Flyers analysis

What's next in Flyers' offseason? Briere reiterates his mindset since March

GM says Flyers remain 'open for business'

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Two days after being named Flyers interim general manager, Danny Briere didn’t take any player off the table when discussing his thoughts of a rebuild.

“As you've seen, there's no one that's untouchable anywhere,” Briere said in March. “If Wayne Gretzky can be traded, anyone can.

“Our young guys have a lot of value to us. At the same time, we're not in the position to not listen to anyone. But the young guys are not the guys that we would be shopping, obviously.”

In April and May, Briere reiterated his stance of being open to anything.

It’s early June and his mindset hasn’t changed as the Flyers’ full-time GM. He put the club’s offseason into gear Tuesday by moving 26-year-old defenseman Ivan Provorov to the Blue Jackets. The Flyers took on a few contracts, but added three draft picks, including a first, and a prospect.

If Briere is willing to listen on any player, that includes Carter Hart. That doesn’t mean the Flyers are shopping Hart, that they don’t view him as a part of the future or that he’s the surefire next trade.

Listening is one thing. Shopping is another.

“I'm still in the same spot I was,” Briere said Tuesday in a Zoom press conference. “We're open for business, we listen on everybody. Everybody's being treated the same way for us on our side.”

Hart turns only 25 years old in August. He plays the most important position in the game, a position in which the Flyers have long fought for answers. He was the team’s MVP this season (Bobby Clarke Trophy winner) and should get only better if the team improves. He makes only $3.979 million and will still be a restricted free agent when his deal expires next offseason.

There’s reason to believe he can still fit the Flyers’ rebuilding timeline. If the club is to get serious on a potential offer for a trade, it better make certain it’s a valuable haul in return.

So what could be next for the Flyers’ offseason? Well, anything.

Trade talks should continue to pick up as the June 28-29 NHL draft gets closer. That’s when bigger trades tend to happen, before July 1 free agency commences.

The Flyers want to get younger and facilitate their rebuild with future assets. With that being the case, for various reasons, Kevin Hayes started to look like one of the Flyers’ bigger trade candidates in February.

At his end-of-the-season press conference in April, the 31-year-old All-Star center was honest about his future in Philadelphia.

"I picked up the message that was sent months ago," Hayes said. "I'm OK with it. It's their decision.

"I don't want to say I'm suited for a contender, because I think I'm suited for anyone, to be honest. But, yeah, we'll see how that unfolds. Their decisions have probably already been made. We don't know them yet. I'm sure I'll find out around the draft.”

Three days later, Briere spoke highly of Hayes, a well-liked leader in the Flyers’ locker room.

“We can't forget that Kevin is a 6-foot-5 centerman that can put up a lot of points,” Briere said. “They're not easy to find. There are lots of teams that would love to have players like him. He's got a lot of value.”

At his exit interview in April, head coach John Tortorella said he felt the Flyers could get younger on defense. Provorov is no longer in the club’s picture. Next season, Travis Sanheim will be in Year 1 of an eight-year deal with a no-move clause. This season was Year 1 of Rasmus Ristolainen’s five-year deal.

Tony DeAngelo has just one year left on his two-year deal and his first season ended with a five-game benching from Tortorella. He turns 28 years old in the opening month of next season.

June is a telling time for the Flyers. We’ll learn how open Briere is for business and how significant the rebuild may be when the month wraps up.

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