Putting On The Foil with @jsaquella: Ten Days To Deadline: Should The Flyers Follow The Sharks’ Lead?
Editors’ Note: Noted Philadelphia Flyers fan John Saquella is going beyond 140 characters. The man most of you probably know from social media as @jsaquella will bring you his wide-ranging opinion and commentary on the Orange and Black in his column Putting On The Foil.
By John Saquella (@jsaquella)
If I was the Flyers GM, there is one definite and sure fire approach I’d take to the upcoming trade deadline. It would be to make a strong effort to copy what the San Jose Sharks did in 2013.
The Sharks, despite being in the thick of a playoff hunt, realized that certain players who were unrestricted free agents were very likely to not return. So rather than do what a lot of teams would do, they decided that even if these guys could help short term, it was better to clear out the dead wood and grab some assets.
So they sold and did an admirable job in landing assets for two veteran players who were going to be lost for nothing. Ryane Clowe was traded to the New York Rangers for 2nd & 3rd round picks(plus a conditional 2nd rounder). Defenseman Douglas Murray was shipped to Pittsburgh for another second rounder(plus a conditional second, if he re-signed with the Pens).
That gave the Sharks three extra picks in the first three rounds for guys that they would have lost for nothing. After trading them away, the Sharks replaced them, more or less by trading a third rounder for Raffi Torres and a 7th rounder for Scott Hannan.
I hate to “give up” on a season, but if stiffs like Clowe and Murray are worth that, then what is a very solid Kimmo Timonen likely to be worth at this year’s deadline? A first rounder? Maybe even more? Timonen isn’t the same borderline elite player he was just a few years ago, but he remains a very good player. He’d be a huge help to a contending team’s blue line.
It would be hard to replace a Timonen, and trading him would wave a white flag-to some extent-on this season, which is something the Flyers almost certainly won’t do. But the other pending UFA’s the Flyers have should be worth something. Steve Downie has struggled since an injury in mid December, but he’s the kind of gritty guy that always seems to be on the move at playoff time. Adam Hall is a top faceoff guy and good penalty killer. Andrej Meszaros can provide some offense from the point on a power play, and his salary is almost fully paid already, which helps with the cap. Hal Gill is a veteran, who has been around and is a good guy to have in a locker room, and Ray Emery is a solid back up goalie who has played better than the numbers indicate.
To return to Timonen, I’d be shopping him, along with the others. Assuming the Flyers can trade Timonen and get a 1st rounder, a decent prospect and a conditional 3rd rounder, then turn around and acquire a player like Ron Hainsey, Tom Gilbert or Henrik Tallinder for a 2nd rounder, I’d probably be willing to do something like that. I’m not suggesting that any of those three could replace everything Timonen brings to the Flyers, but it would be an effort to sell high and buy low and still ice a competitive team.
Obviously Timonen would have the most value and cause the biggest pain to the Flyers to deal away. But I could see them picking up 2nd or 3rd rounders for Downie, Meszaros and Emery, and should look to the long term future more than hoping that they’ll manage to make a long playoff run with their flawed roster now.