Two interesting developments came to light this past weekend for Philadelphia Flyers fans. First, according to a report from The Detroit Free Press’ Helene St. James, the team recently declined a trade offer from the Detroit Red Wings for goaltender Petr Mrazek. The deal, as presented, was Mrazek for a 3rd round pick. Flyers GM Hextall declined.
According to St. James:
Petr Mrazek is not drawing interest – he was offered to Philadelphia after the Flyers lost Brian Elliott last week (he’s out five-to-six weeks) for an asking price of a third-round pick and the Flyers declined.
Now, the interesting thing is that this information came to light just prior to the Flyers’ 7-4 victory over the New York Rangers in which backup goaltender Michael Neuvirth went down with a lower-body injury. Neuvirth was replaced by rookie Alex Lyon and did not return to action.
Of course, starter Brian Elliott also went down with an injury last week and it was announced just a few days ago that he underwent abdominal surgery. He’s expected to mixx at least 5-6 weeks as he rehabs from surgery.
So, if Neuvirth is out… and Elliott is out… maybe Hextall might want to reconsider that offer from the Red Wings? Of course the team could continue to rely on rookie Alex Lyon, but what if that doesn't go well? Is it worth risking the team's playoff hopes? There's also junior hockey sensation Carter Hart, who is having a historically good season with the WHL’s Everett Silvertips. In 31 games this season, the 19=-year-old Hart has a remarkable 1.58 GAA and .950 save percentage. Of course, the WHL is a long way from the NHL and it’s probably not fair to expect the teenager to save the day for the Flyers.
Or maybe, as was suggested by Dave Isaac of the Courier Post, the Flyers go shopping for goalie help elsewhere? In his latest column, Isaac highlights five rental trade options for the Flyers, outside of Mrazek. The targets: Buffalo Sabres goalies Robin Lehner and Chat Johnson, Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Calvin Pickard, San Jose Sharks goalie Aaron Dell and Colorado Avalanche goalie Jonathan Bernier.
Of those five, Pickard seems like the most likely to be moved in a trade. Both Lehner and Johnson have limited trade value, while Dell and Bernier are too valuable to the Sharks’ and Avs’ playoff hopes to be traded. Pickard though, is a 25-year-old goaltender who has clearly earned himself another shot at the NHL by putting up a stellar AHL campaign with the Toronto Marlies.
Acquired by the Leafs from the Vegas Golden Knights early this season, Pickard has gone on to win 17 of his 22 starts while posting a remarkable 1.86 GAA and .931 save percentage this season. Outstanding.
He’s played just one game with the Leafs this year, and deserves another shot at the NHL. Could his patience pay off with a shot in Philly? If Hextall is willing to pay a similar asking price as the Red Wings were seeking for Mrazek (a 3rd round pick), could the deal get done? Pickard to Philly for a 3rd? Make it happen, Hextall.