Opinion: Flyers’ Fletcher is the punchline to every NHL joke

Flyers' Chuck Fletcher
24 June 2011: Minnesota Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher during the 2011 NHL Entry Draft at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota.

It has been a difficult week to be a Philadelphia Flyers fan. As a lifelong fan, I know what fans are going through. It has been a week since Chuck Fletcher failed to land a superstar free agent. When the Flyers need a desperate rebuild just to get back to mediocrity, Fletcher elected an “aggressive retool” to right the ship. He failed, miserably.

Personally, there is nothing I hate more than team executives acting as if they are more intelligent than the fans.

Prior to the beginning of free agency, I was torn as to what Philadelphia should do. I thought that doing nothing would have been the right choice. That being said, the fan in me was left deflated and pissed off. How could Fletcher do nothing when prized free agent, Johnny Gaudreau was hoping, wanting to come home to play for his hometown team.

Now Fletcher has become a joke in the NHL. Paul Bissonnette completely roasted him on the past Spittin’ Chiclets podcast:

“He gave your bag to Risto [Ristolainen.] Whoops. Actually, Chuck Fletcher has become my favorite GM after the answer he gave for how it would be hard to move a couple of contracts to get one of the best playmakers we’ve seen in the last F-in what, five to ten years here! Like, come on! It’s F-in hilarious, he didn’t even want to work to get it done.”

Paul Bissonette; 7/19/2022

Fixing Holes?

During the free agency press conference, Fletcher acted as if we were all stupid. Charlie O’Connor, from the Athletic, brilliantly asked if Fletcher sold the fans a “bill of goods” by using the phrase aggressive retool. Fletcher’s response was everything:

“We’ve been very aggressive in trying to fix some of our holes, right now we felt we had some major holes on defense.”

Chuck Fletcher; 7/13/22

Fletcher spoke of addressing the Flyers’ holes on defense. His response to fixing holes in their defensive unit was to bring back a 34-year-old defender who was on the roster last season. He traded a first-round and a second-round pick with Robert Hagg for Rasmus Ristolainen, then extended him to a 5yr/$25.5mil deal.

Additionally, he traded a second, a third, and a fourth-round pick for Tony DeAngelo and a seventh-round pick that became Alexis Gendron. Fletcher also bought out a fan favorite in Oskar Lindblom, who promptly signed with the San Jose Sharks for a little less. How was Lindblom not a trade asset?

Fletcher can say everything we want to hear, but I am not buying it and neither should anyone else. Philadelphia was 31st in total goals scored (210,) only better than one NHL team (the Arizona Coyotes scored 206.) The city and its fanbase deserve better.

(Photo Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn/Icon Sportswire)