• January 20, 2022

Flyers Lost Their ‘Gaustad’ Player When They Waived Nodl

Paul Gaustad of the Buffalo Sabres was on the list of players that Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren considered acquiring at the NHL trade deadline. He ultimately was traded to the Nashville Predators for a first round draft pick.

A lot of people that I’ve spoken with have suggested that, while they’re glad that Holmgren didn’t relinquish his first round draft pick, they felt that Gaustad would have been a great player for the Flyers to seek because he was such a great defensive-minded forward who could kill penalties.

Guess what? The Flyers already had a player this season like that. His name was Andreas Nodl, and he was waived unnecessarily.

I was pretty livid when it happened, because the Flyers had already moved defensive stalwarts Mike Richards and Jeff Carter in the offseason. The Flyers were relying on rookies Matt Read and Sean Couturier on the penalty kill, and anyone with foresight could see that relying on rookies or players that had never killed penalties before (Jake Voracek) for the entire season could lead to problems with the penalty kill down the road.

Nodl, while not someone that lit up the scoresheet, had been one of the most energetic Flyers on the ice in the time he was here this season when playing with Max Talbot on the fourth line.

Let’s compare Gaustad and Nodl, shall we? Gaustad, 3o, has never scored more than 12 goals a season. Nodl scored 11 goals in his first full season, in which he was kept to 67 games between injuries and being a healthy scratch.  When Gaustad was 24 (Nodl’s age last year), he put up 24 points.

While I am by no means an expert on advanced statistics for hockey, Behind the Net logs a number of advanced indicators for teams and individual players. By their numbers, Gaustad was the best player for the Sabres in taking on tough competition and directing more shots on his opponent’s net than his own.

Nodl, by comparison, is the third best player on the Carolina Hurricanes at both even strength and penalty killing for taking on tough competition and moving the play forward.

Would you rather have kept Nodl for $845K or get Gaustad for a first round draft pick?

Keep in mind that Tom Sestito, Jody Shelley, and Zac Rinaldo are all still on the Flyers roster, and, based on advanced statistics, rank 13th, 14th, and 15th among the 15 forwards who have played at least 10 games this season.  You can argue all you want that keeping one or two enforcers is good for the team, but keeping all three, who don’t kill penalties, at the expense of a player like Nodl is ludicrous.

In essence, Holmgren gambled that the defense and penalty killing could hold up just fine without him.  Sixty-one games into the season, it has become an apparent hole in the line-up.

The lesson to be learned here is not to undervalue defensive forwards, even if they aren’t going to score more than 10 goals a season.  There is a place and a purpose for them on every roster.  With additional development, Eric Wellwood has the potential to replace Nodl in a year or two. Hopefully the Flyers elect to hold onto him in the future.

For the latest Flyers news and updates, you can follow me on twitter (@JoshJanet).

Josh Janet

Josh Janet was raised in Northern New Jersey, but by an odd set of circumstances, is a Philadelphia sports fan. While recently converted to the Phillies, Josh is a diehard Flyers fan and can be expected to stay on top of the latest NHL news.

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  • so weird to read this when I know Nodl from being college buddies. 845K seems like so much for him to be making now… haha.

  • Good article especially when comparing Nodl’s worth against Tom Sestito, Jody Shelley, and Zac Rinaldo —

  • That is a good article, however, the difference between the two is, Gaustad is a center and Nodl is a winger. Not to mention 6″4 230 lbsand 6″1 198 lbs. Gaustad was fierce on faceoffs. I liked Nodl. But I understood why they moved him. Read is him but with more offensive ability.

  • What?!?! You’re really going to add another rant about the tragic loss of Andreas Nodl?!?! Please stop already!

    I don’t understand what the esoteric stats are that you’re using to claim Nodl is 3rd best something on the Hurricanes. The man has +/- of 0 and has 3 goals and 3 assists in 36 games – one point every six games.

    More importantly, at 59 points, the Hurricanes are the 4th worst team in the NHL. They have 8th lowest goal total, given up the 5th highest number of goals, and are on the lower half side of the league in power play goals surrendered (of course, the Flyers are dead last in that category, giving up 49 PP goals while Hurricanes have given up 40).

    The third best something-or-other on the 4th worst team in the NHL doesn’t impress me at all. In fact, that says more about Nodl’s mediocrity than anything else. And at $845k per year, someone in the Flyers scouting department should be forced to clean the entire stadium a few times for rating the kid so high in the first place.

    And seriously – let’s be calm here for one moment. Isn’t the loss of Pronger MAYBE a bigger reason for the higher than usual PPA goal total? Isn’t the utterly bad play of both Flyer starting goalies more of a factor in the bad penalty kill record than Andreas freaking Nodl’s absence in the lineup?!

  • While I will agree they are both limited offensively and good defenders there are a couple major differences.

    Gaustad is has a major mean streak. Remember in last year’s playoffs when he was getting in the Flyers heads? He is a mean physical force out on the ice. I dont see Nodl intimidating anyone. If someone needs to send a message after a borderline hit or the Flyers need a spark, Nodl wasn’t going to bring that, Gaustad would. And also, like Deasr said, he is a center. He is a beast in the faceoff circle. He wins faceoffs at 56.8 percent. That is better than anyone on the Flyers. That ranks him in the upper echelon of the NHL. He has taken 871 faceoffs, which means his numbers aren’t skewed from a minimal amount of draws.

    So I have to completely disagree with you that Nodl was a Gaustad type player. Nodl is a 4th line guy in the NHL. He isn’t physical at all, wont fight and can’t win faceoffs. He is a dime a dozen type player in the NHL.

    That being said, I am glad the Flyers didn’t give up a 1st rounder for Gaustad, because he isn’t worth that much. He bring some attributes that would be nice for the Flyers but not worth a 1st round pick.

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