VOORHEES, N.J. – When Flyers’ management announced on Tuesday that it expects to be both active in trades and aggressive in salary cap spending, players listened up.
How active and how aggressive depends on the next general manager, whenever that hiring is made.
Whatever the case, players on this underachieving team (last in the Metro Division) understand that hockey, like any sport, is a business and aside from a handful of superstars, there’s no such thing as job security.
Of the Flyers’ “Big 4,’’ Jake Voracek and Wayne Simmonds might be considered the most vulnerable to a possible trade.
The other two – Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier – both look secure, mainly because Giroux has a no-trade clause and Couturier is only 25 and considered the best two-way player on the team.
Voracek says he has no reason to want to be traded. He has said on several occasions he has some unfinished business in Philadelphia, namely winning his first playoff series since the 2011-12 season.
“I would be a coward if I just ran away,’’ he said after Wednesday’s practice at the Skate Zone. “If I get traded, OK, I get traded, that’s out of my power.
“If I stay here, my job is to do everything I can to help this team be the best it can be. ‘Stuff hits the fan, just get out’. . .that’s not how it works. I don’t think that’s the way I was raised. I don’t think anybody in this locker room feels this way.’’
Giroux has followed up last year’s 102-point campaign with another strong start. The rest of the crew hasn’t been playing quite that well. He knows a team which is underperforming is susceptible to player movement.
The players might be dwelling on the recent events but they’re trying to block it out. They looked like a fragile bunch in Tuesday’s come-from-ahead loss to the lowly Ottawa Senators.
“It’s actually not bad when you come to the rink,’’ Giroux said. “Sometimes it’s when you go home and start thinking about it. We’re all in this together. The only way we’re going to get out of it is everybody doing their own job.
“Off the ice, this team is tight. We have a good group of guys here, everybody cares for each other. We just have to do it on the ice. When we do, we’re going to win a bunch of games in a row.
“As frustrated as we are right now, we have to find the confidence we can have in order to play as a team.’’
Does this feel a little bit like the day before the NHL trade deadline, when everyone is on pins and needles, not knowing where they’re going to be the next day?
“When things like this (former GM Ron Hextall’s firing on Monday) happen, everyone’s a little more worried,’’ Giroux said. “But at the end of the day, we’re here to do a job. Win games. We’re going to get back on track real soon.’’
Defenseman Andrew MacDonald has been around the block more than once but he says this is the first time he’s ever experienced a GM firing in-season. It takes a little time to absorb the turn of events.
“It’s kind of unique to everyone here,’’ he said. “I think our job is to go out on the ice and perform. It’s something we have to talk about at times but I think out on the ice you have to clear your mind and then just go play the game.’’