The Detroit Red Wings may have a suitor for Jonathan Bernier if they do in fact want to make that trade. According to TSN’s Pierre LeBrun, the Flyers are targeting Bernier. With Carter Hart struggling, LeBrun indicates that they might want to look at stabilizing things by bringing in the 32-year-old veteran who has kept the Red Wings ship afloat while between the pipes. In comparison to Thomas Greiss, who’s had a brutal 2021 campaign, Bernier passes not only the eye test but the statistical one as well. Being on a more competitive team would only bolster those numbers.
Red Wings would deal with Chuck Fletcher
The Flyers general manager is hardly new to trying to solve problems at the trade deadline. Chuck Fletcher was at the helm for the Minnesota Wild and could never quite put them over the top. He wasn’t a stranger to making deals. According to NHL Trade Tracker, Fletcher was gun shy when it came to dealing high draft picks. His only first rounder traded was for Jason Pominville back in 2013 which he included two prospects and a second round pick. Fletcher also dealt Brent Burns away, which in hindsight, did not work out well for him.
If a deal is made, it would be the first time Steve Yzerman and Fletcher would make a trade.
Scouting the Philadelphia Prospect Pool
Anticipating that Fletcher sticks to his guns and doesn’t give up any first or second round picks, the Flyers have all of their picks except for their fourth round available. Philadelphia’s prospect pool may want to be where Yzerman takes a look as the Flyers could have a higher pick if they miss the playoffs. Sitting three points out, they’re not exactly going to mortgage the future for a solid, but oft-injured goalie.
Once again using the Athletic’s Scott Wheeler as a guide, he has the Flyers as the tenth best prospect pool in the league. The Flyers are heavy in wings in their system and top prospect Cam York (D) just signed his entry level deal yesterday. With the Wings needing to fill spots up front, perhaps a guy like Bobby Brink fits the bill. He finished up his season with the University of Denver with 11 points (2-9) and was also a member of the gold medal winning US squad during the World Juniors. Brink fits a lot of the needs of an Yzerman player: quick, high hockey IQ, and is willing to go to the tough spots of the ice to score goals. According to Wheeler:
Brink’s game is primarily about anticipation and playing a step ahead of the play, though, which also helps him support the puck defensively and win races.
If that doesn’t say Red Wings philosophy, I don’t know what does. The 2019 second round pick of the Flyers could be a reasonable grab if Philly is still pushing hard to get into the playoffs.
One other name: Ivan Fedotov. Though he’s already 24, he’s a prototypical big framed goalie Yzerman prefers (think Andrei Vasilevskiy or Ben Bishop). Fedotov towers in at 6’7, and Wheeler indicates that the Flyers have a number of “B grade” goalies in the system already. His numbers in the KHL have been solid: 14-7, 2.21 GAA, .925 save percentage. His playoff performance didn’t see a lot of success, but he still clocked in at a .904 save percentage.
There certainly seems like a deal could be had here as the Flyers also are flush with deadline cap space and could make a number of moves to try and improve their standing in the final push of the season. Bernier, when healthy, can certainly strap a team on his back and carry them, which is exactly what the Flyers need right now. At this point, it really boils down to the deal the Flyers offer and whether or not Yzerman is really keen on moving the best goalie on the team.