We are just about a month away from the NHL Trade Deadline and the Philadelphia Flyers defensive struggles have been a hot topic. Tuesday night the Flyers struggled against a struggling Sabres team after dropping two games over the weekend to the Penguins and Capitals. They were able to pull off a shootout win against the Sabres but GM Chuck Fletcher needs to do something to address the poor defensive play.
The Flyers have tried just about everything so far to figure out the defense internally. Pairs have been changed, guys have been called up and sat but still nothing has worked. Tonight, Phil Myers will be a healthy scratch in what is just another attempt to send a message that poor performances won’t fly. I fully understand how young this Flyers defense is and there are going to be growing pains. However, if they want to make a serious run they need to make a deal ASAP. Chuck Fletcher needs to make a trade and there’s really only one trade that makes the most sense. Mattias Ekholm needs to be a Flyer.
According to our good friend NHL Rumors Daily(@NHLRumorsDaily on Twitter) The Flyers are one of a few teams pushing hard for Ekholm.
I’m not usually one to say one player can make or break a season, but in this case Mattias Ekholm can make or break the Flyers season. The team has yet to put together a stretch of games where they look their best from start to finish. I get they had a COVID shutdown and there hasn’t been much practice time but the defense has been piss poor and the loss of Matt Niskanen is proving to be much bigger than some might have thought. Ivan Provorov hasn’t been at his best this year and hasn’t had a consistent partner like he did last year with Nisky. Provorov is hands down the best defenseman on this Flyers team and at 24 he is still developing. It’s pretty clear that in order to get the best version of Provorov he needs a solid veteran to be paired with him.
At this point with how bad the defense has been, I have no problem shipping out a few draft picks including a 1st rounder in order to get Ekholm from Nashville. The Flyers aren’t going to be the only team pushing hard to get him but they need to be the team that makes the best offer. The window to win for the Flyers is now and Fletcher needs to do everything he can to address the biggest issue this team has.