The Flyers are All In, Even if you Did Not Notice

Dec 18, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; The Philadelphia Flyers celebrate after defeating the Ottawa Senators in overtime at the Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Mitchell Leff-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 18, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; The Philadelphia Flyers celebrate after defeating the Ottawa Senators in overtime at the Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Mitchell Leff-USA TODAY Sports /
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In what has been a tumultuous 12 months, the Flyers front office and the brain trust at Comcast, decided Philadelphia was a legitimate cup contenders and have systematically bet it all.  April 12, 2021 was the day the Flyers and the front office admitted as much by decisions made on that day.

The covid ravaged season was winding down, with the team clinging to the slightest of playoff hopes. A Fool’s hope. The trade deadline loomed and the Flyers had to make a decision. Was this team close to cup contention, being a player or two away from having a shot at lord Stanley’s silver?  Or was this team, with a good farm system and youth on the roster, primed for a complete rebuild?

That April the Flyers gave away Michael Raffl for a fifth-round pick, and, mercifully, ended the Erik Gustafsson experience for a seventh-round pick.  But these were no brainer housekeeping decisions, not a set up for a rebuild.  Raffl, then thirty-two and  with an expiring contract, was clearly not in the team’s long-term plans.  Removing Gustafsson, with a contract ending soon, remedied a mistake the front office wished to distance themselves from as soon as possible.

The key decision focused on another soon to be unrestricted free agent who would be at the top of a cup contenders wish list, Scott Laughton. Rather than trading him, the front office decided to sign Laughton to a five-year, $15 million contract. On its face, there is nothing wrong with the contract, $3 million a season, it seems a fair value. The length of the contract could be problematic to trade, however,  it captures Laughton’s prime years keeping him under contract until he is 31.