Kincade & Salciunas: Weekdays 6am – 10am

Kincade & Salciunas: Weekdays 6am – 10am

Kincade & Salciunas: Weekdays 6am – 10am

The Philadelphia Flyers never fit the mold as traditional sellers ahead of the 2024 NHL Trade Deadline. They still occupy the third and final playoff spot in the Metropolitan Division standings. The organization has also openly spoken against the idea of tanking as a part of their rebuild.

Danny Briere was active ahead of his first deadline as general manager. The Flyers subtracted Sean Walker and Wade Allison. They added Erik Johnson, Denis Gurianov, and Ryan Johansen. They maneuvered with draft capital and salary flexibility.

Flyers at 2024 NHL Trade Deadline

The success of the 2023-24 season under John Tortorella has stunned the NHL. The Flyers have exceeded all reasonable expectations. The surprise pushed Briere to tweak his deadline strategy while still maintaining the long-term focus of the organization’s rebuild.

The Flyers did give up minimal draft capital to acquire Johnson. They also passed on opportunities to make major deals involving Scott Laughton or Nick Seeler. Both decisions indicate some level of priority on a playoff berth and the idea of young players gaining playoff experience. 

They did not execute like most would’ve predicted entering the season, mainly because of the team’s success in 2023-24. The option to move veteran players, most notably Laughton and Rasmus Ristolainen, doesn’t disappear after the trade deadline, however. Briere has the upcoming offseason to discuss potential deals for two players under contract for multiple years beyond 2023-24.

Is the rebuild on a better track than it was entering the 2023-24 season?

“I believe so. I believe the players have put us in that better position, not just the players, the coaches. I think that this group have put us in that better position (with) the way they’ve coached, the way they’ve played, so I see it as a good problem that they’ve put me in maybe a little tougher position having to trade a player (Walker) that was really well-respected and played extremely well for us.” -Danny Briere

How did Briere handle his first NHL Trade Deadline in charge?


  • Sean Walker Trade

    Flyers trade Sean Walker and a 2026 5th-round pick to the Colorado Avalanche for a 2025 conditional 1st-round pick (top 10 protected) and center Ryan Johansen (at 50% of his $8 million cap hit)

    Danny Briere acquired Sean Walker in what looked like a salary dump as part of the Ivan Provorov trade in June 2023. The ability to flip Walker for a future conditional 1st-round pick makes the initial trade look even more successful. 

    Trade speculation throughout the 2023-24 regular season had fixated on the idea of a potential 1st-round pick coming back to the Flyers. Although the series of moves looks like an overall steal for Philadelphia, full evaluation of the trade must acknowledge the qualifiers.

    The 1st-rounder won’t come until 2025. The player selected with the pick is most likely 16 or 17 years old right now. The Avalanche are extremely unlikely to land in the top 10 of the draft, which should eliminate any concerns about the condition. However, they’re likely to contend for the Stanley Cup and push the pick towards the end of the opening round.

    Briere also took on Ryan Johansen’s salary. The Avalanche retained 50% of his $8 million cap hit through 2024-25. Weaponizing cap space is a valuable technique at the NHL Trade Deadline. However, it’s necessary to consider that the salary dump was a significant part of Colorado’s willingness to move the pick. The trade wasn’t just about acquiring Sean Walker.

    Grade: A-

    Sean Walker #26 of the Philadelphia Flyers looks on after scoring during the first period against the Dallas Stars at the Wells Fargo Center on January 18, 2024 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

  • Nick Seeler Extension

    Flyers extend defenseman Nick Seeler on a four-year, $10.8 million deal

    Briere spoke about a high demand around the NHL for Nick Seeler. The Flyers passed up the opportunity to acquire draft capital, possibly a 3rd-round pick. The 30-year-old defenseman plays the type of gritty style that general managers gush over before the NHL Trade Deadline.

    Seeler has developed into a lineup regular over the past two seasons. He has worked with assistant coach Brad Shaw to transform himself into much more than the journeyman he looked like when the Flyers signed him in 2021. He leads the league with 184 blocked shots.

    “You guys see him blocking shots every night. He’s been excellent this year, and not just this year, last year too. He really took a step in his game, took another step this year. He earned it. He really did, and it’s a contract that puts us in a good position. (If) you trade Nick Seeler, you’re looking for the next Nick Seeler the next day after you trade him. Those guys are tough to find.” -Danny Briere

    The Flyers have Adam Ginning, Ronnie Attard, and Emil Andrae pushing for NHL playing time. Seeler is a valuable piece to the organization, but a four-year deal might’ve been lofty. The organization emphasizes culture consistently. However, they’ve devoted roster spots to strong culture players like Scott Laughton, Garnet Hathaway, and Nicolas Deslauriers already.

    Briere and the Flyers did not ignore their long-term future with their overall strategy at the NHL Trade Deadline in favor of the playoff chase. They didn’t necessarily maximize their future by extending Seeler, but there are worse moves than keeping a tough, gutsy defenseman who could help the Flyers earn a playoff spot.

