NHL trade rumors: Flyers interested in Blackhawks' Alex DeBrincat?

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Flyers looking to trade for young, two-time 40-plus goal scorer? originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

As Day 1 of the 2022 NHL draft nears, dialogue should only pick up between teams.

The Flyers have a pretty nice asset Thursday night: the fifth overall pick.

Given the club's significant need to get younger and more talented, it would seem likely the Flyers make a first-round selection Thursday night. Especially after they stomached a 25-46-11 season and traded away their first-round pick last summer.

General manager Chuck Fletcher said it himself in January: "The easiest way to get top-end talent is through the draft, historically that’s been proven year after year."

But the Flyers are set out to aggressively retool, so they'll be active in their efforts to get better now.

Could that come via a major trade involving the fifth overall pick?

Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman reported Sunday in his 32 Thoughts column that the Flyers "have legitimately pitched" the Blackhawks on 24-year-old winger Alex DeBrincat.

"More than just tire-kicking," Friedman wrote.

Did the conversations include the Flyers' No. 5 pick?

"I do think Philly and Chicago were engaged in talks on Alex DeBrincat definitely," Friedman said on Tuesday's edition of 32 Thoughts: The Podcast. "What I had heard was that things being talked about there included the fifth overall pick, the one that the Flyers have in Thursday's draft.

"When I was on with [Nick Kypreos and Justin Bourne] on Thursday morning, I mentioned was the fifth going to be included in this? And somebody reached out to me on Monday night, before we recorded this podcast, and said, 'Don't continue going down that road.' What I think happened is that 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 at this time, that that does not make sense for them and that they're better off keeping the pick than trading it for DeBrincat."

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

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

Update, Thursday, 4:30 p.m. ET: Blackhawks trade DeBrincat to Senators, land No. 7 overall pick

"If we're going to trade the pick outright, it needs to be for a player in a certain age group," Fletcher said last Wednesday. "It would have to be a player that could help us win now, but also win for several years. I don't think we're looking to bring in somebody in their late-20s or early-30s.

"Certainly I'm speaking to every team in the league, I know we say this every year, but it’s definitely true this year, trying to ascertain what the value of that pick is. If somebody has designs on it and makes the fair offer, we've got to consider everything."

DeBrincat does fall in a good age range for the Flyers. But he's not cheap and he will soon be due for a new deal. And if the Flyers had to part ways with their first-round pick for a second straight year, that would be a tough pill to swallow.

Flyers draft targets

• Will Flyers land best defenseman in draft at No. 5?

• Savoie, a dynamic skater and scorer, can boost Flyers' talent level

• Could Flyers draft another Finnish winger with exciting tools?

• A big center on the rise should have Flyers' attention at No. 5

• One of draft's more thrilling players may give Flyers trade-back option

If there at No. 5, D-man with eye-opening game will give Flyers a lot to ponder

• Is versatile forward with advanced game worth No. 5 pick by Flyers?

• Is there a dark horse on defense for the Flyers at No. 5?

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