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There are some holes within the Flyers lineup that Flyers’ General Manager Chuck Fletcher would like to shore up with not much cap space to navigate, $5.118 million to be exact. Fletcher has been on record saying this offseason would be like the one in 2019 before the 2019-20 season commenced, one in which Radko Gudas was traded to the Washington Capitals for a struggling Matt Niskanen. So who is on the trading block now that could give the Flyers the Gudas/Niskanen vibes again? How about Sean Monahan and Jussi Välimäki from the Calgary Flames.
Monahan is coming off an injury riddled season, as he had hip surgery in May of 2021. His 2021-22 season came to an end in early April due to his other hip being hurt, to which he ended up having season ending hip surgery, according to the Athletic. He is expected to be fully ready for Training Camp this Fall. This also explains his drop in production this season as he only netted eight goals and registered 15 assists for 23 points in 65 games played. He was also in and out of the lineup at times, and this added more to Monahan’s frustrating season.
When healthy, Monahan is a good second line Center. Monahan provides size down the middle as he stands at 6’2, while weighing 200 pounds. He is an intelligent hockey player. Monahan is strong with the man advantage, and really has a keen hockey sense. He isn’t the fastest skater, but Monahan can pot goals in tight spaces as he creates space using his excellent puck possession skills. He’s an energetic player, and Monahan is also tough to move off the puck. Monahan plays an effective two-way game, and possesses excellent puck skills to succeed at the NHL level. For his efforts, Monahan can pot some big goals on the Power Play, as five out of eight goals scored during the Regular Season came with the man advantage. This is an area the Flyers also need immediate help in.
This 27-year-old in Monahan could force Kevin Hayes to his rightful position as a third line Center. Hayes is a 3C at this stage in his career, he has been playing out of position for need with the orange and black for the past few seasons. Now let’s talk about a former first round pick Juuso Välimäki, who stands at 6’2 and weighs 212 pounds, as being part of this deal.
The Calgary Flames would have liked to have dealt Välimäki at the trade deadline this past offseason, but an offer never came forth. Some sources that I have talked to within the Flames organization said that he could benefit from a change in a scenery, and the Flames would like to see him move on.
Välimäki, 23-years-old, was drafted by the Flames, #16 overall in 2017. He possesses a left-handed shot, but the Flyers are in need of adding a sixth defenseman, so he could pair well with Cam York if Ryan Ellis is completely healthy. Välimäki only suited up in nine games for the Flames this past season, while only tallying two assists, but he has great upside who could benefit from a change in scenery. He is on an expiring contract following the 2022-23 season, so there is a high-risk/big reward with obtaining the services of Välimäki. He has a cap hit of $1.5 million for the 2022-23 season.
A young 23-year-old in Välimäki is an excellent skater, and has good agility. He played in 35 games this past season for the Stockton Heat, so I was fortunate to catch a few of their games. Välimäki is physical and would crush players along the boards, but unlike Ristolainen he does not chase the big hit. Välimäki is a disciplined defenseman that can clear the porch well.
How to make this deal work
The Flames need to rid of cap space, as they plan on re-signing or trying to anyways, Matthew Tkachuk and Johnny Gaudreau. Monahan, enters the final year of his deal, and is set to make $6.375 million this season with an M-NTC (Modified No-Trade-Clause). It’s to my understanding with some close to the Calgary Flames organization that the Flyers are not on his no trade list. Realistically the Flames could receive James van Riemsdyk, who is entering the final year of his deal that comes with a cap hit of $7 million, and a young LHD Egor Zamula. Zamula is an undrafted 22-year-old defenseman that could see more playing time with the Flames organization.
To make this deal work further the Flyers could retain $1-2 million of JvR’s cap hit, thus giving the Flames more cap space in the long run. Moreover, there were only 94 players in the entire NHL that tallied 24 or more goals this past season, and JvR was one of them (24 goals), per Quanthockey.com.
Flames Receive: James van Riemsdyk and Egor Zamula
Flyers Receive: Sean Monahan and Juuso Välimäki, retain $2 million of JvR’s cap
This would be an ideal trade for both sides, as this trade would free Calgary of approximately $2.1 million in cap space if Zamula makes the team outright for the 2022-23 season. The Flames are looking for a young defenseman with NHL upside, maybe Zamula could receive more playing time with them. Moreover, Calgary needs cap space, coupled with the loss of a potential goal scorer in Matthew Tkachuk or Johnny Gaudreau. They will need to replace those goals, and JvR pots 20-25 goals each season. This trade would also leave the Flyers with approximately $2.2 million in cap space (Including retaining $2 million of JvR’s cap hit), if Välimäki makes the team outright for the 2022-23 season.
More importantly, this trade has 2019-20 vibes written all over it (Gudas for Niskanen, Justin Braun for picks), as Monahan potted 34 goals and registered 48 assists (82 points) in 2018-19. Monahan can score goals and that’s what the Flyers need, but he also fills a big void in the top six more importantly. He was also an Assistant Captain this past season with the Flames, so he provides leadership, as well. Make it happen Chuck Fletcher!!!!!
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