Three o’clock came and went, and Chuck Fletcher did just enough to have the Flyers faithful not call for an absolute boycott of the team. While it wasn’t as flashy as many wanted, it got the ball rolling towards an offseason where turnover is iminent. Chuck made two trades and hashed out an extension Monday afternoon. While the extension could have just as easily been a trade, ultimately the right call was made. Let’s take a look at Chuck Fletcher and his moves from Monday.
Scott Laughton signs five year, $15mil extension ($3mil AAV)
The first move of the afternoon came in the form of an extension. Chuck Fletcher inked pending UFA Scott Laughton to a five year deal worth three million dollars annually. No clauses attached, but Fletcher made it clear they would protect him come expansion draft time.
The obvious takeaway from this is that the Flyers value what Laughton brings to the table enough to keep him around until he’s 31 years old. The guy plays up and down the lineup. He plays both ends of the special teams spectrum. He can score, he can win battles. He’s a complete player. He isn’t a top line guy. He isn’t a reliable second line option. He is the perfect bottom-six option and three million dollars is a decent pricetag.
You could argue that on any other team Scott Laughton is a fourth liner. That argument would stand. Given the state of the Flyers right now though, he’s a third liner and that type of contract just works. Obviously if the Flyers get better over the years you could revisit this and say it’s just too much to pay for a fourth liner, but it’s a solid deal for both parties for the time being.
Grade – B+
Erik Gustafsson to Montreal for 2022 7th Rd. pick, Flyers retain 50% of salary
Much like the OG-EG, Erik Gustafsson V.2 just didn’t pan out with the Flyers. Chuck Fletcher struck a deal with the Montreal Canadiens, shipping Gus north of the border for a seventh round pick in next years draft. Along with the pick, the Flyers retain 50% of his three million dollar salary until the end of the year. The Flyers don’t really need any extra cap space currently, so having $1.5mil of dead cap on the books for the rest of the season doesn’t really hurt them that much.
It’s great the Chuck Fletcher got something in return for Gustafsson. The guy fell out of favor very quickly in Philadelphia and was enjoying the popcorn in the press box more than the action on the ice. It wasn’t much in return, but it was something. He wasn’t coming back to the Flyers next season, so Fletcher was wise to recoup what he could while he had the chance.
Grade – B
Michael Raffl to Washington for 2021 5th Rd. pick, Flyers retain 50% of salary
Par for the course, Fletcher continued to sell off some pending UFA’s. After eight years with the Flyers, Michael Raffl finds himself switching out his orange and black for red and blue, joining the Washington Capitals. In return, the Flyers retain $400,000 of his salary and receive a fifth round pick.
While bittersweet to see one of the longer-tenured Flyers pack his bags, it was absolutely the right move. Raffl can now pursue a cup with the Caps and the Flyers snag some draft capital to swing into a potential useful piece for their future. Retaining salary on an expiring deal means next-to nothing for Chuck Fletcher, so it’s really nothing to worry about. If we’re going to nitpick, retaining 50% instead of 25% could have upped the draft pick, but beggars can’t be choosers, right?
Grade – B-
You can’t expect Fletcher to sell off every UFA or RFA under contract. The moves he made were the moves you’d expect out of any general manager in his position. While there were still some deals that could have went down, a la Nolan Patrick, it is what it is and Chuck Fletcher did his part to try and get this team primed for the offseason where there will undoubtedly be more moves being made.
Photo Credit – Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire