How did the Flyers come away empty at the trade deadline?

The Philadelphia Flyers were one of several teams that approached the NHL Trade Deadline knowing that they were not attempting to contend in 2023.

Head coach John Tortorella has been very open about his team’s position as a rebuilding club. At 23-28-11, that was no secret anyway. However, the Flyers did not look like your average seller at this year’s trade deadline.

There was talk of forward James van Riemsdyk, a veteran of 920 NHL games whose contract expires at the conclusion of this season, might be on the move.

Emily Kaplan reported during ESPN’s trade deadline coverage that Philadelphia general manager Chuck Fletcher was asking for a third-round pick in exchange for the 33-year-old. She also noted that a trade had been made with the Detroit Red Wings, but that fell through.

The Flyers made no progress in their rebuild at the trade deadline.

Instead, JVR remained with the Flyers past the deadline. On the day, Philly traded away two forwards in two different deals and acquired Brendan Lemieux, a fifth-round pick in 2024, and a sixth-round pick in 2023. Not exactly a haul to be excited about.

Now, as this organization looks ahead and tries to build for the future, it will do so without a second-round pick in either of the next two drafts and only one additional first-round pick (from last season’s Claude Giroux trade). That is according to CapFriendly.

Just to compare, the Chicago Blackhawks have nearly 20 picks in the first three rounds of the next three drafts after being extremely busy tearing things down. That’s an extreme example, but Philly could have had at least a piece of that pie.

With players like van Riemsdyk and defenseman Justin Braun on expiring deals, the Flyers should have been able to get something in return. Even someone under contract long-term, like 30-year-old All-Star Kevin Hayes, could have made sense to move.

Yet, here the Flyers are, watching everyone around them make moves while they sit still. Rebuilds can be impossible tasks at times, and they go a whole lot slower when you come away from key days like the NHL Trade Deadline making little to no progress.