It is going to be an active few weeks for the Philadelphia Flyers no matter what. Even if the entire front office went on vacation for the rest of the season, there would be burning torches and online pitchforks (not that kind) providing enough entertainment to carry us through until next year. A lot of decisions will have to be made after even more conversations.
No one is enviable of their situation, so that why we should get ahead of it and conjure up the worst-possible series of events and transactions that the Flyers could make before the March 21 trade deadline. Get all that junk out of your system, clear the airways, break the rust crust that is clogging your brain full of will they or won’t they thoughts when it comes to this stupid hockey team.
Sports fandom, after all, is misery shrouded in a veil of hope. Let’s get sad.
Flyers trade Claude Giroux for barely anything, new team eliminated early
Trading Giroux is not really the decision we have to make here. Either you think he is gone for sure and the team gets a complete haul for him, or he stays and immediately makes this team better for the next couple of seasons. Both of those options are still better than the alternative: Receiving an extremely underwhelming package for the franchise legend and then, in-turn, the team acquiring Giroux gets knocked out of the playoffs in the first round.
We neither get the satisfaction of prospects and draft picks to rest our hope on, or to get all teary-eyed watching Giroux go on another deep run for the Stanley Cup, or even the image of him lifting it. Just a big downer already, and we haven’t even gotten started.
Flyers sign Rasmus Ristolainen to massive extension
There is no one (hopefully) that can see the Ristolainen acquisition as a win for the Flyers. They gave up some significant draft picks to get the brooding services of the weird blue-liner for one single year, and he has been astoundingly awful. Just nothing has gone right on the ice for him and the team he plays for. The most logical solution would be accepting that this whole thing just isn’t working, and to move on via trade or free agency.
But no, GM Chuck Fletcher and the rest of Flyers management is getting sensitive. Like that friend of yours that has been in a doomed-from-the-start relationship with their partner for multiple years, just begging and pleading to try and make it work. Rolling over any red flags or bumps or miscommunications with a comically large tractor trailer.
Anyways, this is probably going to happen in the real world too.
Flyers cannot find deals for minor rentals, even keep some of them
It’s not just some big expiring contracts that the Flyers will most likely attempt to ship off to contenders, but there are some wee little minor veterans ready to be thrown across the continent to hope for glory — like little Former Flyer Sprouts.
Whether we want to conjure up a team overpaying for the veteran presence of Keith Yandle, or Derick Brassard giving Philadelphia a trade return like it’s the year 2016; there are enough pending free agents to gather a nice little haul if everything falls correctly and if enough good teams want these guys. But what if I told you that none of that was possible and Fletcher is stubborn enough (in this hypothetical scenario) to not send players away, that will eventually walk away for nothing, for late-round draft picks and disappointing deals? Well in this hellscape, it is a reality and he does exactly that.
No more conjuring up potential prospects to grab with that third-rounder that someone paid for Justin Braun; they’re staying here and just leaving Philadelphia for nothing. Maybe this is the right thing to do. To not take advantage of their contract and ship them elsewhere, but also they get to go away from this team and that is no doubt a much better situation no matter the pain it might cause some families.
The Flyers get nothing!
Loveable players get traded, breaking our hearts
And even if any veterans aren’t traded, some rich-ass Stanley Cup contender out there wants Gerry Mayhew, or someone believes they can fix Oskar Lindblom’s career, or Zack MacEwen punches a dude hard enough to get other executives all excited. Now, suddenly, we’re seeing a roster of just old dudes and other “core” players, without an ounce of surprise or intrigue or cult following. So boring! That would truly be hell.
Despite selling, prospects don’t get promoted
There are now holes in the lineup to fill for the remaining games after March 21. Trust me, I wish we could just skip over it and maybe even forfeit every game until the summer as well, but hockey needs to be played, I guess. Now, in this stupid, stupid world I completely made up, imagine that with those absences, we still are not given the chance to see Morgan Frost, Cam York, or even someone like Yegor Zamula; get an opportunity at the NHL level. Just a bunch of old guys that should be in the minors, but are skating around at The Farg for some reason. Just a roster full of whatever.
Oh yeah, and players never, ever return. The season ends without seeing Ryan Ellis making a total of four appearances for the Flyer. Sean Couturier is just a mystery. Kevin Hayes comes back, and then leaves again.
And even at the end of it all, this team goes on a winning streak
Just to add a cherry on top of the shit sundae that we have found ourselves in; somehow, and by some way, the Flyers go on a winning streak to end the season, therefore ruining their draft pick and missing an opportunity to grab some franchise-changing player like Shane Wright. Instead, they pick the 2022 version of German Rubtsov and we all go home knowing that we wasted an entire year watching this team play hockey. Think of all the books we could have read, or things we could have learned, or good sports we could have watched.
Anyway, I will personally guarantee that the Flyers’ trade deadline will go (just a bit) better than that. If not, I will go into hiding.