If there is any kind of time line for the rebuild, the Flyers need to evaluate how their current roster fits into that future. For example, had the Flyers opted to rebuild at the 2021 trade deadline, it would have likely led to the departure of Laughton, Couturier, Giroux, Sanheim and taken the Ellis, Ristolainen, Gostisbehere and Voracek trades off the table.
In this alternate future the Flyers would be a lot closer to contending than they are now, especially if the Flyers looked to grab picks and prospects in return for the assets traded away. The Flyers will face a similar crossroads over the next few seasons, and they will have to be honest with themselves and make wiser decisions.
Under Fletcher’s leadership the Flyers went all in and opted to extend players like Laughton, Couturier and Sanheim, when they were at their peak value, rather than trade for assets that could be used to rebuild. These deals have been fiascos, really limiting the Flyers ability to significantly reshape the roster. On the team’s current trajectory, it would be madness to repeat the errors of the Fletcher era.
If 2027 is the end of the rebuild timeline, the organization will have to make decisions on Provorov, Konecny, Delauriers and Laughton. Each of these players have skills that team’s looking to make a cup run covet. Would the Maple Leafs like a Provorov on the blueline? Could the Devils benefited from Delauriers’ grind and grind on their fourth line? Would TK’s spirit and scoring have made the difference on a loaded Bruins team? If Scott Laughton was playing in Colorado or Tampa, would either of those teams adavanced to the next round? Each of these questions should be selling points for Briere over the next few seasons to move these players.
The Flyers should be listening to offers for players whose contracts expire in the next three seasons in order to jump start the rebuild. This will require the team to really work the market to pit teams against each other to increase what the Flyers can bring back in return. It will be a real test of Briere’s gamesmanship and will be vital to the team’s retooling. Further it will call for Briere to take a stategic long view at the hockey ecosystem. Are there teams that will be more deparate at different times? When acquiring assets like draft picks, are their drafts that are more favorable to the Flyers than other, or put another way does it make sense to stock picks for a weak draft?
Briere must be the architect of the plan, set the expectations, and then make contingency plans for when things fall off track. Not everyone can be like the Eagles on draft day, and with the dark clouds that have hovered over the Flyers for the last 30 years, it will be best to include a plan for when things go wrong.
Giroux wasted his prime in Philadelphia, and so will players like TK and Provorov. It is better for all parties if the Flyers trade these players, giving them a chance to play meaningful hockey and to extract value for the team .