Fletcher: Flyers ‘selling’ at the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline

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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.

We’re three days away from the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline, and Chuck Fletcher is still airing grievances about using the term ‘rebuild.’ He discounted it as a buzzword, but today was the first time his approach supplemented the definition.

“It’s terminology. Are we going to gut this team? No. We’re not going to gut this team. I’m not looking to trade Tippett, Farabee, Frost, Gauthier, and just trade everybody and start over.”

Chuck Fletcher; 2/28/2023

All of Philadelphia screamed ‘rebuild,’ while the original stance, ‘aggressive retool,’ pivoted to roster stabilization.

In a nutshell, it’s the first time Fletcher seems to be on the same page as John Tortorella, the bench boss that already took ownership of the rebuild and the grind that comes with it. Fletcher stated the Philadelphia Flyers are “not looking to take shortcuts,” and that “we all understand where we’re at.”

Finally, the Flyers have a plan. Everyone is on the table at the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline. Fletcher emphasized a desire for younger assets, whether that means via draft picks or prospects:

“We have to get younger, and we have to find some more young assets. What we’re going to try to do is probably more in line with what most of the teams in the league have tried to do the last few years. You keep some of your better assets, and if you can move a couple other players out to get younger, then we’ll do that.”

Chuck Fletcher; 2/28/2023

Fletcher slapped duct tape to cover the holes, but the ship didn’t stay afloat. He did it with Rasmus Ristolainen, paying a steep price on a trade before extending him to a 5yr/$25.5mil contract. Recently, Tony DeAngelo signed a 2yr/$10mil extension upon joining Philadelphia while signing Nicolas Deslauriers to a 4yr/$7mil deal featuring a modified no-trade clause.

Unlikely to be in the mix for Connor Bedard at the 2023 NHL Entry Draft, a late submission to a rebuild still is better than never. The Flyers still have eight draft picks, including the 2023 first-round selection. James van Riemsdyk and possibly Kevin Hayes will accrue draft capital for the second and third rounds of the upcoming two draft classes. About the first round of the 2023 NHL Entry Draft, Fletcher mentioned that there are several players after Bedard that are ‘very good.’

“We’ll have another chance at the draft to get a real top player. We’re excited about that, and we’ll keep chipping away at adding young players.”

Chuck Fletcher; 2/28/2023

Until then, there is the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline. At the moment, Fletcher made one move, sending Isaac Ratcliffe to the Nashville Predators for future considerations. Equipped with a selling mentality, Fletcher stated the groundwork and expectations for this upcoming event. Now, all that’s left to do is sell and re-evaluate for the rest of the 2022-2023 season.

Injury Report

Fletcher provided a little insight on Travis Konecny and Sean Couturier along with his sentiments surrounding the updated plan of a team rebuild.

Konecny will miss two to three weeks with the possibility of being out for the rest of the season. Fletcher didn’t commit to a concrete answer, not ruling out the possibility of shutting Konecny down for the remainder of the season. He’s the current team leader in points (54) and leads the Flyers in goals scored (27.) Elliot Desnoyers remains on the NHL roster. Tortorella spoke highly of Desnoyers:

“I love what he did in Jersey; his moxie, he banged. On a team that got six or seven total scoring chances in a three period game, he was around the net in three of ’em.”

John Tortorella; 2/27/2023

Couturier completed an on-ice workout this morning. Again, Fletcher did not confirm that he would return in 2022-2023, citing a limited amount of time as a reason to potentially hold off on the returning veteran:

“It’s going really well. He’s skating. Is there enough runway for him to play this year? I don’t know. The back is feeling great. He’s missed a lot of time. Can we get him into hockey shape with the time remaining? I’m not sure, but I think we’re pleased with the progress.”

Chuck Fletcher; 2/28/2023

It might not be the worst option to keep him on an on-ice workout regimen. Philadelphia has a total of four recalls that can be used after the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline. Find out what sticks, focus on acquiring the best available player or team need at the 2023 NHL Entry Draft, and simultaneously become younger and cheaper.

That’s the updated plan. Strap in.

(Photo Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn/Icon Sportswire)