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A list of all the things I want to happen but won’t

Please read this Mr. Fletcher.

2019 Webby Awards Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images

There is a level of palpable excitement, or for lack of a better word, nervousness, around the Flyers. There hasn’t been this high a level of intrigue, for me at least, since the waning days of Paul Holmgren’s tenure as the General Manager. It feels as if any given moment, Chuck Fletcher could do almost anything, for better or for worse. We, as the collective audience to this spectacular theater, have bore witness to this exactly, from the signing of Kevin Hayes (probably good) to the trade for Justin Braun (possibly bad). Day after day, news has broken, a statement we could never utter while Ron Hextall presided over roster construction.

Day after day, we are now in waiting for the next piece of news to drop, and I for one, am far too impatient to wait for a whole new set of 24 hours to pass by. The moves are being made now! Therefore, I have compiled a list of all the possible moves I would want to see the Flyers make, with fleeting anticipation that Mr. Fletcher may gaze upon these words in the coming days, before deciding to fax the NHL office a confirmation of a deal. Perhaps...Mr. Fletcher...I could even change your mind. So, let’s play armchair GM:

Starting out conservatively, as you know Mr. Fletcher, The Flyers roster now contains 8 defensemen who we either know or assume are capable at the NHL level: Ivan Provorov, Shayne Gostisbehere, Travis Sanheim, Matt Niskanen, Justin Braun, Phil Myers, Samuel Morin, and Robert Hagg. Most NHL rosters run with 7 defensemen instead of 8, and assuming you believe this as well, one of these blue-liners will be the odd man out. Based on what I have been seeing up to this point, that looks to either be Hagg or Morin. Now, imagine this: trading Robert Hagg and a 3rd round pick for a good, yet cheap, 3rd line right wing. This is one of the spots where the Flyers still have not addressed, and I am under the impression that all of Farabee, Frost, and Ratcliffe will stay in the AHL. For me, then, Kevin Fiala seems like a nice fit.

Fiala, 22, carries a $863K million dollar cap hit and will also be an RFA like Hagg. They will probably get similar contract in terms of value, and Fiala would fill in on the RW with Patrick and Lindblom/JVR on the 3rd line. This type of deal could also work for Mathieu Joseph of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Next season will be the last year of his entry level contract, and the Flyers can take advantage of this to acquire a cheap, young RW who could have more to come, especially if Tampa are wanting to acquire hits leader Robert Hagg, or a young defense prospect.

This next deal might take a bit of maneuvering, but I believe you could get it done, Mr. Fletcher. I am very much sold positively on Winnipeg’s Kyle Conner. Of course, one could offer sheet Connor, and force Winnipeg into letting him go due to their cap situation (they only have $25 million in cap space). Otherwise, the Flyers could make it easier on themselves by trading for him. Because of Winnipeg’s situation, the Flyers would need to swap players of a similar contract or take on a larger contract. Well, I would have said that earlier, but the Hayes deal and the contracts of Braun and Niskanen make matters more tricky. Therefore, I can only consider comparable contracts.

Since Conner is set to make a fairly large sum for his next contract, the Flyers could avoid a massive over payment with an offer sheet and trade for him, maybe exchanging a player like Jake Voracek. Alternatively, the Flyers could also swap Voracek for an already large contract, say... Nikolaj Ehlers. This would be banking that Ehlers would be as good as Voracek in the future, but remember, that Voracek himself was a gamble, and the Flyers would be paying Ehlers $2 million less. That may make the Jets wary of taking Voracek, but Voracek is viewed as a top tier asset and this can’t be ignored.

If the Flyers are going to move Shayne Gostisbehere, they’ll need to make sure one of the following happens: either that they trade him for a similar caliber defensemen, or that they acquire a top forward to shift focus to “a great offense is our defense”. Two ways this could occur is if the Flyers trade Gostisbehere to the Predators for either PK Subban or Roman Josi. From a money perspective, Josi would make more sense since he only carries a cap hit of $4 million. Though, I think the better move would be to shift Ghost for Subban and then also include a prospect and pick to have Nashville retain salary, anything to get Subban’s cap hit down (his $9 million cap hit is double Gostisbehere’s). They could also include a player like Voracek, and ship him with Ghost and a pick for Subban and perhaps Viktor Arvidsson. Since Voracek is a better forward than Arvidsson and Subban is a better defenseman than Gostisbehere, perhaps this comes out as even. It would depend on roster fit.

Secondly, if the Flyers decide that their blue-line is set, and that Gostisbehere is the odd man out, then they should acquire a top tier forward for him. There are a couple of options in this category. The Colorado Avalanche are in need of talent on defense, and if they could get him to accept a trade (since he has a modified NTC), then I would take a look at Gabriel Landeskog. If the Flyers are truly set on moving Gostisbehere, then they will need to be aggressive in trading him for a top 6 forward. Personally, I would offer Gostisbehere, a top prospect, and a high pick (1st or 2nd) for the likes of Landeskog. I would offer the same deal to Jonathan Huberdeau as well. However, I think a most likely trade partner for Gostisbehere would be the Edmonton Oilers if the Flyers are not looking to get a defenseman back. The Oilers need help on defense, and they clearly have no idea how to properly run an organization. I think it would be entirely possible for the Flyers to offer a package to secure the services of a guy like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins if they give up Gostisbehere and a prospect/pick. Then you’d have a top 6 of...

Giroux - Couturier - Konecny

Nugent Hopkins - Hayes - Voracek

That’s easily one of the best top sixes in all of hockey. Assuming the defense doesn’t get completely torched (like last place in the NHL torched) and Hart plays as well as he did last season, the Flyers would immediately be contenders. Would I say this is the move I advocate the most? No. I think the priority would be trading one of the odd man out defensemen for a good 3rd line RW. However, if you are set on moving our homegrown “best defense-man” Shayne, please consider the previous Mr. Fletcher.

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