On Tuesday, we broke down the assets and albatross contracts that are already in place for an optimistic Philadelphia Flyers rebuild. The Short Version: Daniel Briere has a lot of work to do (besides dealing with his wayward son, too).
On the one hand, there is no magic wand solution to rebuilding an NHL team, or to rebuilding the sport in general. said that, learn from others There’s an important reason why humanity has flourished through the ages, so flyers can mix and match what usually works and try to avoid potential pitfalls.
you need top draft picks
Break down the core of virtually every successful NHL team, and you’ll almost always find some pretty high first-round picks. You need look no further than the 2022 Stanley Cup Finals. While the Colorado Avalanche and Tampa Bay Lightning both deploy ingenuity to build foundational pieces, each team relies heavily on blue-chippers like Nathan McKinnon, Cale Makar, Victor Hedman and Steven Stamkos.
There are occasional exceptions to this rule, but they are few and far between. Since the turn of the century, you can probably point to two Stanley Cup winners that didn’t depend on at least one top draft pick: the 2011 Boston Bruins and the 2008 Detroit Red Wings. Boston’s core players (Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, Zdeno Chara, David Krejci, Tim Thomas) were mid-to-late round picks, however their playoff success before an injury to Nathan Horton (3rd overall by Florida in 2003) had played an important role. Stanley Cup Finals. The Red Wings are the best example, with only one (!) first-round pick on their playoff roster: Brad Stuart, taken third overall by the Sharks in 1998.
If there’s another message to understand, it’s that the Flyers may indeed have to go through a few years of pain before they can make the gains they need to become relevant again. Successful teams don’t necessarily ace every high draft pick. Chicago (Cam Barker, 3rd overall), Tampa Bay (Jonathan Drouin, 3rd overall) and L.A. (Thomas Hickey, 4th overall) all rattled off top-five selections, but each team ended its rebuild with the same player. But did not stop.
The Kings won two Cups in a three-year span after missing the playoffs for six straight seasons, during which they built a foundation by hitting first-round picks like Dustin Brown, Drew Doughty, Ange Kopitar and Brayden Schenn. Mike Richards trade), along with some players in later rounds (Jonathan Quick, Tyler Toffoli, Alec Martinez). The Blackhawks had missed the playoffs in nine of the 10 seasons prior to their championship run. The Penguins picked in the top five five straight years and walked away with Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Marc-Andre Fleury, Jordan Staal and Ryan Whitney.
Refusing to need a tank this season, it is likely the Flyers will not land Connor Beddard. it is still possible, But the point is that winning the 2023 NHL Draft lottery won’t solve all of this franchise’s problems in the bounce of a ball. Let’s say a dream does come true and the Flyers draft Bedard, and he reaches the level of Connor McDavid. Consider that the Oilers are still trying to surround McDavid with a suitable supporting cast, and you’ll realize the Flyers need to load up. This would probably require several seasons of “tanking”, however you want to describe it.
Don’t stick to your own brand
Can the Flyers’ bloody glory days as “The Broad Street Bullies” hold them back? it sure sounds like a franchise may need to move from the old guard.
Suppose management insists that you pay at least some lip service to the old concepts. This is, after all, a team that has named its neurotic-yet-delightful mascot Gritty.
The key may be to avoid overcorrecting. The Rangers are already trying to get out of the mistakes Tom Wilson made, but they’re stuck with Barkley Goodrow’s problematic contract. If the justification for a series of mistakes around Rasmus Ristolainen was that he’s big and throws checks, the Flyers already put themselves at a disadvantage living in the past.
Perhaps the real key is not to force it. While the Devils still have a lot to prove, it’s remarkable that a team that was once known for its suffocating style of hockey leaned on its crafty superstar Jack Hughes and is now one of the most exciting teams in the NHL. There is one.
find value, listen to idiots
Technically, Flyers employ some hockey analytics staff, It was difficult to tell about some of his moves.
