Well, shit. It’s not every day I, of all people, am left speechless.
Today, I’m not gonna talk as a journalist covering the team, today I’m gonna talk as a lifelong fan that is completely disgusted and flat out insulted by the Flyers’ actions, or lack thereof this offseason.
Everyone though there was going to be an overhaul because it’s the message the organization has been campaigning on. Aggressive retools and blank checks gave the expectation that change was on the horizon.
If the organization ended up getting cold feet at the idea of an “aggressive retool” that’s fine, but uh, maybe clue the fans in next time? Giving up three draft picks for a defenseman then refusing to move any assets beyond that feels like they dunked their toe on the “retool” pool, thought the water was too cold and backed out of their plans.
But there was the part of me that expected change simply because it made the most sense. After two of the worst consecutive seasons in franchise history, and all the talk of an “aggressive retool” I thought for sure there would be no lengths that would’ve have been gone to to salvage the team. The Wells Fargo Center was half empty pretty much every night by the end of the 2021-22 season and season ticket holders were not re-upping their plans. So from a sheer business perspective, it would’ve been smart to overhaul the team and stop the bleeding.
Trades, signing free agents, clearing cap, anything. Even if they missed out on Gaudreau or another star, the fact is, this is essentially the exact same roster they completely failed last season with.
It wasn’t just the minimal moves made, it was what those moves were that added insult to injury. Adding Tony DeAngelo, buying out Oskar Lindblom and refusing to sign hometown boy Johnny Gaudreau
Not only is Tony DeAngelo a PR nightmare for a team that doesn’t have a lot of good grace to begin with, but the trade to acquire him and the subsequent contract he signed quite literally screwed up the rest of the offseason. They had one bullet in their chamber and used it on that fucking guy.
The “we don’t want to give up draft picks to clear enough cap for Gaudreau” excuse would’ve held so much more weight if they didn’t trade three picks a week prior to land DeAngelo.
Lindblom is a whole other can of worms. I understand they had to do what they had to do financially, Lindblom’s $3 million cap hit is hard to justify, but it felt like those funds should’ve been used much better. Buying out Oskar, who was arguably the most popular player amongst the fans and beloved in the room, to sign Nic Deslauriers and Justin Braun isn’t exactly the step forward anybody thought.
Then there’s the whole missing out on Johnny Gaudreau thing. Now, is signing another 29-year-old to a seven year deal at just shy of $10 million per season a good thing for the team in the long run? No, probably not. But does a 40-goal, 115-point forward that wants to come to your organization fall into you lap every day? Not at all.
If you’re intent on putting your fans through the wringer with a shitty on-ice product, adding someone as disgusting as DeAngleo and buying out fan favorite Lindblom, then there’s absolutely no reason they shouldn’t have gotten Gaudreau. Long term consequences be damned, you owe it to the fanbase to do one positive thing for them.
It’s like a Batman movie where the Joker does a bunch of dastardly things… and then just keeps doing dastardly things and never gets his just deserts. There was no payoff for the suffering the organization put the fans through.
The sheer incompetence and ineptitude that runs rampant through every vein of the front office is rather impressive. Their own hands off stupidity will lead to their ultimate downfall sooner or later. The Flyers can’t continue to hemorrhage money by losing fans by the hundreds. Heads are going to roll sooner or later, but will the damage be irreparable by the time they do?
At the end of the day, this is basically the exact same team as 2021-22, sans Giroux and Lindblom and with DeAngelo and John Tortorella added. Seems worth noting the 2021-22 team went 25-46-11 and finished fourth worst in the league. Not exactly the promising turnaround we had hoped.
As a fan I don’t think I’m ever going to forget how I feel right now. Let down. Betrayed. Insulted. Knowing the organization voluntarily fucked each and every one of the fans. It sounds so dramatic but I honestly don’t know if I’ll ever recover from the disenchantment the last few years have instilled. The passion and love I have… had… for the Flyers is dead and gone.
I never thought there’d be a time when I truly considered turning in my fan card and walking away, but I’ve got some things to think about for the rest of the offseason. I’m not sure this team deserves my coverage.
By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)