Philadelphia Flyers: Trading Shayne Gostisbehere was a necessary evil

PHILADELPHIA, PA - MARCH 11: Shayne Gostisbehere #53 of the Philadelphia Flyers (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MARCH 11: Shayne Gostisbehere #53 of the Philadelphia Flyers (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images) /

This was always going to be a critical offseason for the Philadelphia Flyers, but now the pressure is ratcheted up even more in the wake of the expansion draft that saw the Seattle Kraken choose Carsen Twarynski from the Flyers rather than a high salaried veteran. Now, for Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher, the true test is underway.

Trading Shayne Gostisbehere was unfortunate, given the circumstances, but it was a logical step.

Backing up just a few days, we have to give full marks to Fletcher for the Ryan Ellis trade, which was just the sort of deal that was needed to get things moving in the right direction. But that couldn’t be the stopping point, both because other upgrades are needed and because of the salary cap gymnastics that the Flyers are seeing themselves forced to go through.

That’s why, as ludicrous as it might seem to receive literally nothing in return for Gostisbehere, it’s something that the Flyers were basically had to do after the Kraken declined to select either Ghost or James van Riemsdyk and wipe them off the books for the Flyers. Fletcher clearly drew a line with Seattle at what assets (picks and prospects) he was willing to part with to make it happen. Good on him not to mortgage the future, but it only served to steer him down the difficult path to both improve this team and get it cap-compliant for the 2021-22 NHL season.

Two glaring needs remain: a scoring winger upfront and a reliable goaltending partner for Carter Hart. Another addition to the blueline might be nice too, as it’s debatable whether or not the Flyers will be happy with simply graduating internal candidates like Cam York or if they’ll go shopping for depth.

The writing was on the wall that at least one player from the collective of JVR, Gostisbehere, and Jakub Voracek would be sent packing in order to necessitate the other moves that must be made. Ghost was the first domino to fall, but it may not (and probably shouldn’t) stop there. My first suggestion would be to avoid any further dealings with Seattle, who will likely try similar fleece tactics as what the Flyers just experienced when they ripped off the Band-Aid with Arizona. Now it’s time to start working with other clubs who are in the same stratosphere of available cap space.

Trading Shayne Gostisbehere was a move the Philadelphia Flyers had to make.

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I’m not in a position to hazard a guess about which teams Fletcher talks to and who to ask for in exchange, but I do know that there are moves to be made with other clubs if the Flyers’ brain trust does its due diligence. The possibility of a blockbuster move including a player like Travis Konecny also can’t be ruled out, as a few million dollars could make the difference in positioning this team where it needs to be.

As irritating as it might be on its face that Seattle took a middling player rather than one whose departure might loosen the Flyers’ finances, this is just something that teams have to deal with while the salary cap remains stagnant. And where it was once unthinkable to trade a player (and draft picks) for no return, the money saved by the Flyers by dealing Gostisbehere has real value. Now, it’s imperative that Fletcher puts it to good use to acquire help either upfront or on the blueline, as well as another goalie. We’ll see if the right players can be brought in at the right price.

Don’t be surprised if more moves are made relatively soon that put the Flyers over the cap, making the rest of the offseason an ongoing process to shed money. But that’s Chuck Fletcher’s job, and he’ll have to earn his keep over the next few months to make sure that this team doesn’t faceplant like they did last season. Moving Ghost is a good indicator that he’s willing to do whatever it takes.

Next. Expansion draft leaves more questions than answers. dark

Let’s all buckle up for the rest of this Philadelphia Flyers offseason because it figures to be quite the ride. Then, it’ll actually be time to play some hockey.