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Dear Flyers fans: Stop complaining 2 months into a rebuild

(Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Danny Brière has been a full-time GM for 2 months and some fans are already complaining.

Since he officially had the interim title removed from his General Manager position back on May 11th, Brière has barely had any time to breathe.

In his introduction conference, he stated that the Flyers would in fact be rebuilding, and since then Brière has made 3 major trades, had the NHL Entry draft, and signed 4 NHL players in free agency. He’s not even close to being done yet as he still has to sign his restricted free agents and continue to monitor the Team Canada sexual assault situation before making a decision on Carter Hart.

Brière has done a lot in his first couple months as general manager, and there could be more that he does, but some fans have already started complaining about the front office for god knows what reason.

Throughout social media, I’ve seen so many fans complaining about things that Brière has or hasn’t done so far this offseason. Brière has had a really really good offseason so far. He’s done exactly what he said he was going to do, trade out players who no longer fit the timeline while bringing in draft picks, prospects, bad contracts, and depth veterans to build a rebuilding roster.

However, some people still find ways to keep complaining.

What moves has Brière made and what about them has people complaining so much?

Move: Ivan Provorov Trade

This was Brière’s first major move as GM, and most of the fanbase thought he hit it out of the park. Trading away a player who no longer fit the timetable and was already in trade rumors for multiple years might’ve seemed easy, but it was the return that was shocking. A first round pick, two second round picks, a prospect, a NHL defenseman, and an overpaid goalie were all sent to the Flyers while 2 AHL players and Provorov were the only pieces moved.

Reason for complaining:

Brière did well here, and this was the first time Flyers fans have seen creativity in the form of a trade in a long time. The Flyers also did not retain any of Provorov’s contract, another reason the fanbase was happy. This trade and one other moment from the draft were the only times the Flyers fanbase seemed to be on the same page. No complaining here.

Move: Kevin Hayes Trade

This trade was one of the most talked about moments from the offseason, not just from a Flyers standpoint, but the NHL as a whole.

This whole 5-day period was a mess. Multiple names were thrown around, the Flyers were getting at least a first round pick and an NHL player back, and the Flyers would be getting Travis Sanheim’s contract off the books.

Well none of that happened. The Flyers traded Hayes at 50% of his contract retained for a 2024 6th round pick.

Reason for complaining:

“Danny caved! Danny caved! How dare he go from a package that was centered around Sanheim and Hayes for Krug and a 1st to a final trade that ended up being Hayes at 50% for a future 6th!”

Calm down.

Torey Krug wasn’t going to waive his no-trade clause, and his contract was part of the reason the Flyers were going to get both Sanheim’s contract off the books AND get the first round pick back. This wasn’t Danny’s fault.

“But it was his fault! The Flyers leaking information was the reason the trade collapsed! It was unprofessional and shows bad front office management.”

Okay, three things.

  1. The first whiff of smoke from this came from Andy Strickland, a St. Louis Blues reporter. It was only after this news came out that the Flyers guys tried jumping on it to see what they could find out. Also every major name that was reported to be involved came from Strickland. Once it got to the point that Krug’s name was out there, both front offices were leaking, most likely trying to use the media to force Krug to waive his NTC.
  2. The Ivan Provorov trade was dead quiet before Elliotte Friedman reported that it was happening. For such a complicated trade, to have no leaks is massive and indicative of having a tight front office.
  3. The whole Michkov vs. Leonard debate the night before the draft. That whole situation showed no one had any idea what the Flyers were planning. The front office used Flyers writers to set up a smoke screen. Friedman called Danny Brière the “smokescreen queen.” Leonard was seen as the pick even if Michkov was still there. They had a super secret meeting with Michkov and his family in Voorhees the Friday before the draft with no leaks of that whatsoever. I know fans have been used to a loose lips front office in the past, but with most, if not all, of the major players in past front offices gone, the Flyers have a much tighter ship now.

“Ok but a 6th round pick and taking 50% of Hayes’ money is bad! They should have just kept him!”

Well, no. The Predators threw a wrench in the entire “older center with a high cap hit” market with their Ryan Johansen trade. The Flyers wanted Hayes gone, as there was a major fracture in the locker room between Hayes and Tortorella. Hayes’ value is probably the highest it will ever be after a career year points-wise while also being selected to the All-Star Game. If the Flyers didn’t want to JVR the situation, they needed to get at least something for him or he would probably have been bought out, which would’ve been much worse than eating 50% of Hayes’ contract for 3 years.

Move: 2023 NHL Draft

I don’t think I really need to go in depth here. Brière drafted Matvei Michkov 7th overall. Everyone was happy.

Reason for complaining:

Everything that was said about Brière after the draft was positive. No complaining here.

