Flyers interested in Blackhawks’ Alex DeBrincat?

Flyers willing to trade for a young, two-time goalscorer over 40 points? originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

As Day 1 of the 2022 NHL draft approaches, the only dialogue between teams should begin.

The Flyers have a nice trump card on Thursday night: the fifth overall pick.

Given the club’s strong need to become younger and more talented, it seems likely that the Flyers will make a first-round selection on Thursday night. Especially after digesting a 25-46-11 season and swapping out their first round pick last summer.

General Manager Chuck Fletcher said it herself in January: “The easiest way to get top talent is through the draft, historically it has been proven year after year.”

But the Flyers plan to retool aggressively, so they’ll be active in their efforts to get better now.

Could that come through a big trade with the fifth overall pick?

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported in his… 32 thoughts column that the Flyers “legitimately threw” the Blackhawks at the 24-year-old winger? Alex DeBrincat

“More than just kicking tires,” Friedman wrote.

Were the conversations related to Flyers’ number 5 pick?

“I think Philly and Chicago were definitely talking about Alex DeBrincat,” Friedman said on Tuesday’s edition of 32 Thoughts: The Podcast† “What I had heard was talk of the fifth overall pick, which was the Flyers’ pick in Thursday’s draft.

“When I Was Working On” [Nick Kypreos and Justin Bourne] on Thursday morning I said the fifth would be included in this? And someone reached out to me on Monday night, before we recorded this podcast, and said, “Don’t go down that road.” What I think happened is Chicago asked Philly for the fifth overall pick and I don’t think Philly wants to do that. I think Philly has decided, at least for now, that it doesn’t make sense to them and that they should keep the choice rather than trade it for DeBrincat.”

There’s a lot to like about DeBrincat. He is young, dynamic and has scored 41 goals twice before he was 25. The Flyers only need goals, but that element is far from their only need. DeBrincat has a cap hit of $6.4 million and could become a restricted free agent after the 2022-23 season.

If the Flyers are hesitant to part with the fifth overall pick in this spot, a deal that would likely be a package including other assets, it’s understandable.

“If we want to trade choice outright, it has to be for a player in a certain age group,” Fletcher said on Wednesday. “It should be a player who can help us win now, but also for several years. I don’t think we want to bring in someone in their late twenties or early thirties.

“Of course I speak to every team in the league, I know we say this every year, but it’s certainly true this year, trying to establish the value of that choice. If anyone has designs on it and makes the fair offer, we have to take everything into account.”

DeBrincat is in a good age category for the Flyers. But he is not cheap and will soon have a new contract. And if the Flyers had to say goodbye to their first-round pick for the second year in a row, that would be a tough pill to swallow.

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