Monday, April 12, 2021

NHL Trade Review: Flyers send Raffl to Washington, Gustafsson to Montreal

 


           The Washington Capitals have acquired forward Michael Raffl from the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for a 5th round draft pick. Additionally, the Flyers acquired a 7th rounder from the Montreal Canadiens for defenseman Erik Gustafsson. 50% of Gustafsson's salary was retained. 

These two players were spare parts for the Flyers this year, who still have playoff aspirations but will probably fall short. Raffl is the main name to look at here, as he was a Flyer for the past eight seasons, maxing out at 21 goals. He has spent time all throughout the Philadelphia lineup throughout his career, but in Washington he will be a 4th liner. They get a late round pick for the veteran from Austria, who will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year after having a $1.6 million cap hit this year. That is $100k more than Gustafsson's cap hit after the trade, as the Flyers gave him a one year, $3 million deal in the offseason. He is an offensive defenseman who is terrible offensively. He was brought in to replace defensive defenseman Matt Niskanen after he retired, which was unfair to Gustafsson given his playing style. He fell out of favor as of late. 

Raffl, 32, has scored three goals with five assists for eight points in 34 games for Philadelphia this year. In his NHL career, all for the Flyers, Raffl has scored 81 goals with 79 assists for 160 points in 504 games. 

Gustafsson, 29, has scored one goal with nine assists for 10 points in 24 games for the Flyers this year. In his NHL career for Philadelphia, the Chicago Blackhawks and Calgary Flames, Gustafsson has scored 29 goals with 100 assists for 129 points in 245 games. 

The Canadiens give up very little here, and only account for half of Gustafsson's remaining salary. Even after the club lost Victor Mete on waivers to Ottawa, Gustafsson should just be depth. The team also recently brought in Jon Merrill from Detroit.

The Capitals' acquisition did not make too much sense originally, but things cleared up after they traded away Richard Panik and Jakub Vrana to Detroit for Anthony Mantha. Raffl will fight with Dan Carr for Panik's spot, as a 4th liner or the extra forward. 

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