The 76ers weren’t the only ones wheeling and dealing on Friday as their reported move up to No. 1 took the city by storm.
Nestled underneath those whirlwinds, the Flyers executed a smaller trade, shipping Nick Cousins and goalie prospect Merrick Madsen to Arizona for a 2018 draft pick and Brendan Warren.
The move comes just hours before the NHL’s roster freeze at 3 p.m. on Saturday. All teams must submit their list of protected players from the expansion draft by 5 p.m. This is why many teams around the league, Flyers included, were looking to move some parts so they can at least get something back rather than losing a player for a nothing.
In regards to Cousins and Madsen, both players were just victims of circumstance. Cousins certainly had a “Philly streak” in him, as he played a tough two-way game and always seemed to get other the opponents’ skin. That being said, his production didn’t always warrant a spot in the lineup, and with some new faces expected to crack the lineup, including the No. 2 pick potentially, Cousins was truly on the outside looking in.
He finished his Flyers career with 27 points in 107 games after being chosen in the third round of the 2011 NHL Draft.
As for Madsen, he arrived via sixth round selection in 2013. He has consistently put up strong numbers at Harvard, going 28-6-2 this past year as a junior. It’s tough to give up on a 21-year-old goalie, but the organization just didn’t have any room for him after Ron Hextall did a complete overhaul on the goalie pipeline.
Madsen fell behind a long line of higher upside prospects, including Carter Hart, Anthony Stolarz, Felix Sandstrom and Alex Lyon.
In Warren, the Flyers are getting younger as he comes in three years younger than Cousins and a year under Madsen. The University of Michigan product saw his production drop off as a sophomore, but he has tallied 27 points (17 of those as a freshman) in 73 games. The Coyotes chose him in the third round of the 2015 draft.
At the very least, Hextall was able to bring back a pick in next year’s draft, which is certainly better than likely losing Cousins for nothing, whether it be via expansion draft or simply having to cut him if the numbers forced him out.