The NHL trade deadline is Monday at 3 p.m., and Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher is dealing from a position of strength.

After all, his team is sizzling and he doesn’t have to make a trade unless he is overwhelmed by an offer.

There are two schools of thought on whether Fletcher should make a deal. Here are cases for both:

Why the Flyers need to make a deal:

The Flyers should set their sights on finishing second in the Metropolitan Division and gaining the home-ice advantage in the opening round of the playoffs. Adding a proven scorer like Florida’s Mike Hoffman or Los Angeles’ Jeff Carter would make that goal more attainable.

Hoffman, Rangers left winger Chris Kreider, and Ottawa’s Jean-Gabriel Pageau (center) and Vladislav Namestnikov (left winger) are among the highly regarded forwards available, but they are potential unrestricted free agents and are considered rentals.

But if you get Hoffman, a 30-year-old right winger who could score at least 30 goals for the second straight season, by sending, say, Shayne Gostisbehere home to Florida, it could push the Flyers into a different category -- from a dangerous team to strong Stanley Cup contender.

And if they somehow beat the odds and won the Cup with Hoffman, maybe be re-signs with the Orange and Black?

The Kings might be willing to pay half of Carter’s cap hit – which is at $5.27 million annually until the end of 2021-22 season -- and take something the Flyers could afford to trade, such as a third-round draft pick.

The fact Carter has played in 120 playoff games and has won two Stanley Cups adds to his value. Like Hoffman, he would also help a power play that has slipped to 17th in the NHL. (Carter, who wants to remain in L.A., has an undisclosed injury but may return to the lineup Wednesday.)

The Flyers have been dominating at the Wells Fargo Center (21-5-4) and not so hot on the road (14-15-3), so securing home ice is extra important this season – especially when you look at Carter Hart’s home-road splits.

If the Flyers can’t get a scorer like Hoffman or Carter, they could turn their attention toward adding Anaheim center Derek Grant or Minnesota left winger Ryan Donato. They would both fit under the Flyers’ salary-cap availability (around $2 million) and would give them some much-needed depth in case an injury occurs.

Fletcher said he is exploring the trade market and would like to add a forward if it improves the team. That’s a smart approach because you can never have enough depth if you want to make a long Stanley Cup run.

Why the Flyers should stand pat:

The Flyers (35-20-7), who entered Sunday with the NHL’s eighth-best points percentage (.621), are on a 13-5-2 run and adding a player might disrupt their chemistry.

In addition, Scott Laughton’s emergence – he has equaled a career-high with 12 goals and there are still 20 games left – has reduced the urgency to acquire a third-line center.

The players are thriving under their current setup, and all four lines are defined and contributing. Why mess with success?

“I like our team in here. We’ve done a good job and that’s what we’re focusing on,” said Laughton, whose team is three points behind second-place Pittsburgh (which has a game in hand) in the Metropolitan Division. “If something happens [trade-wise], it happens, but we’ve been playing good hockey.”

If a forward suffers an injury, center Morgan Frost can be recalled from the Phantoms. Frost looked good in his last call-up and he keeps getting better in Lehigh Valley.

Frost has played 20 games with the Flyers this season and knows their system, giving him an advantage over a player acquired in a trade.

Center Nolan Patrick, who has not played this season because of a migraine disorder, gives Fletcher another reason not to make a move. Patrick has been practicing with the team lately and, though there are no guarantees he will return, seems close to absorbing contact at practice and going to the Phantoms on a rehab assignment.

The puck is in Fletcher’s corner. Will he make a splash in the trade market? Is one even needed?


The Flyers recalled Gostisbehere from Lehigh Valley, where he was on a conditioning stint. ... The Flyers, who avenged a 7-3 Dec. 15 loss and defeated Winnipeg, 4-2, on Saturday, return to action Tuesday against visiting San Jose (26-31-4 entering Sunday). The Sharks blasted the Flyers in San Jose, 6-1, on Dec. 28. ... Braun said it will be a “little less stressful" to play against his ex-teammates than it was the first time. He said he may visit with some of them Monday “and go at it on Tuesday.” ...The Flyers’ Wives Carnival was held Sunday at the Wells Fargo Center and drew thousands of fans. “It was awesome to see all the fans who support us. I know we’re going to need them in this final playoff push,” said center Kevin Hayes, adding he signed a fan’s head Sunday for the first time ever. "They support us all the time and it’s very easy for us to give back.”