Ah, the end of the year, a time to celebrate, and to hope for good future in the year to come. Who doesn’t want to believe that their next 365 days are going to be the best they’ve ever had?
Well for the Flyers, these next 365 days will almost definitely not be their best.
The team sucks, folks. It sucks like a high quality Dyson vacuum, sucks like standing in front of a Boeing 747 as it taxies down the runway. There hasn’t been a Flyers roster this bad since at least 2006-07, and even then there’s definitely an argument to be made that a roster featuring Simon Gagne, Peter Forsberg, Jeff Carter, and Mike Richards had more promise than whatever is currently being put on ice.
Nonetheless, there’s always hope, it’s what keeps this website going. So, here are some resolutions that could make the next year of Flyers hockey much better than this one was.
Continue to lose as much as possible
This one is kind of self-explanatory, and it is probably the one that is the easiest to fulfill. There is no reason for the Flyers to continue to win games, and with the roster they currently possess, there is no reason to be worried about them doing that. It goes without saying that the top end of the 2023 NHL draft will feature at least one once in a generation, franchise changing prospect. Connor Bedard just flat out looks better than anyone his age that he plays against.
He just tied Jordan Eberle’s record for goals by a Canadian at the World Junior championship, and will more than likely break it before the tournament ends. He has 14 points in three games at this year’s tournament, and currently sits at 64 points through 28 games in Western Hockey League play. His shot been NHL ready since he was 17 years old, he is shifty and possesses fantastic edgework, and he has the potential to be the next “McDavid” level superstar. If the Flyers could get him, all of their problems looks much different, and the future becomes very bright regardless of how bad the current roster looks.
Additionally the rest of the top of the 2023 Draft, including Bedard’s Team Canada teammate Adam Fantilli, and dynamic Russian winger Matvey Michkov among others, have the potential to be special at the next level. But the real prize should be Bedard.
Find some playmakers somewhere
I think the years of Claude Giroux and Jake Voracek allowed Flyers fans to start taking assists for granted.
It was just always a given that either one of the two, or both, would have 45+ assists and set the table for everyone else. The real problem then, was finding players who could finish those chances. Now the tables have turned; Travis Konecny, Joel Farabee, Owen Tippett, amongst others, can score if you get them the puck. The next generation of players that will make up the roster should have scoring talent, even prospects like Bobby Brink and Cutter Gauthier are showing some high end scoring potential.
What the front office’s main goal should be now is to find that Giroux type talent that can mesh these players together. Obviously that’s not easy to find, but that type of play driving, innovative passer that just breeds chemistry with whatever line mates he plays with is exactly what the team needs heading into a brighter future, whether it be through the draft or otherwise.
...Fire Chuck Fletcher
I hate beating a dead horse. I really do. But in a way, this horse is still very much alive and kicking, right?
Instead of trying to explain why Chuck Fletcher is bad, let’s just look at the five longest contracts he has given out in his career as a general manager:
Zach Parise: 13 years, 7.5 million per season
Ryan Suter: 13 years, 7.5 million per season
Sean Couturier: 8 years, 7.75 million per season
Travis Sanheim: 8 years, 6.25 million per season
Kevin Hayes: 7 years, 7.1 million per season
Of those contracts, which could be described as “successful”?
Buying out Parise and Suter’s genius matching contracts has singlehandedly ruined the financial situation of the Minnesota Wild for at least the next three years. Sean Couturier signed his contract, and then had two back surgeries in an eight month span following. Travis Sanheim’s contract was only signed two and a half months ago but is definitely a hefty price to pay for someone who won’t play top pair minutes. And finally, buying out the Kevin Hayes contract that was signed in 2019 has already been discussed, which should tell you exactly how that is going.
Chuck Fletcher shouldn’t get the benefit of the doubt. He simply does not have the track record to support keeping him around for any longer. It’s not even a personal thing, he just hasn’t made a big decision that has panned out. His team’s never have stars, and they don’t advance in the playoffs. He can maybe be the GM for an ambivalent market, but not in Philadelphia.
If the Flyers do these three things, then next year will probably still be pretty underwhelming. But the hope is that we can head into 2024 with, at the very least, some more optimism.