Charlie O’Connor of The Athletic took a look at the offseason situation facing the Philadelphia Flyers and writes that this team is much worse off than a lot of people believe. Suggesting that an “aggressive retool” has low odds of working the way GM Chuck Fletcher thinks it will, a “lot has to go right” for the Flyers to accomplish what they’d like to.
O’Connor does acknowledge that injuries to key players this season did have an effect on the team’s overall record. At the same time, he also believes getting back injured players like Sean Couturier and Ryan Ellis will only help so much. He writes that the Flyers just aren’t anywhere near good enough and the idea of an “aggressive retool” is wishful thinking when it comes to turning the fortunes of the franchise around.
Flyers rebuild Gaudreau
In theory, O’Connor notes it is possible to do what the team believes can be done without completely tearing it all down and starting again, but he also writes this “retool” only works if:
The Flyers get healthy. They replace Giroux and also acquire another big-time weapon. They have some developmental luck for the first time since Shayne Gostisbehere or even as far back as Giroux himself. They stabilize themselves off the ice. And somehow, someway, they remain under the $82.5 million cap ceiling in the process.
That’s a lot to ask and it means mortgaging the future, trading draft picks, and relinquishing prospects. Not only that, but Fletcher will need to identify and acquire players in their late 20s and early 30s on massive contracts.
Can the Flyers Identify the Right Players?
Can the Flyers find those players, overpay for them and not get it wrong? He uses Johnny Gaudreau as an example. It’s going to take a big contract to sign him, but also the confidence he’ll produce for most of the term he signs for.
O’Connor writes, “And therein lies the biggest underlying concern with the “aggressive retool” concept.” He adds, “There is nothing this current Flyers roster needs more than high-end talent. But shopping for high-end talent — and paying high-end prices — requires supreme confidence that those players (if acquired) would be sufficient to lead the Flyers out of the doldrums and into true contention.”
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