Taking Advantage MacTavish Style - The Flyers


We last spoke about the Washington Capitals and whether an opportunity existed for the Oilers to go after names like Karl Alzner, Troy Brouwer or Mike Green. With the decisions McPhee will need to make in Washington, I believe there to be just that -- opportunity.

However, Washington isn't the only team potentially ripe for the pickens'. One team, the Philadelphia Flyers, have created an opportunity for every NHL team under the cap line. Currently $8 million over what next years cap will be, simply by not signing their UFA and RFA contracts and losing players like Simon Gagne, Ruslan Fedotenko, Jody Shelley, Adam Hall, and Mike Knuble, which is probably the first names they'll sacrifice, it still only brings the Flyers down $7.6 million or so and keeps the Flyers above a cap they'll need to get below.

Like no other team I can think of, the Flyers are being leveled with albatross and no-trade contracts that will hamper their ability to ice anything more than the team that missed the playoffs this season. Paul Holmgren, the Flyers GM, will need to shake things up -- and he's proven he's not afraid to.

Trading players like Jeff Carter and Mike Richards when literally no one expected it, shows us that the Flyers are a team to watch this and really every summer. If you're an opposing GM with cap space, the Flyers better be on your speed dial.

Craig MacTavish needs to let Holmgren know the door is always open to talking. That the Oilers have some young talented prospects and that Edmonton would be happy to "help" the Flyers -- an eastern team, relieve themselves of some cap trouble.

A few names should be at the top of the list.While Wayne Simmonds would be the prize to snag from the Flyers and exactly what Edmonton needs, I don't see under any circumstances Philadelphia moving Simmonds or for that matter Brayden Schenn and Sean Couturier; so Scott Hartnell becomes the conversation starter. He's big, he has hands and he wouldn't cost a prize to get. A mid draft pick and prospect or smaller contract NHL player might get it done.

Yes, I understand that Hartnell has a no-trade clause in his contract and that he likely doesn't want to leave the Flyers. I also understand that the Flyers were dreadful this past season compared to seasons past and Hartnell being older and on what will likely be his last ever contract in the NHL, he might see a benefit in spending his last five seasons with a team on the upswing instead perhaps on the down. The Flyers are undoubtedly a better team than Edmonton currently is, but they are getting much older much faster. Hartnell may see the writing on the wall as one of the Flyers older players.

The Oilers might have to tread carefully here as Hartnell had an off year in 2012/2013 and he's got a longer term contract. As MacTavish stated, you don't want to obtain people on the tail end of their usefulness.

If Edmonton believes Hartnell has something still in the tank; but, Hartnell refuses, one asset a lot of teams will be looking at is Jakub Voracek. Drafted in the same year and just after Oilers center Sam Gagner, Voracek had a breakout season. As a major piece in the Jeff Carter trade that sent Carter to Columbus, Voracek has finally turned into what both the Jackets thought he'd be when they drafted him and what the Flyers only hoped he'd be when they moved Carter out.

The Flyers won't want to move Voracek, but if they can't get players like Briere or Hartnell to waive their no-trade and no-movement clauses, Holmgren just may not have a choice. It will take a healthy return of draft picks and prospects, but Edmonton has the assets to move and if there was ever a time, this is it and MacTavish is the guy.

Finally, a quick move and one I might kick the most tires over if I'm MacTavish, is obtaining a player like Maxime Talbot. It won't get a lot of press, but it's exactly what Edmonton needs.

A much upgraded fourth line center option, Talbot would be a steal for the Oilers and would likely cost little in return. Talbot has the ability to move up to the third line, playing center and wing and if Edmonton does move Shawn Horcoff, Talbot might make for a more fired up, less expensive option. If they keep Horcoff, Talbot's not terribly cheap for a fourth line player at $1.75 million per season, but not so expensive that he can't challenge the other players in that position to keep their spots. If injury hits, Talbot can fill right in.

While not really a career over 50/50 face off guy, Talbot isn't going to lose so many that you have to worry ( he was 48% in the dot this past season), he's a veteran player whose had to work his way into the NHL as an 8th round draft pick, offers plenty of grit and has playoff experience on winning teams like the Penguins and Flyers. That could speak volumes for a team used to losing a lot and why MacTavish has considered his options with Shawn Horcoff.

Talbot takes the body, he's just that little bit of dirty you like in a teammate, blocks shots and he also happened to lead the Flyers in penalty killing time on ice. Talbot is a great bottom six fit Edmonton has specifically set their sights out to acquire.

If you're Edmonton and you are worried about Talbot's face off ability, you can always call on and make a UFA pitch for Adam Hall whom the Flyers will likely have to let walk and is a great face off specialist.

That would give you Nugent-Hopkins, Gagner, Talbot and Hall as your middle-men. A good mix of skill, face off ability and grit. My only other thought might be moving Gagner to wing if he can't improve his face offs and looking for a second line center via trade. 

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December 7, 2013 at 10:27 PM comment-delete

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