The Philadelphia Flyers‘ offseason has not gone the way many fans had hoped, but perhaps it’s fair to say that it has gone the way they expected. Following one of the most disappointing seasons in recent memory, the Flyers were faced with picking a direction for the franchise moving forward, reportedly opting for an “aggressive re-tool,” according to the team’s General Manager Chuck Fletcher and chairman and CEO of Comcast Spectacor Dave Scott.
That “aggressive re-tool” has come in the form of trading away multiple draft picks for controversial defender Tony DeAngelo (who was promptly signed to a two-year deal) and several minor moves, including a reunion with Justin Braun. Noticeably absent from that list of names is former Calgary Flame wing, Johnny Gaudreau.
A former Salem County, New Jersey resident, Gaudreau reportedly had a great deal of interest in signing with his hometown team. The issue at hand was the restricted amount of salary the Flyers had to work with, but by moving one or two pricer players (JVR), the team could have made it work. Fletcher and the Flyers inexplicably decided against this route. What’s more, during a press conference the same day free agency opened, Fletcher stated that not only was the team not currently pursuing the 40-goal scorer, but they never were, to begin with.
After refusing to pursue Johnny Gaudreau nor commit to a rebuild or re-tool, Philadelphia Flyers fans have hit their boiling point with Chuck Fletcher.
As a team who finished in the bottom five just last season, it would not be surprising to see the Flyers being rejected by an offensive weapon like Gaudreau. By all accounts, however, it was the Flyers who did the rejecting, and that’s the most shocking bit of all. Passing on a player who scored 115 points last season is not exactly what one would consider an “aggressive re-tool” and would suggest the Flyers are aiming to rebuild instead. At least, that would be the case had they not just traded three draft picks for Tony DeAngelo.
The only consistency Fletcher and the Flyers have shown is a consistent lack of direction for the franchise moving forward. During Fletcher’s press conference, the Flyers GM was met with intense but valid questioning from media members who rightfully wondered if this is, in fact, a re-tooling year or actually a rebuilding year. Fletcher responded to those questioning by claiming that it is a re-tooling year for the Flyers, but he also made sure to mention the health of Ryan Ellis as a potential scapegoat.
By doing so, Chuck Fletcher has given himself an out (in his own mind) in case the moves made this offseason do not pan out. Flyers fans are unlikely to be forgiving in either case, however, as they are already calling for his removal. Fletcher was met at the Flyers’ Skate Zone, where the presser was held, by chants and even some signs calling for his firing. Philadelphia Flyers fans have clearly reached their boiling point. Chuck Fletcher has failed this city time and time again, and the fans have had enough.