It’s not that Kevin Hayes is a bad player, but we’re stuck with him for seven years at just a touch over $7 million a season. If his deal was closer to $5 million, it wouldn’t be a big deal. But that is just another deal that this team has had that hampers this team come salary cap time. They have no room to maneuver. And some of that he inherited from Ron Hextall, but moves like this do not help the team.
Likewise, he extended Ivan Provorov for six years at $6,750,000 a pop. For an average/above average defender, that is paying way too much. And when you consider that the team has several highly touted defensive prospects coming through the pipeline, this is a luxury the team can’t afford. It’s also going to make it hard to move him unless he starts performing at a higher level.
Last offseason, the Flyers re-signed Justin Braun on a one-year $1 million deal. While he is worth that price, the fact that he hasn’t played a lot makes this a million wasted. If the idea was to get younger, re-signing him and not playing him made very little season. Again, Fletcher’s failure to move Braun at the deadline has been called into question.
First, let’s look at what I call the “Chuck Fletcher Specials”. You know, the trade a guy for nobody and nothing. We saw this in the first of our three trade deadline deals this year when the Flyers sent struggling former second round pick, Isaac Ratcliffe to Nashville for “future considerations”. Man, you could’ve at least gotten a used Zamboni for him. At least then, there would’ve been something coming back.
The greatest example of this sort of failure is the deal that sent Shayne Gostisbehere WITH a 2022 second rounder and seventh rounder in what amounted to a salary dump. We got “future considerations” in return. We’re in the future, and Arizona is still “considering” what to give us. In the meantime, Gostisbehere was traded this year to Carolina for a third round pick in 2026. We paid another team to take him from us. Horrible deal!
What made that trade worse the that the Flyers then made a trade with Buffalo that cost the team a 2021 first rounder, a 2023 second rounder, and Robert Hagg. In return, we got Rasmus Ristolainen. So, not only did we give up a second and a seventh round pick to give up Gostisbehere, we then turned around and gave up a first rounder and second rounder to get a crappier version. Along with that, we gave up Hagg, who was an average level depth defender. And while Risto has performed better this year, ask ANY Flyers fan, you’d rather have Gostisbehere instead.
Sometimes the trades Fletcher made were just short sighted. In 2019, the Flyers traded Anthony Stolarz to Edmonton for Cam Talbot. Stolarz has become a pretty capable backup and has performed well in Anaheim. Talbot played four games in Philly before leaving as a free agent. In 2020, the Flyers traded a fifth pick for Nate Thompson. Yes, he was a good locker room presence, but he was not a solid player. He didn’t add a whole lot to what this team needed and he didn’t play all that much.
In an effort to replace the departed Matt Niskanen, the Flyers spent $3 million on Erik Gustafsson. He was seen as a guy who was a good offensive blueliner, but a poor defender. So again, a player in the mold of Gostisbehere and Ristolainen. As a Flyer, he stunk. He wanted off the team and the team wanted him gone. So, the Flyers did trade him…to Montreal for a seventh rounder. Sadly, he’s had a wonderful year in Washington and was just acquired by Toronto. But the whole deal from the signing to the trade just stunk.
The last pair of trades involved another fan favorite: Wayne Simmonds Simmonds was definitely on the tail end of his career. The injuries just caught up with him. A lot of teams in contention could’ve used his services. Instead, he was sent to Nashville for a fourth round pick (later traded away) and Ryan Hartman. Hartman had 10 goals with the Preds and would score two goals with Philly. But then Hartman would be traded that offseason to Dallas for Tyler Pitlick. Hartman would somehow score 34 goals in 2022-22 with Minnesota. Pitlick would have one decent year in Philly before departing as a free agent.
But you would think that for a Flyers legend like Simmonds, you could’ve gotten something more. At least something that would’ve lasted more than just a few months and made an impact on the team. Alas, that didn’t happen.