The rebuild versus retool argument has raged for months in Philadelphia stemming from a mid-season interview when owner Dave Scott talked about a “blank check.” After a few more months of miserable hockey, the idea of turning this around in one offseason by throwing boatloads of cash at underwhelming free agents seems like even worse of an idea than it originally did. With all eyes set to the future, what are some of the pros and cons of tearing down and rebuilding the Philadelphia Flyers?
Do it right this time.
Did the Flyers just sit through almost a decade of rebuilding?
Do they have anything to show for it?
If the Flyers were to waive the white flag and start again, they’ll have the benefit of doing a complete teardown and rebuild, something that wasn’t properly done the first time. Ron Hextall kept Giroux, Voracek, Couturier, Schenn and Simmonds on the roster for a bulk of his time in Philly. If he sold high on them when he first showed up they’ve given themselves plenty of draft picks and the team would probably be winning today.
Success in the long run.
The main question when it comes down to whether to rebuild or not comes down to one simple question- Do they continue to try and save this current team with an uphill battle and bleak future? Or do they bite the bullet and do a complete teardown but have the benefit of knowing that in five-ish years they’ll come out on the other side with a competitive young hockey team that’ll be atop the NHL for the next decade?
Does the franchise want to wait?
Anybody with two brain cells to rub together should be able to look at this roster and say “ya know what, maybe they can’t win with this team.” Anybody, except the Flyers front office, that is. After a pandemic kept the fans out of the stands, and now a lackluster product is still scaring people away, recouping some cash is probably high on the priority list for the front office. They do that with a competitive product on the ice. A rebuild that entails a few more years of losing won’t be great for attendance, thus the reason they don’t want it in the first place.
We’re going to sit through this again?
It’s not just the organization that will get antsy during a period of more losing, the fanbase that was used to consistently winning games for most of their 55-year history will to. Asking them to sit through even more losing is going to be rough. The Wells Fargo Center is already half empty most nights, and others, “half empty” is being generous.
As a fanbase who has now spent almost a decade spinning their tires “trusting the process” that yielded this current mess, convincing everyone to settle in for a few more years of losing is a big ask. That being said, I think fans are desperate enough to accept it. At this point all anybody wants is a real direction, be it a rebuild or looking to be competitive. As long as a rebuild is handled right this time, there are ways to be proactive enough to keep the overall era short. There is already a firm base of prospects in place and with a top pick or two thrown into the mix, the young players should come along nicely. If the Flyers can add a top free agent or two along the way, one that fits the timeline of the current team, they can speed the process up. It’s not an impossible thing to do, it’s just a matter of whether or not the Flyers’ front office has the patience and brain power to make it happen.
By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)
photo credit: nhl.com