CALGARY, Alberta — One week into the job, it’s obvious that Chuck Fletcher will need an unlimited data plan.
According to one source, Fletcher has already engaged in discussions with half the teams in the league regarding a potential deal before the holiday roster freeze from Dec. 19-27.
“I don’t know where that came from,” Fletcher said Wednesday. “I haven’t even counted how many teams I’ve contacted. Between now and the trade deadline, you’re not doing your job if you haven’t picked up the phone. We’re in the middle of December now and you’re starting to see teams make some moves. You’re being derelict in your duties if you don’t call every team.”
Pierre LeBrun on TSN’s Insider Trading segment reported Tuesday night that the Flyers would like to upgrade at goalie, add a veteran defenseman and a top-nine forward. A move that LeBrun says would “inject adrenaline” into a stagnant team. Fletcher wouldn’t go into detail, only to express he’s performing his due diligence.
“If I call around and something makes sense and there’s a fit with another team, I’ll do it,” Fletcher said. “I’m not looking to do something just to say I did it. I want to do something that helps the team and we’re still trying to figure out where we need the help.”
In terms of a veteran defenseman, two names immediately pop up: the Blackhawks' Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook, who coincidentally played their 1,000th game together Tuesday in a 6-3 loss to Winnipeg. Seabrook is currently signed through 2024 with a cap hit of $6.875 million, while Keith is locked up until 2023 at $5.5 million.
If those two players carry too much term, then a more feasible option could be the Kings' Jake Muzzin or Alec Martinez. Both defensemen carry a $4 million cap hit with the 29-year-old Muzzin a free agent after next season and Martinez signed through 2021.
TSN’s Darren Dreger added to the speculation that there could be a fit with the Toronto Maple Leafs, who are seeking a power forward with Wayne Simmonds being mentioned as a possible fit. Fletcher has reached out to Simmonds’ agent Eustace King, but any negotiation has been a preliminary one.
“I’ve got three or four more guys that have called yesterday,” Fletcher said. “It seems like every day I start out eight or nine calls behind. Everything’s preliminary right now.”
As far as goaltending, the Blues recently waived veteran goaltender Chad Johnson, who was eventually claimed by the Ducks. Considering the Flyers had a higher priority by virtue of their poor record, they elected to pass up on the 32-year-old Johnson, who had a 3.55 goals-against average and an .884 save percentage in 10 games with the Blues.
“I’m very happy with what [Anthony Stolarz] has given us,” Fletcher said. “We’ve got a couple of guys that have been hurt that we’re hoping can get healthy and get their game going.”
Head coach Dave Hakstol hasn’t ruled out Brian Elliott playing at some point on this trip as the goalie continues to work his way back from the lower-body injury he suffered Nov. 15.
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