Heading into this offseason having missed the playoffs, the consensus was that this summer would be crucial for the Flyers and their hopes of returning to contention in 2021-2022. To make matters even more stressful, it just so happens the Seattle Kraken are entering the league this season.
The Flyers have a difficult task right now. This team still lacks that elite-level sniper that can complement Claude Giroux’s playmaking and the defense clearly needs to be reinforced with a top-pair talent. We all saw the hole Matt Niskanen left in the blue line. The front office must juggle these priorities while at the same time deciding who and who not to protect in the upcoming expansion draft.
Currently, the NHL Expansion Draft is scheduled for July 21 with the NHL Entry Draft beginning on July 23. Teams will be releasing their protected lists near July 18, since the Kraken will be able to interview unprotected pending free-agent players from July 18 to July 21.
With these dates looming, many Flyers fans including myself were trying to be optimistic about possible personnel moves before the expansion draft. The Carolina Hurricanes had made it known weeks ago that they were not against a sign-and-trade deal including defenseman Dougie Hamilton. Seth Jones has also been rumored to be in discussions with the Flyers over the past week or two. I think I can speak for most Flyers fans when I say that either one of those d-men would be just dandy.
Recently, talks out of the St. Louis Blues’ camp are suggesting that Vladimir Tarasenko would like a change of scenery. Tarasenko has had three shoulder surgeries since April 2018, which you could safely say is a caution flag if not a red flag. However, the last time a fully healthy Tarasenko existed he was a star, and he only has one more year on his contract. For some reason, the idea of Tarasenko in orange and black is intriguing.
But I digress, the point is that there is potential around the league for a move and there has been no action. At this point I would be quite surprised if the team made any trades before the expansion draft. If no moves end up being made, then that means no significant cap hits on the Flyers will have been moved before the draft. The potential of losing a James van Riemsdyk or a Jake Voracek for nothing to Seattle is very unappetizing.
Certain players like G, Kevin Hayes, Sean Couturier and Ivan Provorov are not going anywhere. You could probably include Travis Konecny and Oskar Lindblom on that list too, obviously Carter Hart will be safe. Scott Laughton is fresh off of signing his extension before this season’s trade deadline, so you would assume he is safe. However, if the Flyers decide to protect JVR or Jake, who gets left off the list? No moves being made has created this problem.
I’m not sure if Chuck Fletcher has been trying to get a deal done or if he is ignoring a large portion of the fanbase, but time is running out. Ten days or so until the Flyers have to release their protected list. The fact that Fletcher has not made any moves yet is discouraging, but that could all change if he can reel in Seth Jones!
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