The Flyers Are Not Rebuilding: Mortgaging the Future to Win Today

When the Philadelphia Flyers 2021-22 season started to careen off the rails, the mid-season press conference featuring Dave Scott and Chuck Fletcher confirmed one thing- the organization is not rebuilding. While it upset parts of the fanbase, it is the path the team has selected, which means they now have to own it and put their blank check where their mouth is.

Overhauling the Flyers roster to put a competitive squad on the ice for the 2022-23 campaign will be no easy task. They’re signing up for massive offseason with multiple blockbuster moves necessary to salvage the team.

The problem is, they already deployed this tactic last offseason, when a flurry of trades and signings were made to try and fix the mess that was the 2020 campaign. Now they’re going to do it again. The main excuse boils down to the obscene amount of injuries that plagued the Flyers this season, thinking that a healthy roster with a few improvements will be enough to compete in the strong metro division.

It’s a seemingly uphill battle that consists of one thing, they have to mortgage the future to win today. The problem with that approach is, they don’t have that much of a future in the first place. They already don’t own their second round picks in either 2022 or 2023 thanks to the Gostisbehere and Ristolainen trades. Can’t imagine the organization is keen on moving their first round pick this season after working so hard to make it a top five pick, and the 2023 draft is projected to be the best draft in a long time, so dealing that first round, unless absolutely necessary, doesn’t seem smart.

It’s not like there’s an abundance of prospects in the system either. Cam York, Egor Zamula, Morgan Frost and Tyson Foerster highlight the players in at least the AHL level, with a few guys like Zayde Wisdom and Elliot Desnoyers in juniors and Bobby Brink and Ronnie Attard in college.

If they part with their already bleak future and it backfires, they’re starting over from square one.

Though, they can’t take a one-foot-in-one-foot-out approach. If they’re committed to re-tooling, they need to go all out and acquire a handful of stars and can’t be afraid to trade players already on the roster. They can’t be afraid to trade draft picks or prospects, no matter the repercussions it has on the future.

Liquidating the few assets the franchise has left is risky business, but it’s the only way to properly add the necessary talent to truly make the Flyers into a competitive team in a stacked metro division. Flipping current roster players like Travis Konecny, Travis Sanheim, Ivan Provorov and Morgan Frost among others in “hockey trades” to secure upgrades at each position or in the hunt for a top center should be expected.

Chuck Fletcher essentially need to be the bad guy this summer. If people don’t hate his guts for trading their favorite roster player or prospect, he didn’t do his job. Taking on a proper re-tool to give the Flyers a fighting chance is a big ask and certainly won’t be easy, but it’s the route the organization chose, so there’s no excuse for not following through and going all in. Does this strategy work? Time will tell, but if proper additions are made and the remaining players are well insulated (and the injury bug goes away) they can more than likely squeeze a worthwhile season out of this team, and if that happens, nobody will remember the players of this terrible era of Flyers hockey anyway. And if by chance the re-tool fails, the fans will get there wish of a true rebuild one way or another. Win-win all around.

By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)

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