Theodore Roosevelt once said, In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.” Somehow, Chuck Fletcher did a little bit of each. The Flyers general manager pretty much stood pat as the rest of the league gobbled up players for the annual trade deadline. Now, the team is left with more questions than it had to answer.
The best thing you can do is the right thing…
First, lets look at the trades that happened:
- Patrick Brown to the Senators for a 6th round pick
- Zack MacEwen to the Kings for a 2024 5th rounder and Brendan Lemieux
If Fletcher is trying to build for the future, this kind of does it. You need draft picks to make a future. He got…well…two of the. Two low level ones for two thirds of the Flyers fourth line.
Lemieux comes in as MacEwen’s replacement plus a few hundred thousand more in dollars. But he is a rental piece for the Flyers. He is a free agent at the end of the year. And unless he wows management/Coach John Tortorella, he’s probably gone.
The next best thing is the wrong thing…
These aren’t terrible moves. The Kings used this as a way to move money around while they made other moves. And draft picks are always good, but they aren’t the sort of deals that gets the fan based pumped up about the future of the franchise either.
There really is no benefit to these moves for the Flyers, unless you somehow find another Noah Cates in the fifth round a year from now. The Flyers took on more money, traded away two guys to contenders, added a rental player, and got two low picks.
Sigh……………the joys of being a Flyers fan.
The worst thing you can do is nothing.
Ever since the fall, everyone who follows hockey felt that James van Riemsdyk was going to be traded. It made sense. He was on an expiring contract. He was a good veteran player. He had skills that any contender could use.
As the fall turned into winter, other names began to be mentioned as possible trade targets. Many were sure that Kevin Hayes was a goner after being benched. With a young crop of defenders waiting at the AHL level, it seemed all but certain that Ivan Provorov, Nick Seeler, and Justin Braun were gone and, if the price seemed right, Travis Sanheim, Rasmus Ristolainen, and Tony DeAngelo could also be purchased.
The entire Eastern Conference went on a crazy spree. The top contenders loaded up and some of the fringe teams also added some players to boost their chances.
About 30 minutes before the deadline, there was a rumor that JVR was supposed to go to Detroit. Something happened in a side deal that didn’t work on, so the deal fell through. But even that trade doesn’t make sense. Detroit is just one place above Philly in the standings. They need six points to leapfrog over a bunch of teams just to get into contention.
This also presupposes that the Penguins (who made a flurry of trades) and the Islanders (Bo Horvat trade) would start losing. This is also the same Detroit team that just traded Tyler Bertuzzi to the Bruins. There is no reason Detroit would spend assets on a pending free agent just to sit in 7th place in the Atlantic Division unless they were going to trade him somewhere else.
So, no trade happened. Van Riemsdyk will leave as a free agent at the end of the year. The get nothing for him, except salary cap relief. If there are disgruntled players on the team, they will just have to deal (and get gruntled?) and remain Flyers for now.
As I stated in a previous article, we don’t know what a general manager for a professional sports team goes through. Perhaps other teams sensed desperation with him and offered nothing even remotely fair. Maybe he overplayed his hand thinking teams would pay up big in the closing moments of the deadline. Maybe he didn’t know what to do. Perhaps there was nothing he could do at all. We’ll likely never know.
As for now, the Flyers are not in a better shape than they were a week or so ago, much less at the beginning of the season. Nothing really has changed. It’s the same lineup coming in night in and night out, minus Brown and MacEwen. Maybe some of the young players will show us what they got. But in reality, it’s not going to matter.
At this point, the Flyers are just running down the clock and hoping for the best when it comes to the draft. And at that time, we’ll see if Fletcher can get the Flyers out of the hole they are seemingly digging deeper into.