coach.
He was a borderline elite potential prospect. Over three seasons, he’s played only 52 games. At the NHL level, he’s practically still a rookie. The 22-year-old center is still searching for the confidence he showed two seasons ago, and honestly, he isn’t far off from recovering when he plays consistently.
Does he fit the Flyers? Frost shows glimpses of his former self but can’t land his designed placement in the lineup. With the opportunity, he’s back on track to what he showed everyone in 2019-2020.
His first twenty games were nearly identical to his aforementioned point production, mostly under Yeo. Unfortunately, Frost isn’t about to take a role next season from Sean Couturier or Kevin Hayes in the top-six, his designed spot.
Before we indulge in the potential trade packages that include Frost, his restricted free agent status isn’t costly. Currently, he makes $863,333, and a qualifying offer would be $874,125. The decision Frost needs to make when he receives the qualifying offer (if not packaged in a trade for assets) is: does he want to be a possible 3C on the Philadelphia Flyers, or does he want to test free agency and bet on himself elsewhere?
He would receive another two-way contract. Other teams could meet the qualifying offer or pay more, swaying where Frost decides to play. It’s a risky operation to play the restricted free agent game. His value is similar to that of 2019-2020. Fletcher should have the awareness to pull the trigger.
Inserting 34-year-old Derick Brassard, an upcoming unrestricted free agent, in the lineup over Frost, who’s played more games during this lost season and needs the development at the NHL level, showed that the prospect is likely more expendable than we thought.
Potential Trade Packages
Most of the drawn-up proposals for Giroux skimp on the return. If the Philadelphia Flyers are offering their captain; a player who can take a pretender and make them a contender, Fletcher needs someone who can rally this lineup in return. The idea is to include Frost, but it’ll alter the draft picks asked for or players in return.
To MIN: Giroux (50% retain) and Frost
To PHI: Gaudreau, Addison, 2022 second-round pick
To STL: Giroux and Frost
To PHI: Tarasenko and a 2023 second-round pick
To COL: Giroux (50% retain) and Frost
To PHI: Jost, Barron, a 2023 first-round pick and a 2023 conditional third-round pick (can become a second-round pick if COL makes the Stanley Cup)
To FLA: Giroux (50% retain) and Frost
To PHI: Gudas, Tippett, and a 2023 first-round pick
Label this trade a priority since there is potential closure on his status with the Philadelphia Flyers next season. Either Fletcher gains nothing in return, despite the price for Ristolainen (Robert Hagg, a 2021 first-round pick and a 2023 second-round pick,) or he includes Frost to almost break even. The Anaheim Ducks make sense as a partner for the Flyers when constructing a trade around Ristolainen.
To ANA: Ristolainen and Frost
To PHI: Manson, Steel, and a conditional 2022 third-round pick (can become a second-round pick if ANA makes the playoffs)
The Philadelphia Flyers won’t lose sleep if they package Frost with Giroux or Ristolainen at the deadline. Josh Manson and Sam Steel roughly equal the current price of Ristolainen and Frost, but the Flyers could leverage Manson’s current injury status with the conditional pick.
Featuring Frost with Giroux, who have established chemistry on the same line, is an instant plug-and-play for most franchises on the receiving end of this deal.
Considering Frost as an option to sweeten the pot is worth the risk if he finds his confidence elsewhere. He’s battling to prove naysayers wrong in Philadelphia. Another way to prove his critics wrong could stem from excelling with a change of scenery. If that feeling is mutual, his stock is as high as it’s ever been since 2019-2020.
(Photo Credit: Alex McIntyre)