The Philadelphia Flyers are planning to have a very busy offseason.
"I think we're going to be very aggressive in the trade and free agent markets in the sense of looking into every possible situation that can help us," said general manager Chuck Fletcher, who was hired Dec. 3 to replace Ron Hextall. "The unfortunate part is the vast majority of things you look into don't work out. … So we're going to be very aggressive in trying to fill the holes we feel we have. I don't know if I can say we'll be able to fill all of them."
In a wide-ranging interview with NHL.com at the NHL Scouting Combine, Fletcher discussed where he thinks the roster needs upgraded, the status of negotiations with four key restricted free agents, his plans for the 2019 NHL Draft, and the potential of goalie Carter Hart.
Where are the holes on your roster?
"We need help everywhere. We need help on defense, at center and on the wing. And obviously, we need another goaltender at least, if not two. We have a lot of needs. We'll be able to plug some of those holes, whether we're plugging them with players on six-year deals or players on one-year deals as placeholders to buy more time to find the right fit. We'll certainly have our roster upgraded next year and hopefully we can find three or four players at 26 years old that we can plug in there for the next 6-7 years. I don't know if that's likely.
"We may have to have some Plan B options. We are aggressively looking in the trade market now. At the right time, we'll certainly speak to every agent for a lot of free agents and see if there's a fit, see if there's players that want to come to Philly and if there's the right fit for our club. The good thing is we've got the assets and the cap space and sometime in the near future, we'll make some good things happen, and hopefully sooner rather than later."
You mentioned Plan B options, does that include some of the top young prospects, among them forwards Isaac Ratcliffe, Morgan Frost and Joel Farabee?
"Or older guys. You can find some guys in their 30s on one- and two-year [contracts] that are still good players that can help your team until either the young guys are ready or until you can maybe go out and get the great 25-year-old players that you can sign to a seven- or eight-year deal. Sometimes you swing for the fences and sometimes you have to hit some singles, too.