Next Thursday, the Philadelphia Flyers will be on the clock.
Will they draft a player with the fifth overall pick, or will they make a trade? There are many avenues on the table to acquire assets. Brent Flahr and Chuck Fletcher are mulling over all options in hockey operations meetings. Additional stress is already mounting on the Flyers’ shoulders following a setback to Joel Farabee and the uncertainty of Ryan Ellis being ready by the start of the regular season.
Presently, these are just the time-sensitive issues Philadelphia faces. They’ll strive to become less expensive while discovering supporting and leading talent. Reversing the direction of the last two seasons is a steep task.
Yesterday, Fletcher and Flahr held a press conference a week before the 2022 NHL Entry Draft in Montreal, Canada. Let’s take a deeper look at what was said:
Planning for the Draft
Despite an effort by Sam Carchidi, Flahr refused to give insight about who the Flyers are eyeing with the fifth overall pick.
“You’re just trying to get dirt out of me. I’m not going to tell you.”Brent Flahr; 6/29/2022
Fletcher did offer a tidbit. He said that there was a discussion about the option of trading back in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft in an earlier meeting. They’ll look at the draft board and select based on a combination of the best prospect available who fits team needs. Alas, a trade for a good, young NHL player with longevity is also a play Fletcher thought about:
“If we’re going to trade the pick outright, it needs to be for a player in a certain age group. It would have to be a player that could help us win now, and also win for several years. I don’t think we’re looking to bring in somebody in their late twenties or early thirties.”Chuck Fletcher; 6/29/2022
In older versions of mock drafts, Juraj Slafkovský and David Jiříček were within reach for Philadelphia. Slafkovský, or even Šimon Nemec, will likely be off the board, but Cutter Gauthier is available. What about a sleeper like Rutger McGroarty? If the Flyers use the fifth overall pick, many options can help. Speaking of Gauthier, if he is on the board, trade with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Pierre-Luc DuBois is a name to watch. He and Cam Atkinson reuniting in Philadelphia with John Tortorella could be a blessing. It’ll take the first and third picks of the 2022 NHL Entry Draft from the Flyers, but it fits the “aggressive retool” mantra.
It’s something to ponder. DuBois is currently circulating the New York Rangers rumor mill.
He hasn’t stepped back on the ice, but the healing process isn’t off track. However, Ellis still has a ways to go.
“The bulk of his rehab is still ahead of him. He’s starting to intensify his off-ice workouts. It’s going well, but there’s several more steps to go before he gets on the ice. It’s still difficult, if not impossible, to predict where he’ll be in two or three months.”Chuck Fletcher; 6/29/2022
July is a critical month for Ellis’ rehabilitation. A setback for Ellis means Fletcher is more aggressive in free agency to fill that void. Thus far, everything is pacing correctly.
It’s good that Ellis is tracking towards a healthy status because Farabee’s surgery blind-sighted the Philadelphia Flyers. He finished 2021-2022, then hurt himself during a lightweight benchpress workout. His timetable for return is three to four months.
“The first time he was working out with his shoulder, everything felt a hundred percent, felt great, then it just happened.”Brent Flahr; 6/29/2022
The disc-replacement surgery Farabee endured did not correlate to any injury from last season. Fletcher stated that it is crucial for Farabee to feel right versus having him back for the start of 2022-2023.
“Whether it’s three months or four months, at the end of the day, if he’s ready for game one, great. If he missed five, six, seven and we can push him a little bit further, that might make sense too.”Chuck Fletcher; 6/29/2022
Sandström, Fedotov, or UFA?
Shopping in free agency for a backup goaltender isn’t out of the question. While the Philadelphia Flyers should become more inexpensive, “aggressive retool” means a reliable veteran might accompany Hart.
“We’re going to look and explore what veteran goalies may be available and talk to teams about potential trades to see what the potential price would be to do that. In saying that, Sandström and Fedotov are 25-years-old. They both have proven they’re good goalies in leagues outside of the NHL. Do you take a leap of faith and save some cap space, or do get a veteran guy and maybe some more certainty? There’s a cost to that as well.”Chuck Fletcher; 6/29/2022
Sandström was winless in 2021-2022 but held his own to accrue a 91%SV. Fedotov helped CSKA win the Gagarin Cup in the KHL during 2021-2022. Both are promising prospects, but how will Fedotov translate to the NHL or AHL? Will Sandström consistently prove to be a helping hand on the Flyers?
Topping the veteran backup goaltender market are Braden Holtby and Casey DeSmith. Both shouldn’t exceed what Philadelphia paid Martin Jones, but both maintained a 91%SV and kept under 3GAA. Currently, the Flyers are paying less than $1mil/AAV for Sandström or Fedotov.
Against the cap, a million dollars could be the difference in a needle-moving player coming to Broad Street.
(Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire)