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Flyers Building Towards Future With Jamie Drysdale, Nick Seeler Pairing

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Jamie Drysdale made his official Flyers debut on Jan. 10, two days after being traded. (Photo: AP)

The Philadelphia Flyers’ defensive core looked significantly different at the end of the 2023-24 season compared to how it looked at the start. Emil Andrae was sent back to the AHL to play for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms for the rest of the season, Rasmus Ristolainen returned from injury only to finish the season injured, Sean Walker was traded to Colorado, and Jamie Drysdale and Erik Johnson both arrived via Flyers trade.

And then there was Ronnie Attard and Adam Ginning, two Flyers prospects who debuted at the end of the winter after playing heavy minutes for the Phantoms all season long.

In short, the Flyers had to deal with an overwhelming amount of turnover on the back end, especially given that they’re a young, rebuilding team still trying to find their way and establishing the foundation of their future.

Drysdale, a 22-year-old defenseman who was formerly the 6th overall pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, was a part of that turnover, but general manager Danny Briere and the Flyers are cautiously optimistic that he’s part of the solution, too—injuries aside.

“It was impressive, the character that he showed,” Briere had said at his exit interview. “Coming back from the offseason surgery that he had, being traded, trying to adapt to a new team. Couldn’t skate at 100%, and that’s kind of the key to his game. I’m excited to see a Jamie Drysdale fully healthy next season. I think we’re going to see a different player.”

The logical fit for Drysdale, both at the time of the Anaheim Ducks and Flyers trade and after the Walker trade, was to slide in next to Nick Seeler and take over for Walker. Seeler and Walker played 642 minutes together at 5-on-5 this season, owning a 53.46% Corsi, 54.69% of the goals, 56.45% of the expected goals, and 57.89% of the high-danger goals, per Natural Stat Trick.

Simply put, when those two were on the ice, the Flyers were better than their opponents in every way. And although those are big shoes to fill for Drysdale, he’s more than capable of replicating that success. At least, that’s the way Seeler sees it.

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