Chuck Fletcher spent most of last week shedding cap space and solidifying the Flyers defense. Making major moves including trading for Ryan Ellis and Rasmus Ristolainen to go along with Cam Atkinson. Bringing in those three guys led to the departures of Nolan Patrick, Phil Myers, Shayne Gostisbehere Robert Hagg, and Jake Voracek.
There were a lot of Twitter GM’s that were pretty upset that we gave up some of our draft picks in those trades as well. One day people wanted to build Fletcher a statue and the next they wanted him fired.
I for one, have absolutely loved the moves Fletcher has made so far. So let’s go through the moves and let me tell you why I like them.
Ryan Ellis Trade:
Nolan Patrick didn’t want to be a Flyer and it was evident he had no future here. He also didn’t have the value that a former number 2 overall pick would have because of his poor play and the fact that he missed an entire season. Does he still have potential? Of course he does and I think the change of scenery will benefit him nicely. Giving up him and Phil Myers may seem like a lot but in the grand scheme of things it’s not. When you go out an acquire a guy like Ryan Ellis who has been consistent for his career and also is locked up for a few years, you have to give up talent to get talent and that’s what happened here. Phil Myers was good and is going to be good but the Flyers need someone who is going to compliment Provorov better and that is what Ellis is. He is going to come in and make an immediate impact on this team and it should help improve the penalty kill.
This was the trade that had a lot of fans ready to fire Chuck Fletcher. He traded Robert Hagg, this years first round draft pick and a 2023 second round pick for Rasmus Ristolainen. Was it an overpay for him? Only time will tell, I mean the guy is only 26 years old and played on a shit Sabres team. I get it, all the analytic nerds are saying how bad he is and blah blah blah. Listen here nerds, take your analytic bullshit and shove it. He is going to bring a level of physicality that this team desperately needs. Opposing teams aren’t going to be as willing to crash the net when Ristolainen is standing there waiting to punch their face in. Carter Hart is going to have a bigger sense of security when he knows there’s a guy standing there protecting him. The Flyers also have to re-sign him or this ends up being a very expensive rental.
Cam Atkinson Trade:
This is my favorite move of the off-season so far. I loved Jake Voracek and he was under appreciated by a lot of the fan base. That being said this team needed a culture change and this was a locker room shakeup that had to happen. Honestly it’s a fair deal for both teams and helps the Flyers out too by saving a few million in cap space. Cam Atkinson still brings that veteran leadership that Voracek had but he was in need of a change of scenery. Atkinson is another guy that is going to help out the penalty kill and gives the Flyers a guy that scored 40 goals just a few years ago. Based on his interviews he is super excited to be a Flyer and I think he will bring a great energy to this team.
The moves that Chuck has made up to this point have set the Flyers up to still be active come free agency tomorrow. But the big thing is now they only have to focus on two areas instead of trying to fix all of their problems via free agency.
The main things Chuck can focus on tomorrow and as free agency goes on are a backup goaltender and some depth for the forward group.
I’m not going to give a grade on the off-season moves just yet because Fletcher isn’t done but so far I have loved what he’s been doing.