Move: Not trading Travis Konecny or Scott Laughton

Konecny and Laughton are the biggest assets Brière has right now, and some fans are furious that they haven’t gotten moved yet. One is a player coming off a career year under contract for two more seasons at a very reasonable $5.5M cap hit. Another is the perfect locker room guy who plays all 3 offensive position on lines 2, 3, or 4, while also having a $3M cap hit the next three seasons. Both seem like the perfect trade candidates, yet they’re both still a Flyer.

Reason for complaining:

“Danny is half-assing the rebuild! He’s not trading our best guys which means we won’t be bad next year and they won’t get a good draft pick! It’s Hextall all over again!”

Take a deep breath there.

Brière specifically said that this is not a fire sale. He’s listening to offers on everyone, but that doesn’t mean that the deal has to be made. Both Konecny and Laughton are great locker room guys, the coach loves both of them a lot and wants to have them both back, and you can only trade away so many players until your team becomes a roster of prospects thrown into the fire that is the NHL with little to no veteran leadership in the locker room.

“But there was an offer for Laughton for a first round pick! He’s not going to be worth that again! Danny dropped the ball on that one!”

Well, players’ values skyrocket around the trade deadline, as teams over pay for players all the time in their quest for a cup. Yes, Scott Laughton wasn’t traded, and yes there were reports that teams were offering a first round pick and maybe a second too.

Okay, that’s cool, but Tanner Jeannot was traded for Cal Foote and a 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th round pick last trade deadline. When comparing the two players, Laughton is much better than Jeannot, and his versatility is huge for teams. If Danny waits until the deadline, Laughton could get a king’s ransom.

“But Konecny is coming off a career year! If he wasn’t moved this offseason, he won’t ever be moved!”

What was said for Laughton about teams overpaying at the deadline goes for Konecny too. Goal scorers are always coveted at the deadline, and if Konecny has another season like he did this year, teams will absolutely get into a bidding war for him as his contract is cheap, has a second year of control, and he plays a perfect style of hockey for the playoffs.

Move: Signing Garnet Hathaway, Marc Staal, Victor Mete, and Ryan Poehling

The Flyers made four depth signings at the NHL level, signing 2 4th liners and two 3rd pairing/7th DMen. Hathaway signed a two-year deal while Staal, Mete, and Poehling all signed one year deals.

Reason for complaining:

“What is Danny doing?! The point of a rebuild is to play the young players that have been in the AHL! Signing these guys will block them!”

Take a big step back and think about this logically.

First of all, let’s look at Staal, as he’s the one people are mad about the most. Staal is honestly the perfect signing for this team. On a team that has no leadership on the blue line, bringing in a guy who wore a letter on his sweater for multiple playoff runs with the Rangers is huge. The oldest guy on the Flyers blue line before this move was…Nick Seeler. Staal is also a great get for a trade piece. He played top 4 minutes on a Stanley Cup Final team last season. Teams will jump on him at the deadline.

“But that doesn’t negate the fact that he’s going to block the AHL players coming up!!”

If they can’t beat out a 36-year-old Marc Staal in training camp after developing for 3 to 5 years in the AHL, they shouldn’t be playing in the NHL anyways.

“Ok but what about the other three? They’re blocking kids too!”

Two of them ARE kids. Poehling and Mete are 25 and 24, respectively, making them pretty much the same age as Egor Zamula (23), Olle Lycksell (23), and Ronnie Attard (24). Brière is most likely giving them prove-it deals and probably looking to see if he can find a gem in either of them. They have as much of a chance to be cut from the team as the other young guys do, especially Mete who signed a 2-way contract.

“So what? Hathaway isn’t young! Brière made a mistake there!”

You’re right, Hathaway isn’t young, but he’s vital to the development of the younger players. A lot of young guys get pushed around in the league when they enter. The Flyers had Nic Deslauriers already, and with Hathaway signed that adds another guy that will be the reason that an opposing player thinks twice about leveling a younger Flyer.

After York got hit hard in Ottawa last season, Deslauriers took exception, fighting two Sens players before entering the box. The rest of the game was much tamer after that. Yes the whole “Broad Street Bullies” thing is definitely going to be brought up all season, as the Flyers are definitely going to fight a lot. And even thought the Flyers are entering a “New Era of Orange,” moving away from the Broad Street Bullies theme, protecting young players is never a bad thing.

The Oilers did the same thing actually, having Zack Kassian on a line with Connor McDavid when he entered the league. And obviously Hathaway will eventually be a trade chip, as he is an ideal 3rd/4th line guy in the modern NHL.

When taking a step back and looking logically, the Flyers are doing all the right things so far.

Instead of getting mad and complaining about a front office that’s only two months into its regime, maybe don’t act angry out of habit. Take time to do research about the team and why they’re probably doing the things they are. If you do those things, maybe, just maybe, you’ll realize that it’s okay to not be mad all the time.

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