If Flyers general manager Daniel Briere were trying to send a message, he sent it. If he wanted to raise eyebrows around Philadelphia, he did it.
Briere’s impactful words likely rattled a few cages and they also put his rebuilding team on notice.
On 94.1 WIP on Saturday, the Flyers’ general manager said he was open to trading goalie Carter Hart.
“Most likely, Carter will be our goalie for the future, but I’m not in a position to turn down anything,” Briere said on 94.1 WIP. “I have to listen.”
I agree that Hart will be the Flyers’ goalie for the future. But there’s no denying that Briere’s words reverberated throughout the Jersey Shore, Ontario, Western Canada or wherever the players and fans are spending Memorial Day weekend.
There’s no quicker way to get a hockey team’s attention than the boss considering a trade of its best player.
Briere is right when he says he’s “not in a position to turn down anything.” His hockey team needs help everywhere.
He’s wrong if he is seriously thinking about trading Hart.
He’s wrong if his notion of trading Hart is more than a dalliance. I don’t know how seriously Briere is taking his own words. Is what he said on WIP just off the cuff? Was it calculated?
In any sport, it’s almost malpractice to trade your best player — although there have been cases where it worked. Hart is the Flyers’ best player at the game’s most important position.
Hart is the only Flyers player I consider untouchable.
To trade Hart, the return should be mind-blowing — a top-line forward or a top-line defenseman plus draft picks and a prospect. If another team won’t offer that, move on.
Briere is the project manager on the Flyers’ rebuild. His task is enormous. His roster lacks star power. It lacks a strong defense. It lacks scoring power. The Flyers’ leading scorer, Travis Konecny had 31 goals. Owen Tippett had 27 goals. No one else hit the 20-goal mark.
This franchise has needed goaltender help through most of its history. They have an outstanding goalie right now, a guy who isn’t even in his prime and who should improve once he’s surrounded by a better defense.
Can’t you envision this? The Flyers’ rebuild takes off and in a few years they are contenders to make the playoffs. And Hart is in Ottawa, or somewhere. At the very moment the Flyers need a top-flight goaltender, he won’t be here.
Hockey teams can be built down the middle and from the goaltender out. The Flyers’ center situation is notably weak. That’s probably their top offseason priority.
They have a goalie who turns 25 in August. He is highly regarded around the league and in the Flyers’ locker room. You’re rebuilding, right? You have to start somewhere, right? Build around Hart.
Briere faces a demanding fan base unhappy with losing seasons. He is fortified by a management team that says it is willing to accept a necessary rebuild. It will be up to Briere, president of hockey operations Keith Jones and coach John Tortorella to build what has been torn asunder.
Their task is mighty. Don’t overthink this.
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Our offseason wish list for Flyers.
Around The National Hockey Network:
Vegas Hockey Now: Golden Knights need to take charge of crucial Game 6 immediately.
Florida Hockey Now: Panthers face huge week getting ready for Stanley Cup Final.
Detroit Hockey Now: Wings defenseman Moritz Seider takes home silver for Germany … and reminds his teammates how much they accomplished.
Chicago Hockey Now: Forward Lukas Reichel, the Blackhawks’ 2020 first-round pick, could be ready for big role next season.
Boston Hockey Now: Is former Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli a candidate for the same job with the Maple Leafs?
Tonight’s Playoff Game:
Game 6: Golden Knights at Dallas, 8, ESPN, ESPN+. The Golden Knights lead the series, 3-2. Game 7, if necessary will be in Las Vegas on Wednesday.