Bad Gambles Define Flyers Management

Flyers Press Conference
Flyers Press Conference /
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The Flyers have toiled over the last decade, in what may be the most confused and muddled time in their history. Since the Summer of 2012 the Flyers have had nine head coaches, four playoff appearances and three general managers, soon to be four given what we just witnessed over this year’s NHL draft.

I do not think Chuck Fletcher is a good general manager, I never have. It is true that he has been the master mind behind a series of catastrophes that will set the team back half a decade at the least, but I can’t dump all the blame at his feet. He had been tasked with the equivalent of making a submarine fly. It was just was not going to work out, not for Fletcher, not for the Flyers, not for anyone.

Much the same way it takes time to bake a cake, it takes time the to build a good hockey franchise.  It can’t be rushed. But heck, if someone was willing to pay me, who wouldn’t give it a try. I still get paid if the cake is raw or if sub drops from the sky like, well, a submarine.

In 2018, the season before the upheaval of the Hakstol and Hextall ejections, the Flyers had finished with 98 points with Brian Elliot, Michael Neuvirth and Petr Mrazek in goal. Jori Lehtera, Valterri Filppula, Dale Weise and Matt Read up front.  The defense featured Ghost, AMAC, Hagg, Gudas.  That group amassed 98 points, a number we will not see anytime soon. But more than that, we had Carter Hart waiting in the wings, cap space that had not been seen in years, a surplus of draft picks and one of the deepest prospect pipelines in the NHL.

Contrast this with today, we are over the cap, the prospect cupboard is bare, the team does not have a second round draft pick until 2025. In four short years dynastic optimism has been transformed into a doomsday clock until a complete tear down. Observing the Flyers over the last four seasons has been something like watching a slow-motion house fire as prospects, draft picks, cap space, hopes and dreams are incinerated in plain view. It is tough to watch and I snapped during the draft.

After spending the better part of two seasons trying to find a RHD to compliment Ivan Provorov, passing on David Jiricek is very hard to accept or understand. Cutter Gautier may turn out to be a fine player. I hope he does, and I wish nothing but the greatest success for the kid, it is not his fault the Comcast team drafted him. It was a head scratcher. At this point I wonder if Fletcher and company did not know Jiricek was right-handed.

If one was lucky enough to make peace with that pick, to see the Flyers part with three draft picks for a Tony DeAngelo would destroy whatever rational that satisfied you. There is so much wrong with the DeAngelo trade, and I say this as a fan of his game that I can’t find a rational way to justfy the Flyers actions. This is another example of WTF management decision which we have now become accustom.