Although the Philadelphia Flyers started the 2022-23 season strong, they have quickly fallen back down to Earth since. Due to a deflating 10-game losing streak, they now sport a 7-10-5 record and are seventh in the Metropolitan Division. As a result, they are expected to be sellers at the trade deadline. If the Detroit Red Wings maintain their playoff spot as the season rolls on, general manager (GM) Steve Yzerman should consider doing business with them. Here are three specific trade targets that could make sense for Detroit.
One Flyer that we should all be keeping an eye on around the deadline is Travis Konecny. Given Philadelphia’s immense struggles, now may finally be the time when GM Chuck Fletcher begins a long overdue rebuild. Konecny is easily their biggest trading piece, and this is especially true when noting that he is having an excellent 2022-23 campaign thus far. In 17 games, the 25-year-old winger has seven goals to go along with 19 points. Although the London, Ontario native is currently sidelined with an upper-body injury, it would not be surprising to hear trade rumors surrounding him begin again once he returns.
There’s no question that Konecny would be a massive addition to the Red Wings’ forward group. Adding a player of his caliber to their top six would provide them with a much-needed boost as they aim to keep up with their Atlantic Division rivals. I could envision him working quite nicely on the top line with Dominik Kubalik and Dylan Larkin, while David Perron could drop to the third line. This would create a much deeper offense for the Red Wings and could help them be considered one of the NHL’s top teams. With that, Konecny would work beautifully on their power play and penalty kill due to his solid two-way game.
Konecny carries a $5.5 million cap hit until the end of the 2024-25 season, so he would be far more than a rental for the Red Wings if acquired. Since he has a good contract and is having an excellent season, it would likely cost the Red Wings their 2023 first-round pick (top-10 protected), Filip Zadina, and a prospect to help facilitate this hypothetical swap.
James van Riemsdyk
Another Flyers forward who could interest Yzerman is veteran winger James van Riemsdyk. The 33-year-old has not played since Oct. 23 due to undergoing finger surgery, but he is expected to be back next month. Before suffering his injury, he was off to a very strong start, as he recorded five points and a plus-5 rating in six games played. If he can continue this kind of production when he returns, he would be a player the Red Wings should consider making a push for.
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van Riemsdyk would be a very good fit in the Red Wings’ top nine. Whether he plays on their first line or third line, he would give them more scoring as they gear up for a potential playoff run. With that, his superb net-front presence ability would make him a spectacular addition to Detroit’s top power-play unit. With all of this, if Yzerman wants to improve Detroit’s secondary scoring and add a bit more experience to their young roster, van Riemsdyk is one of the top Flyers that should be on his radar.
The Flyers would need to retain a good portion of van Riemsdyk’s $7 million cap hit to help make a move go through. Assuming he continues to produce at a solid pace as the season carries on, it would likely cost Detroit a second-round pick and an NHL roster player like Pius Suter to acquire the 2007 second-overall pick.
If the Red Wings can maintain their playoff spot as the season continues, they would be wise to improve their defensive depth. Their right side specifically should be focused on, and one player who could be worth considering because of this is veteran Justin Braun. The 35-year-old is an old-fashioned defensive defenseman who simply plays a very reliable game. In 21 games played this season, he has yet to record a point, but offense has never been a major part of his game. Instead, he would provide the Red Wings with more stability if acquired.
When looking at the Red Wings’ defensive group, it’s fair to argue that Braun could compete with Gustav Lindstrom for a spot on their bottom pairing. If they want more experience on their blue line for the postseason, it would make him a very appealing candidate. He would also be a very solid addition to the Red Wings’ penalty kill, as his defense-first nature makes him succeed in this scenario. However, even if he was utilized as an extra defenseman, it would still be an avenue worth exploring for Yzerman.
Last season, the Flyers scored a third-round pick from the New York Rangers for Braun. However, I do not expect them to land that kind of return for the veteran this year. At the time of last season’s trade, he had an impressive five goals and 16 points in 61 games, so his trade value noticeably went up. Yet, when noting that he has zero points in 21 games this season, it seems more likely that the Red Wings would only have to give up a fifth-round pick to acquire the Minnesota native.
Nevertheless, it is rather apparent that the Red Wings have some solid trade targets worth pursuing from the Flyers. Out of the trio, Konecny would be the biggest splash, but adding either van Riemsdyk or Braun could still be excellent, too. Alas, we will have to wait and see if these two Eastern Conference teams strike a deal come deadline time.
Michael DeRosa is a contributor who covers the Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, & Detroit Red Wings for The Hockey Writers. Since 2017, he’s written and edited for numerous websites. Besides his work for THW, you can also find him on NHL Trade Rumors.