The Flyers MUST make this move before the NHL Trade Deadline
One of the Philadelphia Flyers “talks of the town”, recently, has been moving on from Ivan Provorov and anyone in support of a rebuild, including myself, wants him TRADED.
People who, more or less, favor some view like “wait and see” or “hope and pray” that the team eventually becomes better by juju magic have a different view. They say that Provorov has been playing better lately. With the emergence of Cam York as their top young defenseman, the priority must be shielding him from advancing too quickly. We can’t do to him what we did to Provorov.
Now, on one level, I’m not entirely sure we did anything to Provorov.
Possibly, advancing through the ranks of the Flyers‘ defense core so quickly led to chronic anxiety and exasperated his inability to effectively make rushed decisions. But that isn’t something I can say with certainty. On another level, I don’t see how we’ve been protecting or shielding York from anything. He’s been among the team leaders in ice time, and he’s faced plenty of tough matchups.
Furthermore, he’s faced these tough matchups and significant minutes while playing his off side for the first time in his life. He’s a puck moving defenseman who specializes in things like orchestrating breakouts. Yet, we’re playing him in a way that handicapps his ability to break the puck out.
What part of this sounds like sheltered minutes? And pardon my insolence here, but what about partnering with Ivan Provorov is making York so safe? I must have missed when Provorov became Victor Hedman because the implication is that playing with Provorov is some luxurious beach vacation.
Nevertheless, I do agree with part of the sentiment. We can’t make this mistake again. If York is a top-pair defenseman, and I wrote an article detailing why I believe he is, then he needs a top-pair partner.
Philadelphia Flyers: In Cam York We Trust
It is possible for a world-class #1 defenseman to carry an inadequate partner to acceptable results, sure. Maybe York can do that. But it’s not possible to achieve optimum results that way.
Cale Makar wouldn’t be the same without Devon Toews. Charlie McAvoy wouldn’t be the same without Gryzleck. Adam Fox wouldn’t be the same without Ryan Lindgren.
Miro Heiskanen would make the world tremble if he wasn’t constantly carrying less than ideal partners, sometimes on his off-hand.
York needs a longterm stable partner that brings his own value to the table. Someone that complements him, and someone that can play at his pace. Someone who’s a natural right handed defenseman.
Enter: Dante Fabbro
Nashville is coming up to a cap crunch where both RFA right shot defensemen, among others, will need to be paid. Dante Fabbro and Alexander Carrier. Rumor has it that they prefer Carrier to Fabbro, and they could obviously get a nice return for Fabbro.
And if the Flyers aren’t looking to build through the draft, which they’re not, then they should invest in a young and long-term partner for York. One could argue they should do that even if they were looking to build through the draft.
Why is Dante Fabbro the guy to pair with York?
For one, he’s a similar player with similar strengths. It’s similar but different enough to make a complimentary pairing. Fabbro has yet to show York’s dynamism with the puck on his stick, but he has shown a knack for moving the puck with poise and playing solid hockey on both ends of the rink.
His play-driving results are terrific. His 53% xG share is 2nd on the Predators to Mattias Ekholm, and his actual GF% is 52% in over 600 minutes of ice time. His 2.96 xGF/60 is quite good. Relative to team environment, he ranks 3rd in this category. Both Josi and Ekholm grade out ahead.
His 2.62 xGA/60 is also very good. Relative to team environment, he ranks 2nd in this category to Mattias Ekholm. In case you didn’t know, Ekholm has had one hell of a season. For whatever reason, Fabbro has been playing most of this season on the third pair. But it isn’t as if he’s only achieving this because of sheltered minutes.
Last year, playing the same amount at 5v5 as Mattias Ekholm, he led the team with a 52.72% xG share. His 2.53 xGF/60 and 2.27 xGA/60 over that time span paint a good picture of who he is. He’s a defensive minded, game managing two-way defenseman. The perfect compliment to an offensive minded, game managing two-way defenseman in York.
Now, maybe the Predators decide that moving Fabbro is against their best interest. It surely looks that way to me. But their defense group is, as per the usual, crowded. And if they do decide that they’re better off not signing Fabbro, the Flyers should be one of the first teams calling David Poile and talking terms.
In all honesty, he kinda owes us after the Ryan Ellis incident