Grading the Flyers offseason transactions at the midpoint of the season

Flyers (Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports)
Flyers (Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports) /

We are almost halfway through the 2022-23 season. It’s time to see how the offseason moves made by Chuck Fletcher affected the team. Did they help or hinder the Flyers this year? Let’s take a look.

Flyers: Trades

Tony DeAngelo and a 2022 Seventh Round Pick from the Carolina Hurricanes for a 2022 Third-Round Pick, a 2023 Conditional Third Round Pick, and a 2024 Second Round Pick

It is the lone trade made during this offseason. When the trade was announced, a lot of Flyers fans were upset. He had a reputation for past antics back to his junior days and was exiled from the New York Rangers for bad behavior. A good season in Carolina seemed to restore his reputation. But in order to clear up some cap space in order to swing a deal for Max Pacioretty, the Canes dealt him to Philly; who immediately signed him to an extension.

So far this year, he has played well. He is third on the team with 23 points and has helped to jump-start their power plays. He was benched, briefly, to help improve his defensive play as, at the time, he lead the team with a +/- rating that was -15. Since then, he has been a force on the offense and has brought his +/- down to a -8.

Overall, the trade seems to be a good one, and Flyers fans should enjoy Tony D’s services for the next few years.

Score: A-

Flyers: Free Agents

Louie Belpedio

The 26-year-old defender was brought in on a two-way contract for $750,000 for this year. He’s played well for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, scoring two goals with eight assists. However, he hasn’t been called up to play defense in Philly as the team has chosen to go with younger guys like Cam York and Egor Zamula. If others get hurt, he may see some action. This is nothing more than a depth signing.

Score: INC (Has yet to play in NHL)

Justin Braun

After trading Braun away at the trade deadline, the Flyers got him back on a one-year $1 million deal. The idea was for him to provide some veteran stability to a potentially younger defensive squad. After all, he knew the players on the team. There was a familiarity there.

This year, he has not scored any points. That’s not his role as he was never an offensive defender. He was the sort of player who just did a lot of little things correctly. He did all the little, fundamental things right.

However, the Flyers are going through a youth movement now. York is a young stud and Zamula is waiting in the wings. Nick Seeler is playing well. DeAngelo is playing strongly. Travis Sanheim, Ivan Provorov, and Rasmus Ristolainen are signed for a few years. Someone has to sit and it is Braun.  It’s nothing that Braun has done wrong. It’s just that others have outplayed what he can bring to the table.

Braun is 35 and will be 36 in February. His time is probably done. While the deal wasn’t a bad one, it was shortsighted as this team needs to look towards the future and he isn’t part of it. Braun may be traded at the deadline. If not, he will probably be allowed to walk in the offseason if he doesn’t retire. He’s had a decent few years here in Philly. But his time is up. And maybe that is a good thing. It shows that the young blueliners are ready to step up.

Score: C

Adam Brooks

The 26-year-old center was signed in July to a two-year, two-way contract. He has spent the season with the Phantoms and has yet to be called up. In 17 games, he has scored three goals with four assists, however, he is also a -10. Again, it was a depth signing, but he has not come close to being called up.

Score: INC (Has yet to play in NHL)

Nicolas Deslauriers 

It might not have been the sexiest signing of the offseason, but it was the biggest signing the Flyers had made. Deslauriers is not a scoring threat. He is not going to light the lamp. That’s not his role.

His role is to punish the opposing players. He’s done that quite well. He is the current league leader in penalty minutes, but most of those minutes are fights. He is not prone to taking stupid penalties that will put the team on the penalty kill.

He has done his role of enforcer/fourth-line forward quite well. He signed a four-year deal worth $1.75 million year. He is helping to protect some of the younger forwards, like Noah Cates and giving them the confidence that they will be protected if someone goes after them. That’s money well worth spending.

Score: B

Troy Grosenick

Teams like to acquire goalies just in case. And sometimes, it is a good thing. Carter Hart is good, but he needs a backup. Felix Sandstrom has been ok in net, but nothing spectacular. Meanwhile, Samuel Ersson has been a great backup. Ivan Fedotov is locked up somewhere in Russia after signing a deal to play for Philly.

This brings us to Troy Grosenick. He’s a 33-year-old career minor leaguer with some experience playing in the NHL with the Sharks in 2014-15 and the Kings in 2020-21. He’s in Lehigh Valley in case things go WAY wrong. So far, he’s played in three games, won two of them, has a GAA of 3.93, and a save percentage of .883. He hasn’t been called up and will probably be released at the end of the year.

Score: INC (Has yet to play in NHL)

Cooper Marody

The former Flyer prospect was traded to Edmonton for a draft pick in the 2019 draft. He found his way back to Philly after a few stints with the Oilers. He has been stashed in Lehigh Valley after being one of the last training camp cuts. He has 10 points for the Phantoms including five goals. He hasn’t been bad, but there has to be a reason the team keeps calling up Kieffer Bellows and Olle Lycksell instead of calling him up.

Score: INC (Has yet to play in NHL)

Flyers: Overall

Based on the scores, the moves are a B. The DeAngelo trade has been good. Only two of the free agents have played in the NHL as the other moves were depth pieces who are toiling in the AHL so far. The acquisition of Deslauriers has given the Flyers’ fourth line a physical presence that this team needed. Braun’s return to the Flyers started off well but has since seemed to be superfluous. And as the young players come in, maybe that is a good thing and makes a Braun valuable trade chip.