In a move that stunned the entire city of Philadelphia, the Flyers have acquired Jamie Drysdale and a 2025 second-round pick from the Anaheim Ducks for the rights to Cutter Gauthier. Turns out this wasn’t as unexpected as we thought.
Sources added that Gauthier had made his intentions known to the Flyers that he was not interested in playing in Philadelphia. GM Danny Briere and President of Hockey Operations Keith Jones were in Sweden for the recent World Junior Championships. Apparently, Gauthier didn’t make it easy to meet with him.
It is a wild turn of events as Gauthier, who could’ve debuted with the Flyers this spring, will now be an opponent to Philadelphia twice a year. The only positive for the Flyers is that barring him not signing with the Ducks, he will be in the Western Conference. Gauthier could always remain in college and become a free agent afterward. It is still a tough pill to swallow. Gauthier had the chance to be exactly the kind of shooter Philadelphia needed. And it had appeared that Gauthier was fired up to be in the organization at first. He had previously detailed a quick encounter with John Tortorella, who had shown just as much excitement in meeting him. A lot can change in a year.
We may never know what happened between Gauthier and the Flyers. This is a move that Briere has been working on for months, so the team had known Gauthier's intentions for quite some time. According to Briere, Gauthier was excited and talked about being built for this city after he was drafted. And then, a few months later, things changed. It was around his return from the World Juniors last year that he let them know. The Flyers decided to keep things quiet to protect Gauthier and to leave things open in case he decided to change his mind another time. That moment never came.
The Flyers tried one last-ditch effort in Sweden to make things work. Gauthier had his mind set on not putting on a Flyers jersey, as he did not let the organization explain things to him. They were also never given a reason why the young forward did not want to play for them. With his mind made up, there was nothing else for the Flyers to do but move on. Word had begun to get out over the summer about Gauthier's decision, and with his value high after the current World Juniors, there was no better time to make the move.
In Drysdale, the Flyers get a former sixth-overall pick who hasn’t been able to live up to that expectation yet. In 123 career NHL games, the young defenseman has eight goals and 45 points. He did miss two months with a lower-body injury this year, so it has taken him some time to get up to speed. He was on the Ducks’ top pair and had regular minutes on the power play. That second part is where Philadelphia could use him. He had 12 points on the man advantage back in 2021-22, his last full season with the Ducks.
Drysdale has only played a combined 18 games over the last two seasons. But if he can find his form with the Flyers, this move could look even better. And that is exactly what the Flyers will be hoping for. Drysdale is only 21, so he has plenty of room to grow. And a change of scenery may also help him find his way. That much injury trouble in a short amount of time can mess with a young player.
It might take a while to get over the loss of Gauthier. But, sometimes, you need to move on when the odds are against you.