The NHL Trade Deadline is here. Chuck Fletcher and the Philadelphia Flyers have until 3 p.m. ET today to make whatever moves they are going to. In recent years, the Flyers haven’t been very active on deadline day. Fletcher has only been at the helm for two trade deadlines, but he’s made a deal on each. Granted, one pretty much had to happen and then the two last year were minor additions, but they were deals nonetheless.
Let’s take a look back at Fletcher’s deadline-day history in his two years with the Flyers while we wait for him to make a move this year.
2019 Trade Deadline (February 25th)
This one was a heartbreaker, but it had to be done. Simmonds was a pending free agent and the Flyers were quite clearly sellers. The Nashville Predators, on the other hand, were buyers.
On deadline day, the Predators sat atop the Central Division and were third in the Western Conference with 79 points in 65 games. They finished the season in first place in the West with 100 points (47-29-6). However, they were upset in the first round of the playoffs by the Dallas Stars in six games.
Simmonds had 27 points (16 goals, 11 assists) in 62 games with the Flyers in the 2018-19 season prior to being traded. He didn’t fit in as expected in Nashville, however, with just three points (one goal, two assists) in 17 regular-season games. To be fair, he was a little banged up.
Simmonds played in just two of the Predators’ six playoff games. He got injured blocking a shot in Game 2 of the six game series.
Hartman was a solid bottom-six piece for the Flyers, but nothing more than that. He had 6 points (2 goals, 4 assists) in 19 games in Orange and Black. Fletcher flipped him during the summer for Ryan Pitlick, who turned out to be an integral part of the Flyers’ bottom-six last season.
This has really been the only notable deadline-day trade by Fletcher in his two years as Flyers GM. But let’s take a look at last year’s depth additions.
2020 Trade Deadline (February 24th)
Fletcher added a depth center for cheap at last year’s deadline, but Nate Thompson didn’t exactly flourish in Philadelphia. Thompson had 14 points (4 goals, 10 assists) in 63 games with the Montreal Canadiens prior to the trade.
Thompson was immediately slotted in as the Flyers’ fourth-line center. He had one point (an assist) in seven games before the season was shutdown, but he was acquired more for his defensive abilities. Those didn’t really show up, though, as Thompson had a Corsi-for Percentage of 41.96 (-6.08 Rel) and Expected Goals-For Percentage of 49.26 (-1.47 Rel).
Things got worse in the playoffs for Thompson. He played 10:49 at 5-on-5 per game and was one of the worst players on the ice. Thompson had a 35.90% CF (-14.68 Rel) and 41.17% xGF (-11.49 Rel).
It was only a fifth-round pick, but it makes you wonder if the Flyers would’ve been just as good with an internal option on the fourth line.
Thompson wasn’t the only veteran forward that Fletcher added; Derek Grant was brought in as well.
Grant was a more respectable addition. He had 20 points (14 goals, 6 assists) in 49 games with the Ducks. He didn’t exactly pan out either, though.
The veteran forward had a great three-game stretch with five points (one goal, four assists) from March 1st to March 5th. In the playoffs, he had an assist in a round-robin game and one assist in 13 playoff games.
Like Thompson, Grant didn’t have good possession numbers. He had a 46.34% CF (-1.64 Rel), which was decent, but a 39.45 xGF% (-6.95 Rel) in those 16 playoff games.
Grant gets a pass for patting Nick Suzuki on the head after the Flyers beat the Canadiens, though.
Grant gives Suzuki a few pats on the head pic.twitter.com/GajPr0EynR— Ryan Gilbert (@RGilbertSOP) August 22, 2020
Fletcher added two depth forwards for two mid-to-late round picks and an AHLer at last year’s deadline.
The hope is that he can flip it around and deal some of the Flyers’ pending UFAs (Michael Raffl, Erik Gustafsson) for picks — or whatever he can get really — this year.
A few of the “bigger” names to watch are Scott Laughton and, apparently, Nolan Patrick. Who knows what Fletcher might do after Sunday’s loss to the Sabres.
The clock is ticking for Fletcher and the Flyers. The NHL trade deadline is today at 3 p.m. EST.
Stats via Natural Stat Trick