Thoughts at All-Star Break

As we sit at the 2022-23 NHL All-Star break and the Flyers sit at 21-21-9. I thought it wasn’t too late to think ahead to the NHL Trade Deadline and the 2023 NHL Draft.  And see what possibilities lurk out there for the Orange and Black.  

Trade Deadline

The NHL trade deadline is 3 pm EST on March 3, 2023.  Much is anticipated by way of potential moves that the Flyers may explore.  As we know though the trade deadline is more for teams that feel they are solid Stanley Cup competitors.  Not so much for those teams on the outside looking in. Those teams are more in line for salary cap relief, future compensation for expiring contracts, draft pick capital, and potential prospects. 

The Flyers find themselves in an exciting position. They have an abundance of talent that could provide some lucky team with what could get them over the hump.

 James van Riemsdyk- Slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July, the 33-year-old winger carries a cap hit of $7 million. He also lacks no-trade protection.

Justin Braun– is due to become a UFA next summer. The Flyers dealt him to the New York Rangers at last season’s deadline for a third-round pick in 2023. They brought him back in July on a one-year, $1-million contract.

Travis Konecny and Defenseman Ivan Provorov– Konecny and Provorov would have more value in the trade market than van Riemsdyk and Braun. The 25-year-olds are both signed through 2024-25 with Konecny earning an average annual value of $5.5 million while Provorov’s is $6.75 million. They also lack no-trade protection.

Kevin Hayes– The Flyers face a complicated situation with Kevin Hayes. John Tortorella has publicly challenged him to play better defensively, pushed him to the wing after a long NHL career as a center, benched him midgame in two instances, and sat him as a healthy scratch while he held the team leads in scoring.

 Tortorella might try to pass off the tension between the two as a storyline created by the media, but it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the relationship isn’t off to a good start. Hayes will make $7.14 million in average annual value (AAV) through 2025-26.

Rasmus Ristolainen– His position on the team reflects the mismanagement of salary cap resources and the mixed-up priorities of Fletcher and the front office. The 6-foot-4 bruiser signed a lucrative five-year, $25.5 million contract that began in 2022-23. Better play as of late is making Risto’s future in Philly cloudy.

The Flyers in staying with the audition theme of 2022-23 should explore these and many more.  Other names with considerable trade value include Carter Hart, Joel Farabee, Tony DeAngelo, and Morgan Frost.

2023 NHL Draft

In July the Hockey world will finally learn the fate of Conor Bedard.  Bedard regarded as a generational talent has been on the lips, and minds of every GM across the league.  Teams like Anaheim, Arizona, Columbus, Chicago, and yes the Flyers are having visions of him wearing their team’s colors. Conor isn’t the only player to watch out for in this year’s draft. The 2023 NHL draft has a projected 10 players with day 1 NHL roster projections.

 1. Connor Bedard, C, Regina Pats (WHL): projected generational

talent and a game-changer for an NHL franchise

2. Leo Carlsson, C, Orebro (SHL): (Sweden) Will be interesting to see

how high he can elevate himself at the NHL level and how his game

can change from the European game.    

3. Adam Fantilli, C, U of Michigan (NCAA): From the Big East to an

NHL Big Beast.

4. Matvey Michkov, RW, SKA St. Petersburg (KHL): Nothing changes for

this uber-talented star in the making. But will that star ever shine over

North America?

5. Brayden Yager, C, Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL): He has been

remarkably consistent in his production. Continues to improve in the

faceoff circle and score big goals at key times.

6. Zachary Benson, LW, Winnipeg Ice (WHL): A play driver who

handles the puck with quick hands. Surprisingly adept at protecting

the puck based on his slight frame (5-foot-10, 159 pounds).

7. Will Smith, C, USNTDP: The brain and feet work really well together

to allow him to continuously play at a high pace.

8. Dalibor Dvorsky, C, AIK (Allsvenskan): There is a power element to

the game that should allow him to produce more consistently

9. Ryan Leonard, RW, USNTDP: One of four first-year drafts eligible

skaters selected to the American preliminary roster.

10. Colby Barlow, RW, Owen Sound Attack (OHL): Plays with details in

his game. Is a threat to score from distance and off the rush.

11. Otto Stenberg, C, Frolunda (SHL): A complete player who will

excel in a system where transitional play is the emphasis.

