An Unpopular Move May Be the Flyers’ Best Option

Complete transparency here I have not been watching the Stanley Cup Playoffs this year.  The reason is very simple.  I feel violated by hockey right now specifically the Philadelphia Flyers.  What I have had to watch over the last 15 months has been unbearable at times, disgraceful at moments, and embarrassing all the time. An unpopular move may be the Flyers’ best option.

The Flyers who were once a shoo-in year after year after year to qualify for the playoffs have hit rock bottom.  They stink! The outcome for the recovery of the team isn’t simple. It is not as quick as some in the Flyers organization make it seem. 

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Lack Of Character, Direction, Identity, Personality, and Fire

To put it simply the Flyers are a combination of two general managers’ failed visions of the team.  Ron Hextall completely botched the drafting year after year while he was in charge. Which has led to an abundance of role players who simply do not fit here or should I say never fit here. 

Combine that with the worst (ok to be honest the top five worst contracts ever given to a player) JVR’s deal that thankfully will expire at the end of the 2022-23 season (that is right folks he is here for another year).  Add that to Chuck Fletcher’s attempt to plug the holes with players like Ryan Ellis, Risto, and Cam Atkinson and you have what you have the square peg Flyers with a bunch of round hole players.

This team lacks any type of chemistry because the players are so mismatched, they lack any kind of intensity because the majority of the players are simply soft.  The bottom fell out back in December 2021 when it was decided that AV was not the man for the job.

The firing of the coach back in December was more than a change at the top of the team. It was the waving of the white flag that the Flyers have officially surrendered ending a nine-year period where they were drafting high and building for the future.

That future they were building for is further away than it has ever been. What is left is an island for misfit Hockey players without a coach. 

All Is Not Lost

As the Flyers enter into the summer of 2022 with the 5th overall draft pick in this year’s NHL Draft, no cap space, no coach, and no hope it would be very understandable if the Orange and Black were to withdraw into another lengthy rebuild to erase the errors of the past.

Who are we kidding this is Philadelphia we what results now I mean right now!  So, what is Chuck Fletcher to do?  There are options to explore.  I have outlined those options in other articles found right here on EOP.  Today I am going to look at the granddaddy of all options.  Drum roll, please………………

Trade Carter Hart

That’s right I said it.  Simply put Hart is the most valuable piece we have to move period.  The old heads will tell you that moving Hart is suicide. It was thirty-plus years since the last decent net minder found his way here. I say with a team that lacks so much on and off the ice Carter Hart is a luxury item that needs to be moved for the good of the franchise.

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When you look at the outlook of this team, I mean the real outlook. Not the outlook through your orange and black glasses you see a lengthy rebuild ahead.  This team is nowhere near the level of the three teams currently still battling their way through the Stanley Cup playoffs. I broke down and watched game 5 of the Eastern Conference Playoff between the Bolts and the Rangers.

In Stanley Cup mythology they remove one panel off the cup every year to make room for the new Stanley Cup Champion. If you do the math, it comes out to about 50 years for a team’s panel to be on the Cup. 

If you do more math, you will see that 1973-74, and the 1974-75 Stanley Cup Champion Flyers are coming up on that 50-year plateau. The 73-74 team will be entering their 49th year this upcoming season. The Flyers are in danger close mode to losing their representation in the Stanley Cup.

Back to Carter Hart, since arriving on the scene in 2018 Hart has been lauded as a generational goalie talent.  He has won gold on the international level and is still viewed as a high goalie prospect, not a generational talent.

Hart has been the victim of bad timing since he has been here.  The shortened COVID season of 2019-2020, injury issues in the shortened 2020-21 season. The 2021-22 season (I believe those injuries were just an excuse to sit him through a lost season), and just really not having a good team in front of him for most of his time here. 

Why Oh, Why

Bottom line is that Hart could in return send a package of players that could bolster the rebuild of this organization and turn them around in a short period of time.

We have been down this road before the Flyers were premature in giving up on Bobrovsky years back. He went on to win multiple Vezina Trophies, so I am aware of the pitfalls here.  The difference I think here is Hart is viewed by many around Hockey as a top-end talent and GMs will gamble on that. 

Carter Hart’s hometown team Edmonton Oilers could pay huge to obtain their services of Hart.  They definitely look at themselves as a goalie away. A smart GM can exploit that and obtain a huge package in return for Hart.

Hart is currently under contract through the 2024-25 season at a yearly cap hit of $3,979.000 after the 2024-25 season. He will be a Restricted Free Agent, so his contract situation is optimal for him to be moved now. An unpopular move may be the Flyers’ best option.

What About Us?

The Flyers do have options in the AHL. More and better options than they have had in years past to plug the goalie hole as the team rebuilds.  They also signed goalie Ivan Fedotov who is viewed as the backup option this year. 

Fedotov has been tearing it up in the KHL.  He was the Flyer’s 7th-round pick back in 2015. He represented Russia in this year’s Olympics. At 6 foot 8 could definitely be an ominous presence in the crease for the Flyers in 2022-23.

Unpopular Move May Be the Flyers’ Best Option

The reality is this the Flyers are a bottom feeder in the NHL.  They have fallen completely off of the history of excellence and winning that surrounded the organization for years.  Blame can be pointed in many directions including the people who are currently making decisions for the Flyers.

We need to settle into the prospect of many bad seasons of Hockey to come if the Flyers don’t get creative in moving some of the few valuable trade options they have.  Carter should be on the table to jump-start this rebuild. 

With so many things lacking on this team like Identity, Character, and Pride the one thing we do have is Hart it might be time to change that.  An unpopular move may be the Flyers’ best option.

Matt Bednarczyk
Matt Bednarczyk

Matt Bednarczyk is your host of Talking Philly Sports With Matty B. He is a proud retired US Army Sergeant First Class, he is also a combat veteran with over 80 months served in Afganistan, and Iraq . Huge Hockey Fan. Matt is a lifelong 4 for 4 Philly sports fan. Born and raised on the Mayfair and Tacony neighborhood lines of Northeast Philly. He brings over 40 years of Philadelphia Sports passion and provides a realistic look at our Major Sports Teams and the most passionate sports fans on the planet. Look for his show live on Edge of Philly Sports.