Well, it appears that Chuck Fletcher was working the phones and doing a better job than we had thought!
Before Fletcher and the Flyers released their protected list Sunday morning, longtime Nashville Predator defenseman Ryan Ellis was acquired in a surprising deal. The Ellis-to-Philly rumors had been out of circulation for quite some time, and by all accounts it seemed that there were not going to be any pre-draft trades at all. Now, the attitude around the team seems to be that there are more moves to be made.
As much as everyone wanted it to work out for Patrick here, a change of scenery is probably best for both parties at this point. It really is a shame; I can still recall the excitement after drafting him second overall in 2017, and now he may not even be in the league for much longer.
On the other hand, it hurts to lose a young defenseman in Myers who has shown flashes of being a dependable d-man. He did happen to have a poor season in 2020-2021, posting a -10 plus/minus after being at +17 the prior season. The 6ft-5 defenseman still has room to improve, but Ellis is considerably better than him right now, and is what this team needed.
So, the addition of Ryan Ellis means he is protected. Plus, we had already heard reports of Jake Voracek being unprotected. What most of us were not sure about was if James van Riemsdyk would be unprotected or not. With his current cap-hit yet solid production, I could understand him being a close call.
Drum roll, please:
Voracek ($8.25mil), JVR ($7mil) AND Shayne Gostisbehere ($4.5mil) are all available for the Seattle Kraken to take. I have to say, the position of looking for maximum cap-relief is really helping to change the narrative on Fletcher’s performance so far. It is what most fans were clamoring for, an active offseason with potential to shake up the roster.
In addition, in place of protecting JVR the Flyers are protecting Nicolas Aube-Kubel. I would have expected Aube-Kubel to be an attractive option for Seattle because of his contract and potential for some upside. Other notable players unprotected include Justin Braun and Robert Hagg.
Now, the Flyers are suddenly in a really good spot to make additional roster moves. There are already some exciting rumors regarding Vladimir Tarasenko and a potential draft day deal with the Kraken. I discussed Tarasenko previously about how the idea of him in Philadelphia is quite intriguing, but I was not really expecting full-blown rumors that report a deal could very well happen.
After hearing reports that the relationship between the Blues and Tarasenko is basically untenable, I am of the belief that you are going to see a very motivated player in Tarasenko this season. He has been on a very good St. Louis Blues team and has not been able to play due to his shoulder problems, I’m sure he is itching to get back on the ice. I am all for acquiring him, and the cost that is being reported would only be Voracek and a draft pick that most likely would not be a first rounder, then losing Hagg in the draft. Do the deal.
With the NHL Expansion Draft approaching on July 21, there is suddenly a vortex of excitement about the Flyers. Oddly enough, nine years ago today there was excitement around the team, and it also had to do with Nashville. Let’s see what else you have up your sleeve, Chuck.