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Let ’em choose: Flyers shouldn’t make side deal with Seattle for Expansion Draft

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Chuck Fletcher Flyers

The 2021 Expansion Draft is finally here. Tonight, the Seattle Kraken will assemble their roster. The Philadelphia Flyers will lose (at least) one player to Seattle once the night is over.

Chuck Fletcher submitted his protected list on Saturday and the Kraken have a handful of players to choose from. Fletcher should let Seattle pick from them without any sweeteners.

No side deals. No funny business. Just let Seattle take whoever they want and deal with the consequences. Those consequences shouldn’t be too harsh anyway.

The Vegas Golden Knights benefitted greatly from side deals in the 2017 Expansion Draft. Chuck Fletcher fell victim by trading Alex Tuch to Vegas for a third-round pick. Vegas took Erik Haula instead. Fletcher traded Tuch in order to protect Marco Scandella and Mathew Dumba.

Haula had a career year in Vegas’ inaugural season with 55 points (29 goals, 26 assists) in 76 games. Tuch has 139 points (61 goals, 78 assists) in 249 career games with Vegas, including 37 points (15 goals, 22 assists) in the 2017-18 season.

The Flyers are in a different position than the Wild were, but Fletcher should learn from his mistake nonetheless.

Fletcher is open to side deals

Fletcher said last week that he is open to whatever happens. He’s okay with Seattle selecting from the list, but he’s not going to shy away if the Kraken come to him with a good deal.

“I’ve had several conversations with [Seattle Kraken GM Ron Francis] going back a few months now. We’ll probably take guidance from them if there’s something that they think would make sense for them and would make sense for us,” he said.

“My expectation is we’ll submit the list and if whether there’ll be conversations after we submit the list or not, time will tell. We’re certainly comfortable to submitting the list and having them select a player,” Fletcher continued. “I’ve just indicated to them if they have ideas on something else they want to accomplish to let us know.”

This was last week before the Flyers swapped Nicolas Aube-Kubel onto the protection list for Nolan Patrick, but Fletcher’s mindset is likely still the same.

Expansion Draft a win-win for Flyers?

As we wrote on Tuesday, the Flyers should be prepared for whatever happens. If Seattle takes a big contract, the Flyers are out a top-six forward (or Shayne Gostisbehere), but they get the cap space to continue to upgrade the roster. This seems like the most likely scenario as Jakub Voracek and James van Riemsdyk are two of the best forwards available and have reasonable contracts.

If Seattle goes off the board with Justin Braun or Robert Hagg, that just opens up a spot on the blue line. The Flyers should still be able to move one of their larger contracts in Jakub Voracek or James van Riemsdyk if they so choose.

One of the few situations where a side deal may be in the cards is if Seattle is the third team in a trade. Jakub Voracek and Vladimir Tarasenko have been linked and both players could benefit from a change of scenery –– Tarasenko more so than Voracek. The Russian winger wants out of St. Louis while Voracek is being shopped, but there’s no ill will.

Otherwise, if the Kraken are just selecting a player from the Flyers and that’s it? Let them choose. The Flyers are almost in a win-win scenario. They either clear cap space for another big move or lose a rather inconsequential player on their roster.

We’ll find out tonight. The Seattle Kraken Expansion Draft is at 8 p.m. EDT on ESPN2.

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Ryan is a proud graduate of Monmouth University. He has covered the Philadelphia Flyers for the better part of a decade at various outlets, including Sons of Penn and Broad Street Hockey. Ryan has also worked for NHL.com and NBC Sports Regional Networks. Whether it's a GIF, quick stat, analysis, or long-form column, he's got you covered.

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