Monday, February 6, 2023

LOOK: Johnny Gaudreau autographs Flyers fan’s ‘Fire Chuck Fletcher’ sign


Flyers fans are still not over the way general manager Chuck Fletcher has handled this offseason. A big part of that is the team failing to sign Johnny Gaudreau, who wound up signing with the Blue Jackets instead of Philly — despite growing up in nearby southern New Jersey.

One Flyers fan took matters into his own hands on Sunday and got Gaudreau’s autograph on a “Fire Chuck Fletcher” sign. Following a miserable 2021-22 season in which the Flyers finished last in the Metropolitan Division with a record of 25-46-11, the fan base had hope that the offseason would bring some excitement. With Gaudreau set to hit free agency, Philadelphia was rumored to be one of his preferred landing spots.

Instead, Fletcher didn’t express much interest in Gaudreau, who signed with the Blue Jackets. As a result, Flyers fans have lost patience with Fletcher — as evidence by Gaudreau inking his name on the “Fire Chuck Fletcher” sign.

Flyers fans have reason to be upset. On July 13, the day that NHL free agency began, ESPN’s Emily Kaplan reported that the Flyers were Gaudreau’s “top choice.” However, no deal ever came to fruition because Fletcher couldn’t open up enough salary cap space to extend a real offer to Gaudreau.

“We’re not involved in the Johnny Gaudreau sweepstakes,” Fletcher said in July, via NBC Sports Philadelphia. “We don’t have the cap space to pursue those high-end type of free agents. You’d have to move multiple contracts to be able to do that and you have to have a team, as well. In some cases, contracts are extremely hard to move. In other cases, there are players that we don’t want to move, we feel they’re a big part of our future.”

The Flyers have made some changes this summer, though, including hiring John Tortorella to replace Alain Vigneault as head coach. The team also signed forward Nic Deslauriers and traded for former Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Tony DeAngelo before signing him to a two-year contract.

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