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January 28, 2019

Flyers GM says Giroux is the only 'untouchable' player as NHL Trade Deadline approaches

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Carroll - Philadelphia Flyers Claude Giroux Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

Claude Giroux of the Philadelphia Flyers during a game against the Arizona Coyotes at the Wells Fargo Center in South Philadelphia.

On Monday, with less than a month standing between him and his first NHL Trade Deadline with the Flyers, new general manager Chuck Fletcher addressed the media to discuss the state of the team coming out of the All-Star break. 

Obviously, with the Flyers near the bottom of the NHL standings, the main topic of conversation revolved around whether or not his team would be active in the days and weeks leading up to the deadline. And Fletcher wasn't shy, saying his team just needs "to get better." 

"You can't keep putting the same players out there and expecting a different result," he told reporters, adding that he would like to be both a buyer and a seller at the trade deadline.

Fletcher also took the time to discuss two veteran forwards who's names have been floated out there as potential trade bait if the Flyers are truly throwing in the towel on the 2018-19 season: Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds.

First up is Giroux, simply because it seems there's a definitive answer as to where he'll be playing after the deadline. That's right, he's staying in Philly according to the Flyers GM.

While that "no-movement" clause is key to why Giroux will be here after the deadline, I think it's also safe to assume rookie goalie Carter Hart can be added to the "untouchable" list as well.

But when it comes to forward Wayne Simmonds, the future is much less certain. Here's more from Dave Isaac of the Courier-Post...

Wayne Simmonds is the most obvious of the potential trade pieces because he’s a power forward who has always been around the 30-goal mark since he came to Philadelphia and has the character that any team would covet. Him being on an expiring contract at a team-friendly $3.975 million cap hit is all the more reason why a team would want to acquire him as a rental.

“There’s a tremendous amount of respect from our organization to Wayne,” Fletcher said, not delving too far into the Flyers’ limited interest in an extension for Simmonds as opposed to trading him. “Everything has been professional, and the communication has been pretty clear.”

Other pieces the Flyers have that might be attractive to other teams would be Michael Raffl, also on an expiring contract, and right-handed defenseman Radko Gudas who has one more season at $3.35 million.  []

That's the selling part. But didn't Fletcher say something about the Flyers also being buyers at the deadline? How exactly would that work for a team with the third-fewest points in the entire NHL?

Fletcher clearly has his sights set on improving the roster, and given how this year has played out for the Flyers so far, it should be difficult for them to get better, even if only slightly. 

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