Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher appears to be looking beyond this season


Chuck Fletcher’s history suggests that the next few months could be his busiest in the trade market.

The Athletic’s Craig Custance broke down the moves of 27 NHL general managers (four were not ranked based on a lack of activity) and their tendencies regarding the deals they’ve made.

While Fletcher doesn’t have the volume of deals as his counterparts across the league, 80 percent of Fletcher’s trades — all with the Wild — occurred between Jan. 1 and the league’s trading deadline, typically the end of February. That number was the highest percentage of any GM in the league.

Fletcher joined The Power Play with Steve Kouleas and Matthew Barnaby on SiriusXM NHL Radio Thursday evening and laid out some of his approach as it pertains to the Flyers.

We’re not looking to do anything crazy. Moving top prospects and top picks for rentals, that doesn’t do much good. Certainly, we do have a lot of prospects here and a lot of picks. That’s not to say we wouldn’t do something to add a player, particularly if that player had term left on his contract.

In saying that, Fletcher doesn’t appear to be a buyer and is rather positioning himself as a seller with an eye toward next season and beyond. 

Custance also broke down the trades from a position of a buyer, a seller or just an overall hockey trade. Fletcher has been on the “seller” side of deals in just 20 percent of the trades he has made as opposed to 35 percent from the buyer’s side. Numbers that are more reflective of how stable the Wild were during Fletcher’s tenure when Minnesota was a playoff team in six of Fletcher’s final nine seasons.

One area Fletcher could address is finding a veteran goaltender with Brian Elliott and Michal Neuvirth playing out the final year of their respective contracts. While Carter Hart may not have seen action this early in his Flyers career during the Ron Hextall era, Fletcher is willing to see how well Hart plays and if he can have sustained success at the NHL level.

“The important thing for Carter is making sure he’s playing,” Fletcher said. “If he’s playing well here and getting the majority of starts, that’s great. If he ends up being a backup for a while, that doesn’t make much sense to me. It’s hard to predict, but as long as he’s playing, I’ll be happy and winning games up here, that’s great. We won’t put any limits on him.”

A prospect without limitations is a refreshing deviation from Hextall’s days as GM as Fletcher acknowledges the future is now. The next few months may show us just how quickly he’s willing to get there.

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