NHL Rumors: Flyers leaving future to Chuck Fletcher, and Devils open to trading first round pick

nhl rumors flyers
Nov 6, 2021; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Martin Jones (35) celebrates with Flyers defenseman Keith Yandle (3) after their game against the Washington Capitals at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Today’s NHL Rumors looks deeper at two Metropolitan Division that missed the post-season. Both the Philadelphia Flyers and New Jersey Devils are looking to take the next steps for their respective franchises.

The Flyers in particular are expected to have a future-shaping offseason ahead.

One of the biggest things on their plate is replacing Mike Yeo as their head coach. I suspect that former popular Flyer, Rick Tocchet is a leading candidate to take the reins in Philly.

However, there’s a question that has a few people wondering why GM Chuck Fletcher, the architect of the Flyers current mess, is still in charge?

NHL Rumors: Flyers sticking with Chuck Fletcher

At this time Fletcher, along with Assistant GM Brent Flair and Special Assistant Danny Briere will all continue in their roles heading into next season.

Based on conversations I’ve had with people close to the situation, Fletcher has the full support of Team Governor, Dave Scott. Had there been any plans to move on from Fletcher as GM, he would have not spoken at the press conference this week.

The Fourth Period

Here’s the problem, Fletcher seems committed to striking some balance with rebuilding and retooling. What the Flyers really need is probably to strip this down. Identify some key players to build on and take it forward.

The problem in Philly, which came to a head in the firing of Alain Vigneault seems to be a culture issue. Multiple reports indicated that there was discord in the locker room, mostly directed at the head coach.

So whatever players Fletcher brings in, they need to be considered good leaders. Plus he needs to bring in a coach that will have a commanding presence to change the cultural dynamics. Maybe John Tortorella would be better at it than Tocchet, but he can grind players to the bone too.

Regardless, the Flyers are trusting to Fletcher to make the right decisions and he hasn’t made many lately.

NHL Rumors: NJ Devils open to trading first round pick

nhl rumors
Mar 21, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; New Jersey Devils head coach Lindy Ruff (left) talks to center Yegor Sharangovich (17) against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the second period at PPG Paints Arena. New Jersey won 2-1 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The New Jersey Devils missed the playoffs for the fourth straight time after going 27-46-9 for 63 points.

General Manager Tom Fitzgerald is considering making a big move this summer by trading his first round pick. It’s not anything new for him either.

“I said this two drafts ago (2020), when we had the three first-round picks, I’m open to whatever can help our team improve,” Fitzgerald said Thursday. “If that is using a pick like that, wherever it may be, to help bring in a player that we know, and feel, will help impact the results that we are looking for, absolutely.” 

NHL.com

Currently, the Devils are fifth and have an 8.5% chance of winning the lottery and moving into first overall. If they do, I highly doubt they will pass up the opportunity to draft top prospect Shane Wright.

The Montreal Canadiens, who hold the top spot and an 18.5% of winning the Wright Sweepstakes will host the NHL Draft on July 7-8 at the Bell Centre.

Another question for the Devils is at head coach. While it seems that Lindy Ruff will remain the bench boss, his two assists were relieved of their duties on Wednesday.

Mark Recchi, 54, joined the Devils after Lindy Ruff was named the team’s head coach two years ago. Recchi won three Stanley Cups during his 22-year NHL career before being elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2017.

Alain Nasreddine, 46, was named an assistant coach by the Devils in 2015. He was elevated to interim head coach of the team in 2019-20 after John Hynes was fired.