12. Oliver Moore, C, USNTDP: Definitely a speed element that is ever-

present in his game. At times looks like New Jersey’s Mike McLeod at

the same age.

13. Calum Ritchie, C, Oshawa Generals (OHL): Fascinating prospect

who will be better for having an old-school, hard-nosed coach than Derek

Laxdal spent the past three years on an NHL bench. 

14. Kasper Halttunen, LW, HIFK (Liiga): Is highly effective at Centre

when playing against his peers, and that type of projection will help

maintain his high draft stock. 

15. Riley Heidt, C, Prince George Cougars (WHL): Doesn’t get enough

credit for his ability to shoot the puck, which may be because he is so

good at distributing that he misses shot opportunities.

16. Ethan Gauthier, RW, Sherbrooke Phoenix (QMJHL): Production

has dried up lately, but he has the ability to play the game a number of

ways and that will allow him to maintain his position in a lineup. 

17. Mikhail Gulyayev, D, Omsk (MHL): Transitional defenseman who

can break pucks out on his own. His hands resemble a skilled

forward. 

18. Gabriel Perreault, RW, USNTDP: Possesses elite vision and

playmaking abilities. Has the type of awareness in his game that helps

him avoid solid contact.  

19. Nate Danielson, C, Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL): A steady-Eddie

type of player who doesn’t jump off the page in any one element. Is

consistently playing against the opposition’s best, which limits his

ability to produce at elite levels. 

20. Eduard Sale, RW, Brno (Czechia): Shows dynamic puck skills that

will bring you out of your seat, but if that fails, does he have enough of

a game?

21. Jesse Kiiskinen, RW, Pelicans Jr. (FIN): Puck play makes him a

dual threat. Shows flashes of being capable on the defensive side, but

his strength is the offensive blue line and in. 

22. Axel Sandin-Pellikka, D, Skelleftea Jr. (SWE): Excellent skater

with lateral mobility and edge work that make him effective at both

ends of the ice. 

23. Koehn Ziemmer, RW, Prince George Cougars (WHL): Plays with a

power forward mentality and is an elite shooter. 

24. Noah Dower-Nilsson, C, Frolunda (SHL): Smart and creative player

who sees the ice so well that he is constantly making plays. 

25. Lukas Dragicevic, D, Tri-City Americans (WHL): Currently riding a

21-game point streak, which began all the way back on Oct. 14.

26. Theo Lindstein, D, Brynas U20 (SWE): Continues to log third

pairing minutes in the SHL. Didn’t make the cut for Sweden at the

world juniors. 

27. Michael Hrabal, G, Omaha (USHL): Has some international

currency and the start of his USHL season elevated him up the

charts. Numbers have cooled, but the size (6-foot-6) will never be

overlooked at that position.

28. Quentin Musty, LW, Sudbury Wolves (OHL): Has been on a tear

since the end of October, with seven multi-point efforts in his past 14

games, including a seven-point night. 

29. David Reinbacher, D, Kloten (SUI): Playing in all situations against

men and having plenty of success on both sides of the puck.

30. Carson Bjarnason, G, Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL): Gives his team

a chance to win every night. Plays with a calmness that positively

impacts the group in front of him.

31. Kalan Lind, LW, Red Deer Rebels (WHL): A fierce competitor who

you love having them on your team but despise playing against them. 

32. Cameron Allen, D, Guelph Storm (OHL): Has shown flashes of

getting out of a season-long funk but hasn’t looked like the same guy

who won Hlinka gold.  

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The Future

We have entered that time of year when the focus will now shift to the future for the 16 teams on the outside of the playoff picture.  For the Flyers that future for all of our sakes better be bright.

Matt Bednarczyk
Matt Bednarczyk

Matt Bednarczyk is your host of Talking Philly Sports With Matty B. He is a proud retired US Army Sergeant First Class, he is also a combat veteran with over 80 months served in Afganistan, and Iraq . Huge Hockey Fan. Matt is a lifelong 4 for 4 Philly sports fan. Born and raised on the Mayfair and Tacony neighborhood lines of Northeast Philly. He brings over 40 years of Philadelphia Sports passion and provides a realistic look at our Major Sports Teams and the most passionate sports fans on the planet. Look for his show live on Edge of Philly Sports.

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