January 18, 2019 | 10:36am ET
FLYERS APPROACHING TRADE DEADLINE WITH CAUTION
Wayne Simmonds, right wing
Philadelphia Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher is expected to be fairly busy leading up to the Feb. 25 trade deadline, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s going to pull the trigger on multiple major moves.
Fletcher has received interest in several of his players already, including pending unrestricted free agent forwards Michael Raffl and Wayne Simmonds, but shaking up his roster mid-season may not be the approach he’s looking for.
“I don’t know that the trade deadline is always the most ideal time to make moves,” Fletcher told the Philadelphia Daily News. “If we can do things before the deadline, great. If not, there’s a lot of opportunities in the summer.”
The Flyers are not expected to go through a full rebuild, as Fletcher suggested, but he is open to a variety of options.
“We have a lot of good young players,” he said. “We have to find a way to be competitive in the short term. It’s really disappointing where we’re at right now, and we have to look at all opportunities, not just between now and the trade deadline, but in the summer to make sure we can make adjustments to get better. I think we’re going to be pretty active between now and the start of next season.”
Fletcher is going to try to get Simmonds locked up to an extension, but failing to do so will result in a trade, he confirmed to the paper. Simmonds currently sits No.4 on TFP’s Top 30 Trade Watch List.
“The goal would be to either have him signed or moved by the trade deadline,” Fletcher said.
Could the Flyers explore deals for some of their other players, like defenceman Radko Gudas or star forward Jakub Voracek? That certainly remains to be seen, but given the club’s position in the standings – currently second-last in the Eastern Conference – it won’t stop teams from inquiring.
Voracek, 29, has five more years left on his contract after this season and comes with an $8.25 million salary cap hit. He does not own any no-trade protection, but moving him could undoubtedly result in a difficult challenge given his contract.