Trade Target: Flyers defenseman Sean Walker checks a lot of boxes for the Maple Leafs

Photo credit:© Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Seney
2 months ago
With American Thanksgiving behind us, trade chatter across the NHL should be picking up in a major way. The Maple Leafs will be involved as Brad Treliving is known as a general manager who never shies away from a conversation about potentially upgrading his roster. With a new GM in town, trade season should be an interesting one in Toronto.
The Leafs defense remains to be a concern as they approach the quarter mark of the season. Injuries certainly haven’t helped but there’s little doubt Treliving will be addressing the matter at some point this season. Expect to see some potential targets showcased throughout the season with the opening act heading down to the city of Brotherly love. Introducing, Flyers right-handed defenseman Sean Walker.

By The Numbers

First things first, the Maple Leafs aren’t bathing in cap space, so any target needs to make sense financially. With John Klingberg likely on the LTIR for the rest of the season it will help but it’s less likely you’ll see Treliving acquire a blueliner with a huge AAV attached to their luggage. Here’s how Walker’s numbers stack up:
Age: 29
Height: 5’11
196 lbs
Cap Hit: $2,650,000
Years Left: 0
Walker doesn’t hold any trade protection and was acquired by the Flyers in a summer three-way deal that included Ivan Provorov going to Columbus. So far in his first 21 games with his new team, he’s played great, scoring three times and collecting 10 points. He had all of 13 points last season in 70 games with the Kings.
Some stats from NHL Edge to consider is Walker’s been able to show off his skating abilities and powerful shot as he’s among the upper tiers of the entire NHL when it comes to speed bursts, skating max speed, total distance covered and shot max:
Sean Walker, Flyers RHDLeague Average by (F/D)Percentile
Top Skating Speed (mph)22.5721.2486
Speed Bursts Over 20 mph35886
Skating Distance (mi)63.3239.0092
Top Shot Speed (mph)92.4188.7882
A new team means a new opportunity and Walker’s taking advantage to say the least. In 2022-23 in LA, he averaged 14:49 of ice-time a night, this season in Philly? A career high 21:16 a game. Walker kills penalties on the Flyers top unit and has even scored two shorthanded goals to this point. He also sees time on the Flyers second power play unit and has shown the ability throughout his career to be effective in a depth role on special teams.
So far this season Walker’s also managed to lay 29 hits, block 33 shots and his 42 shots on goal lead the Flyers blue line. While he’ll never blow anyone out of the water statistically, the Keswick, ON native is a jack of all trades when it comes to the type of role he could provide for the Maple Leafs.

Acquisition Cost is Rising

Leading into this season, the Flyers were seen as a rebuilding squad who were going to sell off many of their veteran assets for future considerations of either draft picks or prospects. While Walker may have cost a team like the Leafs a mid-round pick and prospect before the season started, his stock continues to rise and Flyers GM Daniel Briere will want to cash in leading up to the trade deadline in March.
It’s likely the Flyers can fetch a second-round pick at least in any Walker trade as the 29-year-old is having a career season and doesn’t appear to be slowing down as Philly approaches the quarter mark of their season. The Maple Leafs don’t own a second-round pick through the next three drafts as an aggressive Kyle Dubas is to thank there. Brad Treliving does have a first rounder in 2024 and 2026 to dangle as bait, however the Maple Leafs wouldn’t be wise to move a top pick for a depth defenseman who isn’t under contract next season.
Reports have started to surface listing Walker as a prime trade candidate and expect for the Maple Leafs to at least check in on the asking price. While Treliving ideally, would love to add a blueliner with more size and sandpaper to their game, Walker does a bit of everything and can complement the Leafs back end as a right-handed shot. Given Klingberg isn’t expected back potentially at all this season, the Flyers d-man could be a solid replacement as someone who can play in all situations and be effective for the Maple Leafs on both sides of the puck.

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