Chuck Fletcher won't close any doors in his first offseason as Flyers general manager.
"We're going to be active in trying to improve our team," the GM said two days after the Flyers' season ended in April. "How that translates this summer, we'll find out.
"I think we need to add a couple more proven players — I think we could add in any area. Clearly we need to find a goaltender to play with Carter [Hart]. Certainly a veteran defenseman could help. I think some help up front, as well. I think we score, but maybe finding another experienced guy that can help with that mindset — playing the right way, that could contribute both ways."
It's no secret the Flyers will look to utilize free agency in gearing up for a bounce-back year in 2019-20. It's also no secret the trade route will be an avenue for Fletcher, especially with the June 21-22 NHL draft ahead. The Flyers enter this summer with a strong prospect pool, greater cap space and 10 selections in the draft, so the ability to explore trades is evident.
The Flyers hold the 11th overall pick in the draft (see five targets). According to a report by Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Fletcher has listened to trade offers for the pick.
#Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher is listening to trade offers for his first overall pick. He will happily keep it if he doesn’t get what he wants, but “if we can get a good player at the right stage of his career and with some term left on his contract, we’d certainly look at it.”— Sam Carchidi (@BroadStBull) June 1, 2019
Over the next few days, let's look at possible targets for the Flyers, with some help from TSN's trade bait board by Frank Seravalli. To be clear, the Flyers have not been linked to these players; we're simply looking at potential fits.
Jason Zucker, LW, Wild
Fletcher and assistant general manager Brent Flahr know Zucker well, having drafted him in 2010 when both were with the Wild.
The 27-year-old is coming off a down season in which he recorded 21 goals and 21 assists. However, just a year before, Zucker put up career highs in goals (33), assists (31) and points (64), and was a plus-34 the season prior.
Zucker has reportedly been in trade talks. He has a modified no-trade clause and is under contract through the 2022-23 season with an annual cap hit of $5.5 million.
The winger could be attractive to the Flyers because of his age, the contractual control and strengths that play up and down the lineup.
Nazem Kadri, C, Maple Leafs
Once again, the Flyers need more depth at center. It's uncertain if 20-year-old Nolan Patrick is ready to be the Flyers' No. 2 center behind Sean Couturier.
"I would suggest there are 27, 28 teams that would probably like to find a No. 1 or No. 2 centerman. It's a hard thing to find," Fletcher said in April. "Certainly if you can find a top centerman, I think any team should jump on it. We'll certainly look, but Nolan has the capability of being a No. 2 centerman."
Kadri, 28, had back-to-back 32-goal seasons from 2016-18. The 2009 seventh overall pick had 44 points (16 goals, 28 assists) in 73 games this season but was suspended during the playoffs for a second straight year and owns five career suspensions.
Kadri has a modified no-trade clause and is signed through the 2021-22 season with an annual cap hit of $4.5 million. Maybe Toronto grows impatient with Kadri at this point and the Flyers capitalize. While his ability down the middle is intriguing, there could be other concerns.
Contract information courtesy of CapFriendly.com.
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