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What is GM Chuck Fletcher waiting for?

What is GM Chuck Fletcher waiting for?
Published On: Wed, Jan 09
Dec 16, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Robert Bortuzzo (center) reacts at the face-off circle with teammates Chuck Kobasew (left) and defenseman Brian Dumoulin (right) against the Toronto Maple Leafs during the third period at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Penguins won 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

TheA FlyersA have put themselves in just about an insurmountable position at this point in the season. Through 43 games they have struggled to just 36 points, placing them 30thA out of 31 NHL teams and just one point ahead of the lowlyA Ottawa Senators. If wea€™re going off last yeara€™s Eastern Conference playoff teams, 97 points was the cut-off to make the second season, meaning the Flyers would have to amass 61 points over their remaining 39 games if that same cut-off were applied to this year. I dona€™t think Ia€™m bursting anyonea€™s bubble when I say that doesna€™t appear to be in the cards.

Therefore, given these more than dubious odds, one would logically assume it would be time for new GM Chuck Fletcher to transition into a seller mode; begin to transition away from players without a future in the organization and bring along those with potential to make an impact as soon as next season. With players such asA Philippe Myers,A Mark FriedmanA and Nicolas AubA©-Kubel banging down the door to the NHL, Misha Vorobyev playing significantly better since his demotion to the AHL andA Carter HartA seemingly beginning to settle in at the NHL level, it would make sense to have these players make the jump to the NHL and begin their acclimation now so they can hit the ground running to start the 2019-20 season. And leta€™s not forget that tiny fact that all three of Paul Holmgren, Dave Scott and Chuck Fletcher have spoken about making moves to improve the team.

So what exactly is Chuck waiting for? I have a few theories in mind.

Working the phones

Ita€™s possible Chuck has been working the phones to try and make a deal. In fact, I think ita€™s a certainty. What that deal(s) is, I couldna€™t say; Ia€™m not nearly important enough to have sources. The point is Ia€™d be shocked to hear he isna€™t looking to make a move, or several moves to shake up this roster. Therefore, he may be waiting for one or more of those moves to come to fruition before he makes any in-house changes. I will say that while I do believe Fletcher is speaking with teams around the league, I wouldna€™t expect an earth-shattering trade to occur any time soon. Generally, moves like that happen in the off-season when there arena€™t immediate ramifications on the standings and potential playoff position. Ita€™s difficult to make a blockbuster trade and have a seamless transition in-season. I find it much more likely that a minor deal or two is made, including a possible trade of UFA-to-beA Wayne SimmondsA at the trade deadline, than a true shake-up of the roster.

a€œToo earlya€ to fold on the season

I realize in the intro I explained how slim the odds were of this Flyers club to make the playoffs. Ia€™m not going back on those odds. The odds are considerably poor. That said, Chuck Fletcher is the new guy here. Hea€™s the new boss, but hea€™s still the new guy. He may not want to convey a sense of giving up or folding on the season, because to the players, therea€™s still half the season left to go. Front office members may see this season for what it is, but the players (even though it may not always appear this way) dona€™t want to quit.

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