The Philadelphia Flyers are aggressively trying to retool their team after missing the playoffs in 2021.
But, so far, it’s unclear if GM Chuck Fletcher is helping or hurting the roster for next season and beyond.
On Thursday, when the NHL’s trade freeze ended, the Flyers completed a deal with the Arizona Coyotes, sending Shayne Gostisbehere, a 2022 second-round pick, and a 2022 seventh-round pick to the desert for nothing in return. The Flyers did clear cap space with the trade – $4.5 million over the next two seasons – but even that seemed like an overpay.
— NHL (@NHL) July 22, 2021
Friday, the Flyers got even more aggressive. They acquired defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen from the Buffalo Sabres for their 13th overall pick in the 2021 Draft, a second-round pick in 2023, and Robert Hagg.
🚨 TRADE ALERT! 🚨
We have acquired defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen from the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for our first round pick (13th overall) in the 2021 NHL Draft, a second round pick in the 2023 NHL Draft and defenseman Robert Hagg. Details: https://t.co/UOBqWNQCm6 pic.twitter.com/vCrkLgY0Mt
— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) July 23, 2021
The Athletic’s Dom Luszczyszyn calculated that the Flyers gave up 10 wins for essentially a borderline NHL player.
To sum up the last two days for the Flyers, they gave up roughly 10 wins of value to make room for and acquire a replacement level defenceman. pic.twitter.com/l1mZ3jJ97K
— dom at the athletic (@domluszczyszyn) July 23, 2021
Or put another way.
In summary, the #Flyers have now traded away Shayne Gostisbehere, Robert Hagg, one first round pick, two 2nd round picks and a 7th round pick for Rasmus Ristolainen.
— CapFriendly Depth Charts (@CF_DepthCharts) July 23, 2021
Rasmus Ristolainen, acquired by PHI, is a big defenceman who notoriously has put up absolutely horrible results at both ends of the ice consistently throughout his entire career. #AnytimeAnywhere pic.twitter.com/G4TmfNJftU
— JFresh (@JFreshHockey) July 23, 2021
Per Cap Friendly, the Flyers have $10 million of cap space available, which seems like a lot. But when examining their roster, they have only four defensemen currently under contract for next season (Provorov, Ellis, Ristolainen, and Braun) and no goalies. Defenseman Travis Sanheim and goaltender Carter Hart are restricted free agents while Brian Elliot and Alex Lyon are both UFAs.
The weakest part of the Flyers last season was its goaltending — the team gave up an NHL-worst 197 goals and allowed 3.52 goals per game. Carter Hart, who was once viewed as a cornerstone in net, melted down and posted a .877 save percentage in 27 appearances. So perhaps the extra cash netted by the Gostisbehere trade could help the team improve its goaltending situation?
Sure, there are more dominoes that will likely to fall, but at this point, the Flyers’ deals suggest they might have been better off standing pat.
Update: The Flyers have made a big one-for-one trade on the second day of the draft, sending Jakub Voracek ($8.25 million AAV) to Columbus for Cam Atkinson ($5.875). The Flyers gained $2.375 million in cap space with the deal but get an older, less talented player back.
To Columbus #BlueJackets:
F Jakub Voracek
— CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) July 24, 2021
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