Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Let's Find Evgeny Medvedev A New Home, Part 2

Last night's performance was a rough one for the Flyers. Everyone stinks except Gostisbehere and there is no hope in the world and so on. It was, however, a decent night for Evgeny Medvedev; he contributed pretty significantly on offensive and defense:
It's time to revisit the idea of trading Evgeny Medvedev before this season's deadline. I initially wrote about this nearly a month ago as a remedy for the crowded blueline. Obviously, with Luke Schenn now playing for the Kings, the logjam is no longer an issue. But allow me to overreact to one bad game:

The Flyers aren't going to do anything this year. I've been optimistic basically all year, and I still think they are a solid, middle-of-the-pack team in the East. So I have a few bullets to go through:
  • A middle-of-the-pack team does not need a 33 year old defenseman for the future
  • Medvedev's 1-year contract means he's going to need more money (and more years) this summer
  • Del Zotto and Gostisbehere will definitely be back next season
  • Schultz, Gudas, and Manning will likely be back as well
  • Mark Streit is a question mark, but I can't imagine him netting enough assets to justify moving him
  • That's six defensemen returning to clog up the pipeline for Ivan Provorov, and we don't need more bodies in his way
So, ipso facto, we should trade Medvedev at the deadline to obtain an asset or two for the future. I get the sense that this was Hexy's plan all along; if Medvedev impressed, he's worth a moderate hall at the deadline. If he was a bust, then he'd be gone after one year anyway. 

On a much more positive note, trading Meddy to a legitimate contender would also allow him to really experience playing in the NHL. We all know the playoffs are a different animal altogether and the chance to really fight for a Stanley Cup would be a great way to end his rookie season in North America. 

As blasphemous as it might sound, in my heart I hope we cut a deal with the Capitals. Medvedev getting to experience that run with Ovechkin, Kuznetsov, and two other less-known Russians would be incredible to follow. I went over that in my last post (link above). 

Now, after that thousand word intro, I want to take a look at what we could actually fetch from Washington for Meddy. I'm using SB Nation/Jasper's Rink to check out our options. Here are some limitations:
  • I'm using the JR Top 25 Under 25 list to see how they evaluate their prospects. It's not perfect, but it limits the pool to younger guys and the parallel list on BroadStreetHockey was solid
  • Andre Burakovsky (#1 in their Top 25 Under 25) and Evgeny Kuznetsov (#2) are almost certainly off-limits
  • Forward prospects, especially wingers, would be ideal
  • But some additional depth at the blueline wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing
  • Age matters. An 18 year old is a full decade behind the Giroux/Voracek core, whereas a 22-25 year old should be ready to jump in and contribute immediately
Jakub Vrana, Center/Winger, Drafted 13th in 2014, 19 years old

The young Czech is cut from the Travis Konecny mold, in that he is small (5'11") but has shown solid puck possession skills. The JR outlook for this year sounds like he's good enough to play in the NHL but there isn't a spot for him quite yet. Well, my friend, we have plenty of spots for you in Philly, and one of those might even be on the opposite wing of the second-best Czech player in the NHL. 

Madison Bowey, Defenseman, Drafted 53rd in 2013, 20 years old

My favorite part of Bowey is the fact that he captained his junior team (Kelowna) to a WHL Champsionship. Not to bring up Konecny again, but I really believe that leadership in juniors is a great trait for a young player. We don't need a kid who can't even drink yet to lead the team, but it shows a maturity off the ice that is always welcome. 

On the ice, Bowey was a point-per-game player as a defensemen when he won that WHL trophy, and he's a right-handed shot. Those are a huge need for the Flyers going forward, as Radko Gudas is currently the only righty on the roster. 

Nate Schmidt, Defenseman, Undrafted in 2012, 24 years old

The exact quote from JR: "Schmidt's a good skater and a smart player, and those attributes set his floor pretty high." There is a lot to be gained from a defenseman that won't wow you like Ghost or Provy but earns a modest amount of money to contribute.

Now, if Schmidt was the entire haul for Medvedev, I'd riot. But I love the idea of him as a throw-in player, like Gudas last season. Schmidt's on the books at $750k this year and $875k next year, and then he's a restricted free agent. That's a dream contract for the Flyers; if he can chip in like an upgraded Brandon Manning for a couple years, that gives the prospects time to develop without handicapping the roster for years down the road.

Christian Djoos, Defenseman, Drafted 195th in 2012, 21 years old

Again right from JR: "Djoos' size will probably always be a concern, especially for a defenseman. But what he lacks in size, he makes up for in speed and passing ability." Hmmm... if only the Flyers had any sort of track record turning undersized, offensively talented defensemen into contributors. 

Tom Wilson, Winger, Drafted 16th in 2012, 21 years old

Tom Wilson is a sonofabitch, I know. But he's also just about to turn 22, and he seems like the kind of player that would benefit from a change of scenery. He's cast in the goon role in Washington, though he projected as a higher-end skill player coming out of juniors. 

I could see him fitting into the Flyers two ways: the easy comparison is Ryan White, who plays with very little skill but throws his weight around. The more challenging comparable (from a coaching standpoint) would be Wayne Simmonds. Big body? Check. Physical net-front presence with skill to create powerplay goals? I hope so. Ability to smash someone in the mouth if the throw a dirty hit? Hell yeah. 

And shit, now I've talked myself into trading for Tom Wilson. 

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