How getting Connor Bedard would affect the Flyers this summer
Is it too soon? Maybe it's too soon.
He is the golden goose. The player that can change everything for a team. The next generational hockey player that will lift this sport into a level of you have to see this and this is insane highlights that will make everyone lose their mind. And he just so happens to have a chance at being a member of the Philadelphia Flyers.
The NHL draft lottery is taking place just a couple handfuls of days away, on May 8, and the hockey team that we cheer for has a 6.5 percent chance at winning the first-overall pick and getting Connor Bedard.
It would mean so much for this team and this fan base to suddenly get one of the best prospects we have seen in decades here in Philadelphia for the foreseeable future. Just a bonkers amount of things would change this summer and instead of dragging our feet to go watch some training camp footage in the fall, we would be trying to look up how to watch development camp on the grainiest of livestreams, so we could see No. 98 Bedard skate around in orange and black for the first time.
But specifically, what would change if the Flyers landed this talented guy? Well, a whole lot of summer plans could be shifted.
Being more selective with trades
As of right now, "interim" general manager Danny Brière is most likely going to do a whole lot of trades this summer. Selling off current players that don't fit the timeline of when this team is realistically successful again, for future assets like prospects and picks that hopefully will.
On a recent episode of Frank Seravelli's podcast "Frankly Speaking" the Flyers GM acknowledged that some players just aren't going to be here when the 2023-24 season rolls around. Whether it is a fit with the team's timeline or just a personality fit with Brière and head coach John Tortorella, some players are going to be moved.
Kevin Hayes fits the mold of a player that checks both of those boxes and his name has been swirling around in the NHL trade rumor whirlpool for some time now. He might be getting dealt no matter what happens with those ping-pong balls, but what other plans might change?
Some other players like 26-year-olds Travis Konecny and Ivan Provorov were projected to be moved this summer. Whether it is cashing-in before teams start to realize just how much of a bum he is (Provorov) or realizing that in the two years remaining on his contract before he hits free agency, the Flyers will be bad so it doesn't matter if he is here or not (Konecny) – there are varying reasons as to why they would be dealt.
Even someone like Carter Hart – who could also be traded this summer – might not fit the timeline and you can sell-high on a young goaltender that has proven himself to be capable of a starting role.
If things don't go perfectly this summer, we can see all four of these dudes play for different teams when the leaves start to turn a different color.
But! If there is a hockey god and Bedard gets drafted by the Flyers, those plans will probably change. Because why be such in a hurry to get rid of a player as talented as Konecny when you have one of the greatest teenage hockey players suddenly on your roster?
We have seen the horror stories of the Buffalo Sabres and teams have started to ween off the notion that you must scorch the earth until there is no talent left in your lineup, to then get the top prospect. That team is just now – almost a decade later – getting its bearings once again and still missed the playoffs by one single point.
And if you get rid of Provorov and Hart? Those are substantial holes you have to fill with some other players (Samuel Ersson? Cam York??) that might not handle the promotion well and you're suddenly wasting a season of Bedard's rookie contract away.
Which brings us to the next point...
Signing short-term free agents
The Most Coveted And Valuable Asset In The NHL is the entry-level contract. We will not hear your pleads and cries of top talents getting paid way under their value. These rookies are making under a million dollars and in a hard salary cap system, that is the most precious thing you could ever imagine when managing a roster.
Connor Bedard will be putting up insane numbers and being the lights-out offensive dynamo for three years and will be making less than Nic Deslauriers during that time. There have been questionable prospects before that went first overall, but we have seen what Bedard can do and how he has already broken countless junior hockey records. Hell, he could be better than Connor McDavid, we're serious.
So, with this thing in-tact and Bedard's ELC on the Flyers' cap, they better not waste a single month of this dude's career. Therefore, they should think about adding to this roster.
We are not arguing for them to be big players and go for the biggest fish. No. Just some potential free agents that are good-not-great and willing to sign short-term contracts. Maybe you convince Tomas Tatar to just move down the I-95 to Philadelphia, or Conor Sheary or Jordan Staal or Jason Zucker or Alex Kerfoot or Kevin Shattenkirk – just Some Guys to supplement the talent that would already exist on this roster.
The "raise the floor" type of free agent signings and not shooting for the sky. That would make it seem like you're not just waiting for more prospects to pan out as Bedard's rookie contract runs out.
The clock would start
And speaking of running out, the window and the path to contention would immediately start. As soon as Brière hears his team's name called for the No. 1 selection in some television studio in Toronto on May 8, his head should be spinning and making a mental to-do list on what he needs to do in order to bring the Stanley Cup to Philadelphia.
It would be three years of Bedard on his entry-level contract, and then it would be four more years of having team control over him, and then he could just leave. We have seen it with Matthew Tkachuk and Jack Eichel, we might be seeing it with Auston Matthews soon – players have more control over their own destiny now and no team should go into a draft thinking that they will have this player for over a decade, like they used to.
Hockey players tend to stay where they are picked more than any other professional sport, it is true. But who knows what the mentality will be like in the summer of 2030, when Bedard gets his first chance to pick where he gets to live and play hockey?
The clock would start for the Flyers and a timeline and plan would need to be put in place.
On a more positive note, landing Bedard would change absolutely everything to do with this organization in the best way possible.
National hockey media is already keeping tabs on the Flyers on what they will do this summer and had an incredible amount of attention when the team sucked ass. Imagine if suddenly one of the best hockey talents gets to call Philadelphia home.
The casual hockey fan is now tuning into Flyers games. They become an even bigger story than they already are. Every move can be dissected. The coverage would be ramped up and just so good (on this website) and this sports-crazy town would be coming off the high of back-to-back World Series and Super Bowl appearances to then thinking about the promised land of having Bedard on the Flyers. People dressed in orange and black would be floating down the Broad Street.
It wouldn't just be the attention the Flyers would earn but just how much more crucial the beginning of the plan would be. The Edmonton Oilers kind of screwed up the beginning to McDavid's career; that would need to not happen here. It would change everything and just how we think about this hockey team.
I might need to take a brisk walk around the block after thinking about Bedard being in Philadelphia.