PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher has found his cap space. The Flyers on Thursday traded defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere to the Arizona Coyotes in a cap-clearing move.
The Flyers moved Gostisbehere along with a second-round pick and seventh-round pick in 2022 to Arizona. The Flyers did not get anything in return.READ MORE: 2 Teens Shot In Targeted Attack In Northeast Philadelphia: Police
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The Flyers left Gostisbehere exposed in Wednesday night’s NHL Expansion Draft, but the Seattle Kraken opted to select forward Carsen Twarynski.
Fletcher said Thursday he was a “little bit” surprised he couldn’t get anything in return for Gostisbehere.
“It’s a tough environment out there right now. It’s tough to move money,” Fletcher said in a video conference with reporters. “I think everybody saw that last night with the Seattle expansion draft. I had many, many, many conversations with Ron Francis before. I spoke to him last night and again today. He made clear they wanted to keep their powder dry. Cap space is so important, and teams are going to be in trouble, if not now then later on the summer or next year.
“We made the move we had to make. I spoke to every team in the league several times going back a year and a half now. I had a pretty good idea of what the market was. A couple of teams had made offers. One team had asked for Cam York to take Gostisbehere. Another team had asked for our first-round pick this year to take Gostisbehere. This was the best move we can make. Hopefully, now, it allows us to get into some other opportunities over the next few days.”READ MORE: 'Y'all Took My Only Son From Me': Tommie Frazier's Loved Ones Mourn Teen Killed In West Philly Shooting
Trading Gostisbehere nets the Flyers $4.5 million in cap space in each of the next two seasons. After the trade, the Flyers have a projected $13.89 million in cap space, according to CapFriendly.
The 28-year-old Gostisbehere, a third-round pick by the Flyers in 2012, spent seven seasons with the orange and black, registering 219 points in 381 regular-season games.
He’s a two-time Barry Ashbee Trophy winner as the Flyers’ best defenseman, and his 219 points are fifth-most by a defenseman in franchise history and his 60 goals are fourth.
Last season, Gostisbehere had nine goals and 20 points in 41 games. The Flyers did place him on waivers, but the defenseman cleared and he finished out the season.
“Shayne didn’t have a lot to say. He was professional. We just thanked each other. I’m sure anytime you get that call, I don’t know that it was unexpected,” Fletcher said. “We’ve had a lot of conversations over the years when Shayne wasn’t playing as much about maybe trying to find them a better opportunity, but he loved it here. I know that and yet I think Arizona is excited to get him. I’ll let them speak to it. It sounds like he’ll have an opportunity to have a have a bigger role there than he potentially would have had here.”
Last Saturday, before the trade freeze went into effect, the Flyers acquired defenseman Ryan Ellis from the Nashville Predators in a three-team trade that sent Phillipe Myers to Nashville and Nolan Patrick to Vegas.
Ellis, who will be the first Flyer ever to wear No. 94, is expected to anchor the Flyers’ top defensive pair.
The NHL trade freeze that was in effect due to the expansion draft expired at 1 p.m. Thursday.MORE NEWS: Expert: New Jersey Native Samantha Josephson's DNA Found Under Suspect's Nails
“I do expect to have a better team by the end of next Wednesday and that’s exciting,” Fletcher said. “We have a lot of work to do.”