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As the Flyers’ season has begun to spiral out of control over the past few weeks with a 3-6-1 over their last ten games, the Flyers have fallen out of the playoff race. With the team’s struggles, many questions have arisen about the defense, the goaltending, the coaching. After GM Chuck Fletcher’s press conference on Wednesday, we got some insight into what Fletcher sees as the problems plaguing the team.

Here’s what to take away from Fletcher’s comments.

 

1. Moves need to be made “to get the right mix of players”

Fletcher recognized that the absence of Matt Niskanen has hurt the Flyers as they haven’t filled the void he left on the top pairing. Provorov and Niskanen were the second-highest played pairing in the league last year, but this season they have tried everyone with Provorov and none have worked out.

Obviously, the signing of Erik Gustaffson hasn’t panned out how they planned so it looks like they will look to bring someone in whether it’s in free agency or at the deadline.

“I think we do need to address that going forward to get the right mix. Certainly, some of our young players need to continue to take steps. I think our back end, like the rest of our team, needs to get better. But overall our team defense has been a collective effort; we just haven’t been good enough in any aspect of the game yet.”

Some hot names that have been tied to the Flyers have been Nashville’s Mattias Ekholm and Dallas’ Alex Goligoski, both veterans who would be welcomed additions to the struggling Flyers’ blue line.

 

2. Go easy on the young players & the challenge of this season

Fletcher acknowledged that some of the team’s young players have underperformed. Though he didn’t throw out any names, we can assume he’s talking about Phil Myers, Travis Sanheim, Travis Konecny, Nolan Patrick, and Carter Hart. All who have had their fair share of struggles this year.

But Fletcher did not seem deterred by the failure of his young players to take the next step and actually defended them.

“There will be ups and downs. Some haven’t played to our expectations. Long term, they should be good NHL players. A lot of challenges this year; some have handled better than others. Have to be careful not to overanalyze.”

He also noted the struggle that this odd season has put on his players with the compacted schedule and inability to socialize with the COVID-19 protocol.

It’s easy to forget that these players are extremely young but Fletcher still believes that they will find the right path again soon.

 

3. They are not in sell mode… at least not yet

“We’re certainly not looking at selling right now,” Fletcher claimed. “I would say to you, in my calls with managers around the league, first of all, I’ve received very few calls. It’s been really quiet in terms of receiving calls. I’ve made many; I’ve been much more aggressive I think than a lot of people just looking at different options. There doesn’t seem to be many teams out there willing to take on dollars and terms at this point in time. There seem to be more teams may be looking to move some pieces than take on pieces for various reasons, so we’ll take a look. Anything we do, we want to make sure it makes sense. If we can fill a box for the long term right now, we can potentially explore that. Certainly, if we can upgrade our team, we’ll do that.”

Though the Flyers are quickly falling out of the playoff picture, Fletcher is not throwing in the towel just yet. And he might actually be leaning towards acquiring a player at the deadline.

 

Featured Image: Jose F. Moreno/Philadelphia Inquirer
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