The deadline deals made by Philadelphia Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher over the next few days could lengthen his tenure if successful.
If the moves don’t pay lots of dividends, his stay may not last so long.
Fletcher has lots of assets to deal. Claude Giroux, of course, is at the top of the list. Center Derick Brassard, who has quietly played very well since returning from a hip injury in late February, could also help a contender. Ditto steady defenseman Justin Braun, whose playoff experience, calmness, and shot-blocking ability are just three of the traits that make him valuable to a team making a Stanley Cup run.
In the right situation, James van Riemsdyk (14 goals) could be a good addition for a team needing a power-play specialist who gets dirty goals in front of the net. Goaltender Martin Jones, who has poor numbers (3.36 GAA, .902 SP) but has been impressive lately, has the playoff experience to draw interest from a contender as a backup.
The Flyers need an injection of youth, more speed, and more prospects in the pipeline. When the season started, they had the fourth-oldest team in the NHL. Their average age: 29.2 years old.
Last summer, Fletcher traded away three high draft choices: a No. 1 and two No. 2s.
Now it’s time to recoup some of those picks.
— Sam Carchidi (@BroadStBull) March 19, 2022
Will Fletcher be able to get a Giroux deal done with Florida and come away with three very good prospects? That seems to be what the return would be because the Panthers are apparently balking at giving the Flyers their No. 1 pick in 2024. Florida, a legitimate Stanley Cup contender, has dealt away its No. 1 picks in 2022 and 2023.
Colorado is also making a strong pitch for Giroux, and it seems ready to include its No. 1 pick in 2023 and a very good prospect.
Or maybe the New York Rangers, who have a strong farm system, will overwhelm Fletcher with an offer. New York would seem to be a great fit for Giroux and his family because it’s just a short train ride away.
Or perhaps a mystery team swoops in and gets Giroux just before Monday’s 3 p.m. deadline.
Complicating matters is that Fletcher is hamstrung because he must get Giroux to waive his no-movement clause and agree to a deal. Fletcher might have a team — like the Boston Bruins, hypothetically __ offer a better package, but have Giroux say he doesn’t want to go to that city.
Whatever deals Fletcher makes, they will play a big part in shaping the Philadelphia Flyers’ future.
Most of Fletcher’s offseason moves didn’t work — Ryan Ellis’ injury makes it difficult to evaluate the GM’s biggest trade — so he needs to hit a home run in these next few days to offset things.
Dave Scott, the chairman of the Flyers’ parent company, Comcast Spectacor, gave Fletcher a vote of confidence earlier this season and said he was staying.
Fletcher has a chance to make that stay last longer.