Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher had been talking to the Chicago Blackhawks about acquiring star left winger Alex DeBrincat, who scored 41 goals last season.
Instead, Chicago sent DeBrincat to Ottawa on Thursday for the No. 7 and No. 39 overall picks in the draft. The Senators also sent a third-round 2024 pick to the Blackhawks.
The Flyers were reluctant to give up their No. 5 overall pick, and they did not have a second-rounder, having traded it to Arizona to entice the Coyotes to take Shayne Gostisbehere and his contract.
As for the up-and-coming Senators, if they can sign former Flyers captain Claude Giroux to his hometown team, they will be a very dangerous club next season. Giroux can become an unrestricted free agent.
DeBrincat “brings immediate and additional firepower to our forward group,” said Ottawa GM Pierre Dorion, who called the winger “dynamic.”
The 24-year-old DeBrincat has 307 points, including 160 goals, in 360 career games. He was a second-round pick (39th overall) in in 2016.
After the 2022-23 season, DeBrincat can become a restricted free agent. He has a $6.4 million cap hit this season.
Johnny Hockey coming home?
With DeBrincat off the market, the Flyers may try to free cap space to sign UFA left winger Johnny Gaudreau, who is coming off a 40-goal, 115-point season with Calgary.
Gaudreau, who turns 29 next month, grew up in South Jersey. The Flames reportedly offered him an eight-year deal with an annual $9.5 million cap hit.
The Philadelphia Flyers would need to free cap space to sign him; they figure to try to move left winger James van Riemsdyk.
GM Chuck Fletcher was asked if he would be involved in a trade Friday. No specific player was mentioned to him.
“Well, there’s been a lot of dialogue,” he said. “We’ll see. There’s potentially something that could happen (Friday). I could also see things happening later in the week, closer to the start of free agency” on Wednesday at noon.