Going through a rebuild can always be more easily digested when there is something to look forward to, a glimpse of hope, a light at the end of the tunnel. When the Flyers finally went into the public rebuild they so desperately needed ahead of last offseason, they found that player.

Danny Briere’s second draft as Flyers GM was not all that different from his first in a certain aspect. The Flyers looked at players that offer high upside, ones that will require a long road, but could be key pieces to the future if they hit their projected ceilings. The one main difference from the 2023 Draft for Briere was a headliner.

There was no Matvei Michkov as part of this year’s Flyers draft class.

That’s what made Briere’s 2024 Draft somewhat underwhelming. Jett Luchanko could be a strong two-way center in the future. A couple of the Day 2 picks could also pan out and reach the NHL one day. But it will be a long road to get there. And with the news that Michkov is likely coming over sooner than expected, a quiet weekend on the trade front – at least involving current roster players – and a draft class relying on upside wasn’t going to move the needle much.

But Briere essentially already forecasted much of this.

Briere, and the Flyers front office in general, has been very transparent about the team’s plans, while remaining tight-lipped on any developments behind the scenes. Briere likes to keep his cards close to his vest. But make no mistake about it, there is a plan in place. It became further defined by Friday night’s activity.

The acquisition of yet another first-round pick in the 2025 NHL Draft, as well as Columbus’ second-round pick in 2025 officially becoming property of the Flyers could give the Flyers six selections as early as the first 45 picks of the 2025 NHL Draft. That will be Briere’s defining offseason.

And that’s really only the beginning. Briere also discussed the dead money the Flyers have to work around for at least another season. By the time the 2025 offseason arrives, the Flyers will gain cap space from the following:

  • $4 million from Ryan Johansen’s expiring contract
  • $3.85 million from Cal Petersen’s expiring contract
  • $2.375 million from Garnet Hathaway’s expiring contract
  • $1.67 million with Tony DeAngelo’s buyout off the books

That’s a total of $11.895 million. Now, the Flyers will owe new contracts to Cam York, Tyson Foerster, Morgan Frost, Noah Cates, and Travis Konecny by that time – some of which could even be completed this offseason – and doesn’t account for any trades the team may make between now and then.

But what it does require is more patience. And good luck trying to tell a fan base that has gone 50 years without a Stanley Cup, in particular the last decade-plus go by the wayside with questionable decisions, and is about to have a potential cornerstone arrive with no other true elite to play with him that they need to wait longer.

But Briere is trying to do just that. His draft picks this year were all long plays on upside. After development camp, the only place you will hear about them is juniors, college, or potentially overseas in professional leagues. But their development will be the focus for multiple seasons.

Briere also has already forecasted that this could be a very quiet free agency period for the Flyers. The dead money doesn’t help matters, and they may just have to run it back and wait it out until they have some actual spending money to be bigger participants.

It could mean, just like the 2025 NHL Draft, that the Flyers could be much more involved in 2025 free agency too.

And that’s what the Flyers plan seems to be. This offseason didn’t allow for the Flyers to make significant changes without a trading partner, and even then, they aren’t looking for a deal just for the sake of making one. It is next offseason where there will be much more room for significant change, and a more talented draft pool where the Flyers have plenty of assets for both selections and potential trades with others looking to get a possible top prospect.

With that in mind, Briere’s most significant decisions of the weekend were not the selection of Jett Luchanko in the first round or any of the six prospects added on Day 2. It was confirming that Columbus’ second-round pick in 2025 was officially theirs. It was adding a third first-round pick in 2025. And it positions the Flyers to have a much more eventful offseason in another year.

Kevin Durso is Flyers insider for 97.3 ESPN. Follow him on social media @Kevin_Durso.

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