Photo credit:© Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
The Oilers and Flyers “have had several conversations” about Scott Laughton and others
12 days ago
The Edmonton Oilers and the Philadelphia Flyers might make great trading partners.
Miraculously, the Flyers are third in the Metropolitan Division with a 26-19-6 record on the season and 58 points. Of course, other Metro teams are hot on their trail, with the New York Islanders at 54 points with a game in hand and the Pittsburgh Penguins at 53 points with four games in hand. The Flyers are far exceeding expectations, but they may not be ready to contend for the Stanley Cup just yet.
There are several players on the Flyers who could be traded. There have been rumours swirling about how right-shot defenceman Sean Walker could be moved with the Flyers acquiring Jamie Drysdale. Nick Seeler is another soon-to-be unrestricted free agent, but the Flyers reportedly would like to keep the 30-year-old left-shot defenceman.
Then you get to their forwards. The Oilers have been linked to right-winger Travis Konecny for what seems like years at this point. And the latest rumour is that the Oilers have called the Flyers about centre Scott Laughton.
On Thursday, Anthony Di Marco of The Fourth Period released an article linking the Oilers to Laughton and other players on the Flyers.
“Laughton, who has two years remaining on his deal at a $3 million AAV, is not a rental and has a favorable contract. Speaking with executives from two different teams over the last week, both feel that a first-round selection is fair value for Laughton given where the market has been set. Using the Barclay Goodrow trade from four years ago as a comparison, both agreed he is at least as good if not better than Goodrow, with one adding that Laughton is “on a good contract.”I’ve heard that six to eight teams have shown some level of interest in the former first round selection, including the Edmonton Oilers. According to one source, the Flyers and Oilers have had several conversations over the last number of weeks – but not just about Laughton.”
Of course, many, including Di Marco himself, have linked defenceman Sean Walker to the Oilers, but could a package for the two of them be in the works? Perhaps instead of Laughton, the Oilers could package Walker and Ceci, which would surely make the team better.
Let’s take a look at some players on the Flyers who could be nice fits for the Oilers.
This season, the 29-year-old centre/left winger has five goals and 20 points in 51 games. It’s a bit of a decline from his career-high 18 goals and 43 points he put up for the Flyers during the 2022-23 season, but he’d still fit in nicely in Edmonton’s middle six.
The Oilers probably don’t need a third-line centre, but Laughton could slot in on the second-line left-wing spot along Leon Draisaitl. While there are better options (such as Jake Guentzel), Laughton’s contract cannot be discounted. According to Puckpedia, Laughton is under contract until the end of the 2025-2026 season and has a cap hit of just $3 million.
If the Oilers trade for him, they’ll have to move money because they’re money in, money out. This likely means that Cody Ceci, Brett Kulak, or Warren Foegele would be a cap casualty, likely Foegele because he’s also a forward.
Laughton may not be the best option available, but the term and low cap hit could make him an intriguing option.
Let’s get this straight, Sean Walker is an upgrade on Cody Ceci.
Not only does he produce at a better rate – five goals, 18 points – than Ceci, who has no goals and 13 points, but he’s a better defenceman as well. This season, Walker has a 55.13% goal share and a 53.51% expected goal share at five-on-five. On top of that, his team has 175 high-danger shots while allowing just 143 high-danger shots to the opposition for a 55.03 HDCF%. In total, the Flyers have scored 25 goals in high-danger areas, while they have allowed just 19 for an HDGF% of 56.82. All of this is during five-on-five play.
I can’t stress this enough, Ceci is not a bad defender. But if the Oilers are serious about winning a cup, he should be playing on the third pairing. This season, he has a 51.61% goal share and a 51.3% expected goal share. The Oilers have had 180 high-danger shots with Ceci on the ice, compared to allowing 164 high-danger shots for a 52.33 HDCF%. However, Cei and the Oilers have given up 21 goals from high-danger areas, while scoring just 15 of their own for a 41.67 HDGF%, a trend that has been prevalent throughout Ceci’s Oiler tenure.
And then we look at what they do against elite competition according to Woodmoney. Sticking with Ceci, he has played 236.2 minutes against elite competition, or 31.3% of his ice time. With Ceci on the ice against elites, the Oilers have 10 goals while allowing nine for a 52.6% goal share. Again, not bad, but not as good as Walker.
Walker has played 284.3 minutes against elite players, or 35.1% of his ice time, so it’s not a significant jump up. However, The Flyers have scored 15 goals with Walker on the ice against elites while allowing just nine goals for a 62.5% goal share.
It’d be wonderful to keep Cody Ceci and play him on the third pairing with Brett Kulak, but due to the Oilers’ cap situation, they’ll need to move him if they want to upgrade their defence. Thankfully, the Flyers likely won’t have any issues retaining 50% of Walker’s $2.65 million cap hit.
Arguably the least likely to be traded, and the player that fills the Oilers’ needs the least, we have Nick Seeler.
The 30-year-old left-shot defenceman has no goals and seven points in 51 games this season for the Flyers. He plays similar minutes to Walker in terms of facing off against elite talents, with 246.2 minutes against elites, or 33.9% of his ice time. On top of that, the Flyers have 11 goals for and seven goals against when Seeler is on the ice for a 61.1% goal share.
Seeler will become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end and has a league-minimum cap hit of $775k. Still, the Oilers are pretty set on the left side of their defence with Mattias Ekholm, Darnell Nurse, and Brett Kulak. Even if Kulak is moved to give the Oilers salary relief, Philip Broberg is more than ready to take over the third pairing.
It’s also worth noting that Elliotte Friedman has said on the 32 Thoughts podcast that the Flyers would prefer to re-sign Seeler.
Like Seeler, it appears that the Flyers would like to re-sign Konecny because he has been their best player by far this season. In 51 games, the 26-year-old has 23 goals and 43 points in 51 games. Last season, the right-winger had a career-high 31 goals and 61 points in 60 games.
Konecny has a cap hit of $5.5 million until the end of the 2024-25 season. There’s not a shot that the Flyers retain any portion of his salary, so the Oilers would once again have to move a handful of players.
With that being said, a package of Walker and Konecny could be intriguing for the Oilers, but they’d likely have to send both Ceci and Foegele to balance salaries, as well as picks and prospects (maybe Broberg?).
That’s a big haul, but at the end of the day, these are the kind of moves that help teams win Stanley Cups.
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