Flyers Looking to Move on From Weise, Trade Leier to Buffalo for Bailey
After a few weeks of evaluation, Chuck Fletcher is finally starting to make his presence felt within the Flyers organization. After trading Jordan Weal about a week ago, Fletcher has made two more minor moves regarding the state of the Flyers.
First, Taylor Leier was traded to the Buffalo Sabres Thursday night in exchange for forward Justin Bailey. If you've never heard of Justin Bailey, let's just say you wouldn't be alone. This isn't a big move - Bailey and Leier have near identical numbers in both the AHL and in brief NHL stints. The only difference is in age - Bailey is one year older, and size - Bailey is much bigger. Leier has had his chance to carve out an NHL role in Philadelphia - notably, he was given 4th line and top PK duties to start the 2017-18 season, but failed to sustain his opportunity. So he gets moved for someone a bit younger than Fletcher thinks will play a bigger role than him long term.
The other will probably make the fans happier, but is also more confusing. I mentioned in the Game Notes on Wednesday that Dale Weise had cleared waivers and was staying with the NHL team (again). Turns out it's not that simple. Apparently, Weise's days as a Flyer are numbered. After not practicing for the last few days, Fletcher confirmed Weise will not make the trip with the team to Montreal. Weise had requested a trade (good luck finding anybody) and is staying at home while his agent reaches out to teams.
What both of these moves have in common is moving on from players who were "Hextall guys" that Fletcher did not see as part of the team's future plans. It was Hextall who advocated for Leier to be given a spot on the opening night lineup last year, and Hextall who signed Weise to a 4-year, $9.4 million deal on July 1, 2016, the third biggest free agency signing of his tenure. While they not be the ground-shaking moves the fans are demanding, there is usually a calm before any storm, and that may just be where we are with the Flyers right now.