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Flyers fans have questions, lots of questions, for GM Chuck Fletcher

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Chuck Fletcher, Philadelphia Flyers GM
Philadelphia Flyers general manager has a very busy -- and critical -- summer ahead of him. Philly had its second-worst record ever.

After the second-worst season in this once-proud franchise’s history, the Philadelphia Flyers have an important summer ahead of them.

General manager Chuck Fletcher, mindful his team was decimated by injuries this season, has suggested an “aggressive retool” is in order.

Head boss Dave Scott has said if the Flyers stay healthy and make two or three moves, they will be winners next season.

Meanwhile, Philadelphia Flyers fans, disillusioned by the state of the organization, have questions. Lots of them. Here are some, edited for clarity and space:

Why bring in a guy like Barry Trotz when we are starting a potential rebuild/retool? Wouldn’t he be better used after that’s completed?

Submitted by David Armstrong (@Darmstrong315).

I understand where you are coming from, David, but the fact is, Trotz is very good at rebuilding. In his first year with Islanders, he transformed their defense from last-in-the-NHL to No. 1. Think about that. He also built the expansion Nashville Predators into a Western Conference contender.

The Flyers are going to interview Trotz later this week, but there are no guarantees they can entice him to come here.

Trotz would bring some much-needed defensive structure to the Flyers. In short, he knows how to get the most from his players’ abilities.

That said, the Flyers are far from the favorites to land him. Trotz has already interviewed for the Winnipeg job. He grew up near Winnipeg, so the Jets look like the frontrunners. Vegas is also in the running, among others.

Why do the Flyers have the worst farm system? A few years ago, they had one of the best.

Submitted by Deebo (@MrWinthorplll).

From here, their biggest problem is developing players, not drafting them. They have done reasonably well in the draft, but their players, for some reason, stagnate after a couple years and don’t get better. Travis Konecny and Ivan Provorov are prime examples and, to some extent, Carter Hart. And players seem to do better once they are out of Philly — Sergei Bobrovsky, Ryan Hartman, and Nic Aube-Kubel are three of several examples over the years.

The organization misses someone like Scott Gordon, who had a knack for developing players. Gordon, of course, was the former coach of the Phantoms who served as the Flyers’ interim coach after Dave Hakstol was fired in 2018.

I feel this team still needs a roster overhaul. Who would you try to move either to get rid of or to clear salary, or who may be of interest to another team to acquire a player or picks?

Submitted by whebert228 (@BillH_BHPhotos).

I wouldn’t necessarily want to trade him, but if you can get a great package for Ivan Provorov, I would deal the 25-year-old defenseman. St. Louis is high on him, and if you can get a few on-the-rise young NHL players and a high draft pick, it would make sense for both teams.

The Philadelphia Flyers obviously would like to deal James van Riemsdyk, 33, because of his salary, and I’m surprised a Cup contender didn’t go for him at the deadline. He can help a power play, and he finds ways to score (24 goals last season), and the Flyers were  willing to pay some of his salary. The fact there were no takers then makes it likely he and his $7 million cap hit (third-highest on the team) will be back unless he is brought out.

PHN: There is a disconnect between the Flyers’ management and the fans.

The Flyers also figure to put Konecny on the trade block. At this point, they need a lot of two-for-one deals — whether it’s two NHL players in return, or an NHL player and a high draft pick — to get out of this mess.

Will the Flyers make a big free-agent signing in the off-season, or are they cap-strapped?

Submitted by Chick DeVuono, @chickdevuono27.

They are cap-strapped and would need to clear space to add a big-ticket player like star left winger Johnny Gaudreau, who would fit well here for numerous reasons. He could be too pricey, so Flethcer needs to get creative. Gaudreau turns 29 this summer, and it’s now or never if the Flyers are going to bring him home. 

The Flyers desperately need a left winger, and if they can’t afford Gaudreau, they could make a play for UFA Max Domi, 27, a feisty and speedy player who will be a much cheaper option. Domi, who is also a center, is playing left wing on Carolina’s second line.

Any chance Chuck Fletcher targets any of the Pens’ loose change this off-season? I’ve always liked Bryan Rust’s game, but I know the salary cap, among other things, are concerns when it comes down to how much he can do.

Submitted by Ryannnnnn (@roinorryne).

Interesting question. Maybe Fletcher gets back at Penguins GM Ron Hextall for grabbing Mark Friedman off waivers from the Flyers? Not that it was a major loss, but it hurt the Flyers’ depth on their back end.

Circling back to your question, the Flyers are optimistic that top-pairing defenseman Ryan Ellis will be ready for opening day. Then again, they at one point were optimistic he would return last season, but it never happened and he played in just four games.

If, for some reason, Ellis can’t play and is put on LTIR, the Flyers could use that money to get a righthanded, first-pairing defenseman. Hmmm. Kris Letang is about to become an unrestricted free agent. He’s 35, righthanded, and still very good (10 goals, career-high 68 points in 78 games.) Oh, and he would help the Philadelphia Flyers’ abysmal power play.

Never say never, but my gut says if he doesn’t return to Pittsburgh, he ends his career in Montreal.

As for Rust, 30, he would be a great fit. He’s a two-time Stanley Cup champion who worked his way from being a depth player to being on the top line with Sidney Crosby or the second line with Evgeni Malkin. He had 58 points, including 24 goals, in 60 games last season.

Yes, the Penguins got a lot for their money ($3.5 million cap hit).

Rust, 30, said he wants to return to Pittsburgh. If Hextall can’t re-sign him, Fletcher should get in line. Quickly.

Any thoughts on Matt Savoie. I wish he was a little bigger, but he seems to check a lot of the boxes for me.

Submitted by Michael Johnson (@Michael18476607).

I’m with you, Michael. Savoie has speed and creativity and those are traits the Flyers sorely need. And if it turns out he’s too small (5-9, 178 pounds) for the grueling center spot, he can always move to wing.

I’m hearing David Quinn as a person of interest. Do you like that?

Submitted by Edward J. Casey (@achs_fred).

I do.

I would have him behind Trotz and Joel Quenneville (if the NHL allows him back) and maybe Rick Tocchet, but Quinn would be a very solid choice. His handprints are all over this excellent New York Rangers team, which he dedicated to a three-year rebuild before being dismissed last year.

He checks all the boxes, has had success bringing along younger players, and had a good run at Boston University, where he developed such players as center Jack Eichel, left winger Brady Tkachuk, right winger Clayton Keller, defenseman Charlie McAvoy, and goalie Jake Oettinger. (The Flyers’ Joel Farabee was at Boston University the year after Quinn left for the Rangers’ job.)

Quinn should be high on Fletcher’s wish list.

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