Smart teams value a mix of backgrounds and identify market gaps. The Avalanche underpaid in futures for star defenseman (Devon Toews), the Flyers did on a flawed blueliner (Ristolenen). If You Adopt That Mindset You Have A Better Chance Of Finding The Next Valery Nichushkin recognized its usefulness long before it made mainstream waves.
Sometimes this means diving into the underlying data to find hidden gems. Other times, blindspots are important for teams to notice, including in the draft. While other teams found themselves out on talent due to a lack of size, the Lightning loaded up on skill, finding gems like Brayden Point and Nikita Kucherov. far from the first round,
learn from your mistakes
From time to time, even a bitter defeat can provide an important lesson, and change in strategy, In their rebuild, the Flyers must… well, find the next Chuck Fletcher, and pull off the kind of maneuvers the Coyotes managed with Shine Gostisbehere.
The Coyotes convinced the Flyers to take Gostisbehere off their hands with important draft picks. From there, Arizona brought in Gostisbehere and traded him away at the deadline for an additional third rounder.
Brear can prove his value early by identifying cap-challenged teams as eager or desperate as Fletcher is, and try his own versions of such clever moves. Again, in order to build an elite team, you must seek out waves of reinforcement rather than hoping that your choices and possibilities will work.
Bold trades may be important in other sports
Perhaps the best moves are the ones where the Flyers can innovate, and Gostisbehere could make the Swindle more like chump change.
watch the nba And NFL, and you’ll find plenty of examples of great trades involving multiple first-round picks. In the NHL, things are more limited, including stars like Timo Meier.
But what if the Flyers got creative, and used the timing better? Picture, for example, the Flyers offering a bold trade that takes a problem goaltender contract out of the hands of one team (LA’s Cal Peterson or Edmonton’s Jack Campbell) and sends Carter Hart the other way. If Edmonton or Los Angeles looked to Hart as a star goaltender on a bad team, Philly would be providing several benefits at once. Wouldn’t it be worth multiple first-rounders for two hungry teams, or a mix of picks and prospects like Brandt Clark or Quinton Byfield?
Even with a goalkeeper like Campbell or Pietersen, it could be a win-win situation. If they continue to struggle, it only increases the tank’s task. If they rebound, maybe you can trade them for more picks while retaining some salary. Either way, it’s a better way to spend salary cap space than paying a premium for a lateral move in free agency.
Inspiration from other sports may also prompt the Flyers to trade for picks later on. If management really favors rebuilding the Flyers under Brear or someone else, why not squeeze in a future, unprotected first-rounder from an aging contender, banking on impending retirement and dwindling talent, ideally a potential high pick? be translated as?
Time Those Sweet Cheater Deals While You Can
Sure, you can extract value from hidden gems and clever trades, but the biggest competitive advantage you can expect is to have a star player on an artificially cheap rookie contract (and the occasional cheap second deal).
The most obvious examples reach back. The Penguins made it to the 2008 Stanley Cup Finals in the final year of Sidney Crosby’s rookie deal, then won it a year before Evgeni Malkin. ELC expired, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane were both in the last year of their rookie contracts when Chicago won its first contemporary championship, and Toews Spent an Additional Year in the NCAA After drafting.
Bowen Byram flourished after the season as the AVS smashed through the playoffs, and while most of their stars were being paid, they put good value in Nichuskin, McKinnon and Nazeem Qadri.
Therefore, even a short-term pain/long-term gain setup could allow the Flyers to try to engineer some windows of serious value. Perhaps this thought process could push the Flyers toward drafting a high-end “project” rather than a safe, low-ceiling player. The stars could also align for the Flyers to jump up a bit and snag Matvey Michkov, a prospect many see as the second-best talent of the 2023 NHL Draft, but he will demand patience as he looks to develop in 2025-26. K is under KHL contract.
Ultimately, any forecast of rebuilding the Flyers is limited because the environment for the franchise is still very cloudy. As Part 1 of this series reveals, there are plenty of challenges ahead, but also plenty of opportunities for Briere to put her stamp on this groundbreaking franchise.
Even if you’re bothered by bullies, you have to admit the NHL’s more entertaining (and wild) when the Flyers are relevant.