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The Philadelphia Flyers should not be buyers

(Heather Barry Images, LLC)

The Philadelphia Flyers, from ownership all the way down to the players, have preached patience about this season.

General manager Daniel Brière publicly admitted when he initially took over in the interim in March of 2023 that the team needed a rebuild. Philadelphia has not made the playoffs since 2020 or recorded a season above .500 since 2021.

“I don’t think this is a quick fix,” said Brière when he took over. “That’s my belief and that’s why I’m not afraid to use the word rebuild.”

With that being said, the Flyers have obviously surprised a lot of people around the NHL and are currently sitting third in the Metropolitan Division standings, nine points behind the first place New York Rangers.

This team plays with an edge, they play with unbridled confidence, and they have bought all the way into how head coach John Tortorella wants them to perform on a nightly basis.

The Flyers are proving more and more with each passing contest that they are not a fluke. They are simply just this good. At even strength, they are one of the best teams in the league. Their penalty killing and defensive structure have taken a massive leap this year as well and it is showing in their play. If it weren’t for a historically terrible power play, the Flyers might be a definite top-10 or even top-5 team in the league.

With every game, the Flyers are passing every test given to them, and as we creep through December and approach the New Year, it’s hard not to envision the “p-word” in their future this season.

That’s right.


And with a postseason appearance potentially on the horizon, expectations will have to remain tempered within the fanbase. The Flyers aren’t a Stanley Cup contender. This season is the first chapter in what will help make them a contender for years to come in the future, but they are not near that point just yet.

“It doesn’t. We know where we are,” said Brière when asked on December 9th by NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Jim Jackson and Brian Boucher about if the team’s early season success changes anything. “We’re trying to get out of that rut where we make the playoffs one year, [then] we miss, and you look at the standings and it’s very tight.

“We know we have a long ways to go and we’re trying to build a team that’s going to be contenders for years to come, not just for one year. We’re very aware of that. We’ll see what comes. It’s a long season although it feels like it’s flashing by us, but the plan hasn’t changed.”

Unless a great player is available for an insane bargain or if there is another younger player with a couple years left on their deal that comes cheap, the Flyers have no business trading assets for players. They need to explore trading expiring contracts at the trade deadline and garnering draft picks and prospects like they’re going out of style.

Of course, there are some players that are free agents at the end of this season that have thrived in Philadelphia. Sean Walker has been a revelation on the blueline after suffering a torn ACL and MCL in 2021 and finding himself traded from Los Angeles. Nick Seeler has also gone from an AHL-caliber player to a steady, everyday fifth or sixth defenseman for the Flyers and has played admirably in his role.

The Flyers have an opportunity to extend the players they have that have excelled in Tortorella’s system. Yes, prospects like Emil Andrae, Ronnie Attard, and the currently-injured Helge Grans are in the pipeline and will be knocking on the door to leave Lehigh Valley. However, if the team is playing well and those players are thriving in the system, why mess with a good thing right now?

This Flyers team has clearly developed strong chemistry and are forming a real identity as a stiff, competitive hockey team that never backs down and will throw a concrete block back at you if you throw a pebble in their direction. That is something we haven’t seen from this team in a long time, and they shouldn’t just muddy it up by adding more players to “contend” for a championship that is likely out of reach this season.

Sure, the Flyers already have a few blue-chip prospects in Cutter Gauthier and Matvei Michkov that will only make this team better for years to come, so maybe they can afford to trade some B-level prospects for temporary help should the right opportunities present themselves, but I wouldn’t count on it.

This Philadelphia team, from top to bottom, is building a new winning culture, but they want to build it organically and let it grow from within the organization without making blockbuster trades – for now.

In the next few seasons when the Flyers are even better and legitimately contending on a consistent basis, then the time will be right to swing for the fences and load up with whoever they can to take a shot at winning the Stanley Cup.

The time to be buyers just isn’t right now, and that’s okay.

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Managing Editor at Flyers Nation. Proud lifelong supporter of the Philadelphia Flyers and all things hockey related. Steve Mason's #1 fan.

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