Flyers

Is Chuck Fletcher closer to making a trade after Flyers' loss to Canadiens?

Is Chuck Fletcher closer to making a trade after Flyers' loss to Canadiens?

MONTREAL — Chuck Fletcher spared himself from watching another first-period debacle.

The Flyers' general manager did not make the trip to Montreal for Thursday's 5-1 loss (see observations), perhaps tending to the “administrative” side of business with the NHL’s trade deadline now just days away and his team still in a holding pattern.

According to league sources, the majority of buyers looking for that blockbuster deal to boost their roster are all waiting for the Ottawa Senators to make the first move. The Sens have the two most highly coveted players in forwards Mark Stone and Matt Duchene, both of whom didn’t play Thursday night as a precautionary move.

Once those wheels are set into motion and both players are traded as anticipated, it’s expected the teams will start moving quickly toward their secondary plans and that’s where Fletcher, the Flyers and Wayne Simmonds all come into play. 

The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun believes the Bruins and Lightning have been the two front-runners for Simmonds, but over the course of the past few weeks, scouts apparently have been less than impressed with what they’ve seen out of the Flyers' power forward.

LeBrun tweeted that the Flyers were staying focused on the current playoff chase — one that has taken a severe beating this week as the team has lost back-to-back games in regulation for the first time since Jan. 7-8.

Now’s the time to reevaluate.

There could be some under-the-radar teams that nobody’s talking about. 

Arizona GM John Chayka was in Philadelphia this week, perhaps watching Simmonds firsthand. Chayka told The Athletic what needs the Coyotes have at this point: “I think it’s pretty obvious. Scoring and some help on the power play."

And Simmonds checks off both boxes.

However, following Thursday night’s loss, Simmonds has scored just one goal over his last 15 games, his longest stretch of scoring inefficiency this season even during a stretch when the Flyers' power play has been at its most effective.

It leaves you wondering if the buildup to the trade deadline and the uncertainty of his future are starting to wear on Simmonds just a little bit.

The Flyers now find themselves trailing the Carolina Hurricanes by seven points with 21 games remaining, and if they’re struggling to beat some of the teams also on the playoff cusp, then Fletcher must give serious thought to how the Flyers will fare next month when they embark on a stiff 12-game stretch against some of the league’s front-runners. 

The schedule only gets tougher and the Carter Hart adrenaline appears to be wearing off. That’s two straight starts in which Hart has been pulled in the first 10 minutes. Sooner or later, the Flyers' porous defense would eventually catch up with them, and now it has.

“We got scored on on two horrible neutral-zone forechecks,” interim head coach Scott Gordon said. “That set the tone for the game, and then after that, turnovers. There were obviously a lot of them. We didn’t give [Hart] a chance to get in the game.”

The Flyers are running out of moves. 

Another loss Saturday against the Penguins, and it’ll be time for Fletcher to make his.

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Scott Laughton says thank you to those 'putting their lives on the line' during coronavirus outbreak

Scott Laughton says thank you to those 'putting their lives on the line' during coronavirus outbreak

Just like his Flyers teammates, Scott Laughton is staying busy during the suspension of the 2019-20 season amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The 25-year-old forward is in Philadelphia keeping up with personal workouts, including a little bit of yoga with his girlfriend.

Aside from physical fitness, Laughton also dusted off his Xbox and depleted Claude Giroux's confidence in FIFA.

“I just wanted to say, I haven’t picked up an Xbox since junior [hockey]," Laughton said Monday in a video interview with NBC Sports Philadelphia's Taryn Hatcher. "Started playing a little bit during the break, G asked if we wanted to play twice, I mopped him up a little bit and beat him.

"Other than that, I actually picked up a book the other day, started reading a little bit. Not much, watching different shows, binge-watched 'Tiger King.'"

The 2019-20 Flyers are a tight-knit group, which has helped spearhead the team's resurgence after a letdown 2018-19 campaign.

"Everybody’s accepting of their role and doing what is asked of them and doing it with a smile on their face," Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher said Monday on a conference call. "I think that’s why this group is so close and we were having the success that we were having at the end of the year."

Prior to the league's stoppage on March 12, the Flyers had won nine of their last 10 games and were 19-6-1 since Jan. 8, a stretch in which they were tied with the Bruins for the NHL's most points at 39. With 13 games left on their schedule, the Flyers are one point behind the Metropolitan Division-leading Capitals and own the league's sixth-most points at 89.

Understandably, Flyers teammates are buzzing in the group chat during this period of separation.

“I think guys have been writing in the chat a lot, just trying to keep it light," Laughton said. "This is a tough time for everyone, just trying to stay in touch and see what’s going on in the league and what’s going to happen. I think guys are pretty curious about it, especially the way we were playing and going into it.”

As Laughton noted, this is a tough time for everyone. He's appreciative of all those in crucial roles, risking their health for others.

“Philly and everyone around the world have come together at this time," Laughton said. "At the front of it are the healthcare workers and everyone that’s working in the grocery stores and at different stores that you need to get essentials at, so a big thank you to all of them for doing all that for us and putting their lives on the line. It’s been a really special time to see these people put in their work and make sure everyone is healthy and safe.”

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Flyers Talk podcast: What if Flyers jumped right into NHL playoffs?

Flyers Talk podcast: What if Flyers jumped right into NHL playoffs?

On the latest Flyers Talk podcast, NBC Sports Philadelphia's Katie Emmer, Brooke Destra and Jordan Hall discuss the potential of the NHL playoffs and the team's position.

From the possible matchup and how the Flyers are adjusting, let's dive in:

1:20 — Get to know Destra's background!

3:15 — Will the NHL jump right into the playoffs?

9:50 — Let's look at the Flyers' potential matchup

15:25 — Should the Flyers worry about any scenario?

18:30 — Get to know Tanner Laczynski and Wade Allison

25:20 — Fletcher on the Flyers' adjustments during this time

32:20 — Give Chuck Fletcher and Alain Vigneault credit; excitement ahead

37:25 — OK, let's talk some shows!

40:30 — Meet the president of the Gritty committee

Subscribe and rate Flyers Talk: Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Spotify | Stitcher | Art19 | YouTube

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