Flyers Tradecraft: Are the Flyers Really Buyers?

Flyers, Chuck Fletcher (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Flyers, Chuck Fletcher (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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The Flyers General Manager gave a press conference the other day to give his thoughts and assessments on the team, and what he is looking to do at the trade deadline.  After listening, it makes me wonder what exactly is going between the front office and ownership for Fletcher to answer the way he did.

Buy or Sell

Fletcher gave a set of convoluted and conflicting answers.

  • BUY: “We are certainly not looking at selling right now.”  That leaves one of two choices, do nothing or buy
  • SELL? BUY?: “Teams don’t want to take on salary.”  One take is, typically teams that are buying take on salary in exchange for assets like picks that have no cap implications or prospects which have little cap implications.   However, it could also mean the Flyers would need to clear space to pursue a big deal, and have been unable to do so.
  • SELL: “We are looking to make the team better long term.” A rental would not be long-term. Further in an expansion year with draft looming, in theory, each player brought in on the pro roster would expose yet another player to expansion.

Well, Chuck is a master of saying nothing and everything all at the same time, Governor Wolf better watches himself.  Fletcher brings up some good points, the Flyers bad stretched happened while playing 13 games in 21 days.  That leaves little time to correct issues and to practice, so hitting a slump in such a stretch is bad news.

Fletcher also said that given the strange covid related circumstances, fans should not overanalyze this season, and he is right.  This is an oddball season in so many ways, that building for it specifically does not seem prudent.

There have calls of “The time is NOW!” for the Flyers this season, this really weird season.  Even if the strange season is discounted, the statement seems far from reality.  First, in light of the team’s recent play, the statement is.  But even if the team was playing well, the time for the Flyers in the next 4 years.  At this point there is no rush, there are good young pieces in place and the veteran core is aging gracefully while still contributing.   “The time is NOW!” makes a situation seem much more desperate than it is.

Should the Flyers be buyers this season?  Well, there is a time to overpay for a player, or to use a poker analogy, to go all in.  But the Flyers don’t have pocket aces, it is more like pocket tens, which gives the impression of a strong hand, but an aggressive play can, and often does, lead to disaster.

This is not the season to go all-in, this is the time to be smart and build for next season and the Flyers’ have assets to do just that.