What the Kings, Flyers, Blue Jackets got in off-season’s first three-way trade

Frank Seravalli joins Ken Reid to discuss the Kings three-team trade opening the door for an extension with Vladislav Gavrikov, and also looks at which team Connor Hellebuyck could land with and if the Panthers can comeback in the Stanley Cup Final.

The off-season trade market kicked off Tuesday with a big three-way trade between Philadelphia, Los Angeles and Columbus.

The important details of the trade are as follows:

• The Blue Jackets end up acquiring defenceman Ivan Provorov, who first was sent through Los Angeles so the Kings could retain $2.025 million of his $6.75 million AAV. Therefore, Columbus ends up with Provorov on its roster at reduced cost ($4.725 million).

• The Flyers have started a rebuild process they indicated they were open to when Daniel Briere was introduced as the team’s new general manager. The future assets they walk away with here include Los Angleles’ first-round pick, which Columbus acquired in the Vladislav Gavrikov deal at the deadline. It’s set at 22nd overall. They also picked up two second-round picks for the 2024 draft and prospect Helge Grans, a defenceman picked 35th overall in 2020. Veteran depth defenceman Sean Walker and goalie Cal Petersen were also acquired by the Flyers.

• Los Angeles’ big pick up here is the cap space they gain. It’s a big win for them to offload Petersen’s $5 million AAV, a contract he signed in Sept. of 2021 when he was lining up to be the Kings’ starter to take over for Jonathan Quick. Petersen has only struggled since, though, and was relegated to the AHL this season. Since they retains some money on Provorov, the Kings end up with $2.975 million in extra cap room. They now have a projected $13.2 million in off-season cap space and indications are they are trying to use some of it to re-sign Gavrikov. They’ll need a goalie, too, with Joonas Korpisalo set for free agency. They did pick up two players in this trade, Kevin Connauton and Hayden Hodgson, who are more for organizational depth than pro roster additions.

So, this deal is a big push ahead for Columbus, the start of a rebuild in Philadelphia, and the start of a busy summer for Kings GM Rob Blake as he also tries to push his team forward.

With more on the players and prospect moved in the deal, we turn to our scout Jason Bukala:

To Columbus: Ivan Provorov

• Provorov led the Flyers in even strength and penalty kill time on ice the past three seasons. He was used in all situations, but his hard minutes came in those two scenarios.

• Overall he averaged over 23 minutes per game.

• Provorov led the Flyers in blocked shots the past two seasons, with a total of 334 over that span.

• An outlier statistically is Provorov’s aggressive offensive style. He was taking much less risk offensively and directing fewer shots on goal. In 2021-22 Provorov directed 170 shots on goal and that number dropped to 115 this past season.

The bottom line becomes pretty clear the further I dive into Provorov’s year. He’s at his best when he is free to take some chances offensively. He’s a “good” defender, but not a “great” defender. He isn’t physically punishing, but he will get in the lane to block shots. His body language can range at times. He’s never been an energetic looking prospect or pro. He’s young and healthy (he played every game this past season and only missed three games the previous year). His salary structure is also a win for Columbus ($4.725M AAV for two years) with the Kings retaining $2.025 million of his full amount in the three-way transaction.

Provorov is only 26 years young. He’s an upgrade for Columbus. I expect the change of scenery to agree with him. The big question will be how he reacts to incoming coach Mike Babcock’s style. It’s safe to say his game didn’t agree with an equally hard coach in John Tortorella.

To Philadelphia: Cal Petersen

In my opinion Petersen is a risky investment for Philadelphia. His statistics have been trending down for the past three seasons at the NHL level and his year in the AHL had its share of inconsistencies.

When I break down Petersen’s game, his crease composure is a massive concern. He’s not tracking the play, getting set, or putting himself in positive position to make second stops. Far too often he ends up leaning forward (or backwards) in his butterfly, making him small in the net in the process.

Hopefully for Petersen, and the Flyers, he regains his confidence. Perhaps a new coaching staff and Philly showing confidence by acquiring him, will lead to better results.

To Philadelphia: Sean Walker

Walker is a steady bottom pairing/two-way NHL defenceman. He’s the kind of player who doesn’t have an elite element, but he doesn’t have any glaring weaknesses either. He can match up against middle six opponents and be deployed on the second unit penalty kill. Walker moves fine and engages adequately. The Flyers coaching staff will appreciate the fact he is willing to get in the lane to front the play and block shots.

To Philadelphia: Helge Grans

I’ve always had time for Grans. He’s a rangy, 6-foot-3, 206-pound right shot defenceman who leans two-way “D”. He’s the kind of prospect who projects to be used at even strength and the penalty kill. I don’t see Grans, a second-round pick from the 2020 draft, producing much offence at the NHL level.

Grans is reliable on and off the puck. His read/react game is sound. He absorbs contact in his zone while making outlets. His net front defending has room for improvement. He has an active stick. I describe him as a “bumper”. He isn’t an overly physical player despite his stature.

Grans has two years of seasoning under his belt at the AHL level. He will challenge for an NHL job in Philly this fall.

Rebuild Mode

Philadelphia is clearly in rebuild mode and they did well to add Grans and extra draft capital. The first-round pick they acquired in this trade is slotted at number 22. The second-round selections further add to their draft board, giving them more swings at improving their depth in the process. 

Image via CapFriendly

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