    Grade: C+

    Nick Seeler, Philadelphia Flyers

  • Erik Johnson Trade

    Flyers acquire Erik Johnson from the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for a 2024 4th-round pick

    Johnson has played 1025 NHL regular-season and playoff games, and he lifted the Stanley Cup in 2022 with the Avalanche. Defensemen Jamie Drysdale, Rasmus Ristolainen, and Nick Seeler are out of the lineup with injuries. The depleted blue line also lost Walker, but Tortorella now gets a veteran addition.

    Briere and the Flyers spent aggressively relative to expectations, giving up the 4th-rounder for the 35-year-old Johnson.

    The Flyers believe that their young players need to gain experience in big games if they hope to become key pieces of a Stanley Cup team down the road.

    The low-cost acquisition helps that effort in the short term, but it sacrifices a small chip for the future. The likelihood of a 4th-round pick developing into a key NHL contributor isn’t very high. Rebuilding teams need all the mid-round picks they can get, however. The Flyers still have a solid stockpile of picks heading into the draft this summer, so the loss is relatively small.

    Grade: C

    Erik Johnson, Philadelphia Flyers

  • Wade Allison Swapped For Denis Gurianov

    Flyers trade Wade Allison to Nashville Predators for Denis Gurianov

    It became increasingly clear that 26-year-old Wade Allison had no long-term future with the Flyers. He didn’t make the NHL roster out of training camp entering 2023-24, and he struggled to wrap his head around the idea of a demotion to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

    The Flyers swapped Allison for Denis Gurianov, who has played 294 NHL games in parts of seven seasons with the Dallas Stars, Montreal Canadiens, and Nashville Predators. He has played 27 games in the AHL in 2023-24 and only 14 in the NHL.

    The acquisition of a fringe NHL player gives the Flyers short-term depth. Tortorella hasn’t given much ice time to Olle Lycksell after his recent call-ups. Gurianov will likely take preference over Lycksell for the remainder of the regular season.

    Allison had lost his place in the pecking order as a call-up option from the Phantoms. The Flyers essentially swapped fringe NHLers because the player in their organization needed a change of scenery. The trade is a small victory for Briere.

    Grade: B+

    Denis Gurianov, Philadelphia Flyers

  • Ryan Johansen Waived

    Briere made it very clear that the Flyers weren’t acquiring Ryan Johansen to stay on the NHL roster. They immediately waived the veteran forward just two seasons removed from a 63-point season.

    “We have a different vision at this point.” -Danny Briere

    The $4 million cap hit exceeds his value significantly. Johansen also clashed with Tortorella while the two were together with the Columbus Blue Jackets. Although the relationship reportedly wasn’t a determining factor, it probably didn’t help.

    Johansen might’ve provided value in the bottom six, but Briere accomplished a similar depth move by acquiring Gurianov two days later anyway.

    Grade: B

    Ryan Johansen, NHL Trade Deadline

  • The Third-Party Broker

    Flyers acquire 2024 5th-round pick for retaining 25% of Noah Hanifin’s salary as a third party in the trade sending Hanifin from the Calgary Flames to the Vegas Golden Knights

    The acquisition of Johansen didn’t handcuff Briere financially. He used salary cap flexibility in a three-team trade to become the “broker” for Vegas and Calgary in the Noah Hanifin trade.

    The Flyers picked up a 5th-rounder to compensate for the sweetener they gave up in the deal with Colorado. The pick is also two years sooner, which factors into value in negotiations.

    Grade: B+

    Noah Hanifin, NHL Trade Deadline

  • Danny Briere: Final Grade

    The perception of the Flyers is nearly all positive for the first time in years. Briere and the new front office have earned the trust of the fan base in the first established rebuild in franchise history.

    The team’s performance on the ice is the main reason for that. Watching the Flyers beat the Florida Panthers, a legitimate Stanley Cup contender, one night before the NHL Trade Deadline certainly didn’t hurt his credibility. The perception of the Sean Walker trade will also improve when considering the overall result of the series of moves beginning with the Ivan Provorov deal.

    Briere has the wheels in motion in an overall sense for a new direction and a promising long-term vision. The greater perception does, however, allow a few minor underwhelming moves to slip (almost) under the radar.

    Trading a 4th-round pick for Erik Johnson and signing Nick Seeler to a four-year deal don’t perfectly align with the rebuild. They are also less consequential moves that won’t destroy the rebuild. The Flyers had previously put themselves in a bind giving overpriced contracts to Rasmus Ristolainen, Kevin Hayes, Tony DeAngelo, and others.

    Could Briere have built his stash of draft picks differently? Yes, but any disagreements with Briere’s deadline moves don’t come close to the same magnitude of Chuck Fletcher’s tendency to hand out bad contracts.

    The ability to acquire a 1st-round pick for Walker outweighs these moves exponentially.

    Briere executed a strong deal with his most important trade chip and then worked to improve the NHL roster. He’s steering the Flyers in the right direction one year after his tenure as GM began.

    Grade: A-

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