WASHINGTON – While the NHL trade deadline is still a few weeks away (Feb. 26 to be exact), there’s already a buzz of speculation about who’s coming and who’s going around the league.
At the moment, the Flyers are back in the playoff mix and if things stay that way, GM Ron Hextall figures to be a buyer.
But as he had repeated over and over again, he does not plan on trading prospects, young players or draft picks to pick up a quick-fix veteran.
“I’ve said it before,’’ Hextall said. “We’re not going to trade a young player for a guy for a year or two. That’s not going to happen. I’ve been saying that for four years, I probably shouldn’t have to keep saying it.
“But that’s reality.’’
For the past year or so, the perception has been that the Flyers could another proven scorer or two. Hextall’s development system is pretty well stocked, so does there come a point when he might stray from his stated plan.
“It all depends what’s coming back,’’ Hextall said. “If someone says give us this pick for this really good player, I guess never say never. This isn’t the time of year when you think you’re going to get a bargain, though.
“I’m not going to overspend to try and make our team this much better. We do have kids at Lehigh, it’s kind of what we’ve been doing for four years now. . .getting draft picks, now they’re up there, they’re doing well.
“To say we’re bringing in someone from outside that’s better than what’s there, I’m not convinced of that. You have to be open to anything because you don’t know what’s going to come across your desk.’’
So don’t hold your breath.
“I don’t think anything earth-shattering is going to happen,’’ Hextall said.
Gudas for Lady Byng?
Not that Radko Gudas is lobbying for the Lady Byng Trophy or anything, but it’s worth noting that going into Wednesday night’s game against the Caps, the Flyer defenseman hadn’t recorded a penalty minute since his 10-game suspension ended 20 games ago.
Talk about a turnaround.
At least a couple times each of the past few years, the Flyers have asked Gudas to tone it down a bit. Even the 10-game suspension caught the eyes of a few upstairs in management.
To his credit, Gudas hasn’t taken any needless minor penalties or even gotten into a big-time contact play which might result in a major infraction.
The bottom line is, he’s remained a physical player without the borderline cheap stuff.
“I’m not sure what’s going on here,’’ Gudas said with a chuckle. “I don’t think I’ve ever had a ‘streak’ like this.’’
The funny thing is, he claims he’s not making a conscious effort to stay out of the penalty box.
“I’m not trying at all,’’ he said. “Just playing physical. The referees haven’t been calling (penalties on) me.’’
It might have something to do with playing smart hockey. Staying in proper position, not taking penalties that aren’t directly related to scoring plays.
“To be honest, I don’t think I was taking any ‘lazy’ penalties before,’’ he said. “It’s always nice to get a streak like that.’’
Gudas made these comments before Wednesday night’s game against the Capitals at Capital One Arena.
The superstition was not lost on Gudas.
“Yeah, I hope that talking about it (the streak) won’t break it the next game,’’ he said. “Knock on wood. We’ll see how long it takes.
“It’s obviously something I like to have. I can show the league I can play without penalty minutes.’’