If the Vancouver Canucks decide to trade forward Radim Vrbata, the Philadelphia Flyers might be interested in his services.
Jim Benning keeps saying the playoffs are the top priority for the Vancouver Canucks this season. We get it. But when you lose 5-2 against the AHL-roster Toronto Maple Leafs, you cannot really be serious about that goal.
Because of that, there have been several rumours about who could be traded where. While just about every one of those rumours is about Radim Vrbata or Dan Hamhuis, the Philadelphia Flyers have not been mentioned as a possible destination for either one of them. Until now.
"“I have some ideas in my mind,” Hextall said Wednesday. “We’ll look at everything as we go along here. We’ll monitor where our team’s at, what we think our needs are, what people want from us. We’ll monitor everything and make decisions closer to the deadline.”"
That does not indicate any interest in Vrbata per se, but, as Dave Isaac notes, “Hextall can still take on a bit of money before the trade deadline and certainly could use a scoring winger on his team.” He continues to say that “if Hextall were to bring somebody in, it would likely be a true rental and not someone that can safely set up shop in the area for a few years.” If that were true, Vrbata could certainly be an option.
The Flyers are currently five points out of a wild-card playoff spot and six points out of a divisional spot. Not many would have predicted this team to even be in playoff reach this late in the season. Now, they still have 28 games to go — more than enough time to sneak into the postseason.
Looking at the lineup, it becomes clear why the Flyers could need another scoring winger. They have an elite top line with Jakub Voracek, Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds, but the second line already looks terrible: Michael Raffl, Nick Cousins, Brayden Schenn. Obviously, Sean Couturier belongs in there, but he is out until early March with a lower-body injury.
Unfortunately, Philadelphia’s GM is not stupid and he realizes that one player will not make this team a Stanley Cup contender.
"“Do I think one piece is going to elevate us into the top couple teams there? No, I don’t,” Hextall said. “I don’t think that way. That doesn’t mean we can’t make the playoffs, doesn’t mean we can’t win. It just means that I don’t see a quick fix here were one move can put us as a No. 1 Stanley Cup contender. We’ve got to be realistic.”"
That’s why he says “if we can help ourselves this year and moving forward (we will), but we’re not gonna give something up just to help us this year. That’s not gonna happen.” Fair enough. So, what does that mean for the Canucks and Vrbata?
If Vancouver wants to get a trade done with the Flyers, it will have to be more than Vrbata for a pick or prospect. Philadelphia obviously needs their picks and prospects just as much.
Perhaps, they would be willing to trade one of their prospects, like Nicolas Aube-Kubel, Taylor Leier or Robert Hagg, for Vrbata and an additional later-round draft pick. That way, the Canucks could get a prospect who is closer to playing pro while Philadelphia gets a forward who can help now and a draft pick to add to their prospect pool.
Would either team be interested in a trade like that? That is the big question. Vancouver and Philadelphia are in similar positions. Neither team is really that good, but both are still in the playoff hunt — more or less anyway. The difference is that the Flyers probably have a realistic chance of making it while the Canucks don’t, with their incredible amount of injuries.
So, all of this is possible, but none of it has to happen. Perhaps, Vrbata will be traded elsewhere and the Flyers stay put. Or, the Flyers trade for a rental other than Vrbata. Or, both Vancouver and Philadelphia go through the deadline without making any big splashes.
There are endless possibilities.
What do you think? Is Vrbata to Philadelphia a possible scenario? Let us know in the comments!