When the Philadelphia Flyers entered the 2020-2021 season, GM Chuck Fletcher had a choice to make. A choice that was bet on the future or add to sure up the teams issues.
Fletcher decided the best option was to bet on the future. Something that relied heavily on two players returning to form after injury (Patrick & Lindblom) & his young defense taking the next step. Both have now blown up in his face.
Those two decisions costed the Flyers their season & now look to next season after selling at the deadline.
Chuck Fletcher made three moves at the deadline. All with the focus on next season & the future.
Fletcher locked up his most valuable trade piece, Scott Laughton, to start his deadline day. Extending Laughton for 5-years at $3M per season.
With their season more than likely over, Fletcher would then trade away his two UFAs at season end.
First, sending offseason signee Erik Gustafsson to the Montreal Canadiens. The Flyers got a 2022 7th round pick, originally the St. Louis Blues pick, for Gustafsson after retaining 50% of his cap hit. ($1.5M)
Then, Michael Raffl was sent to the Washington Capitals. The Flyers got a 2021 5th round pick, originally the Vegas Golden Knights pick, for Raffl after retaining 25% of his cap hit. ($400K)
Both trades opened up roster spots for young players.
Tanner Laczynski, who made his NHL debut this season, will take Raffl’s roster spot. According to Chuck Fletcher, Laczynski will be with the Flyers for the rest of the season.
Sam Morin, who has found his spot on Flyers 3rd pair, will take Gustafsson’s roster spot. Since being recalled as a defenseman, Morin has been a regular in the lineup & should get a long look the rest of the season.
With the Flyers giving their young players time at the NHL level, the focus now turns to next season. A year that will be a big one for Fletcher.
But, Fletcher did make one thing clear. His coaching staff will be back. Giving a very passionate “NO” to question about if changes will be made to his staff.
As for the players… The Flyers could look a lot different next season. Chuck Fletcher reiterated the same sentiment as two weeks ago saying he believes the makeup is still not right.
“My goal this offseason is to make this team the best we can make it,” Fletcher said about his plans for offseason.
While it was a slow & boring deadline for the Flyers, the offseason could be a little more energizing.
PHOTO CREDIT : Nick Wass – AP