Flyers Season Promising after Dramatic Offseason

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photo courtesy from unsplash

Mitchel Wilbur

The Flyers have been one of the most active teams in free agency during the off season, making a handful of trades. One of the biggest moves included shipping out playmaker Jakub Voracek, one of the longest-tenured Flyers, to the Columbus Blue Jackets for forward Cam Atkinson.
Atkinson, 32, spent all of his years in Columbus and has four years left on his contract. Over the last two seasons, Atkinson has put up an impressive 60 points (27 goals, 33 assists) in 100 games.
“Atkinson’s score-first mentality will bring a much-needed scoring presence on the ice next season, and that’s really exciting,” said Julian Manes, 21, a Bucks County resident and West Chester University student.
The Flyers have also traded away top prospects Philippe Myers and Nolan Patrick in return for seasoned veteran Ryan Ellis. Ellis spent his entire career as a speedy offensive defenseman in Nashville where he racked up 270 points (75 goals, 195 assists) in 562 games.
The veteran defenseman has also helped to bring the Nashville Predators to a Stanley Cup Final in 2017.
“He might be small for a defenseman, but I think he’ll bring the fire power the Flyers were missing on the blue line last season,” said local auto body shop owner and avid Flyers fan John McShane. “I think he (Ellis) will be huge, especially for the powerplay.”
Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher locked in another trade that sent young defenseman Robert Hagg, a 2021 first round draft pick, and a 2023 third round draft pick to the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen.
The former 8th overall pick in 2013 is known for bringing a heavy hitting, gritty style of play which is something Flyers fans have been demanding from their defense pairs since former captain, Chris Pronger. The six foot five Ristolainen does not shy away from handling the puck as he had four straight seasons of 40-plus points.
Recent Penn State graduate and Flyers fan, William Lee, 22, weighed in on the acquisition from Buffalo.
“We might have given up a lot for Rasmus, but I agree with Chuck (Fletcher) on the trade,” Lee mentioned. “Gambling away draft picks is worth it when you know what you’re bringing in, which is a solid, established player.”
Just four days after acquiring Ristolainen the Flyers signed another veteran defenseman in Keith Yandle who turns 35 this month.
“I think Keith perfectly complements our existing D core,” Fletcher said in a press conference following his offseason transactions. “He’s got a lot of experience and a pretty good skill set.”
As the trades began to cool down the Flyers began to lock up some of the young stars for the foreseeable future including goalie Carter Hart who received a three-year extension, forward Joel Farabee with a six-year extension, and the 2020 Selke trophy winner Sean Couturier who inked an eight-year $62 million deal.
The Flyers head into the 2021-2022 season with captain Claude Giroux at the helm for the tenth straight year making him the longest tenured captain in Philadelphia sports. Alain Vigneault will be behind the bench for his third season as the Flyers head coach.