It’s already been a busy week in Sin City for the Flyers, and the draft is still a few hours away from commencement.

General Manager Danny Briere has had several irons in the fire with various teams regarding both moving up and moving down in tonight’s first round.

They were close to a deal with Ottawa for No. 7 last week, but it fell through after the Senators traded for Boston goalie Linus Ullmark. They have engaged in conversations with several other teams this week and tried to get as high as No. 4 with Columbus, but sources indicate that the Flyers couldn’t meet the Blue Jackets asking price, and Columbus will go in another direction (hearing its Carolina, but the details are unclear).

But before we look at that deal – and what the Flyers might have been willing to give up – it’s worth noting that the team finally announced it will be buying out the final year of Cam Atkinson’s contract.

By doing this, the Flyers will see a cap savings of about $2.7 million this season, but will have an additional $1.75 million in dead money count against their 2025-26 salary cap.

This was a last resort for Briere. He didn’t want to do this to Atkinson. He wanted to trade Atkinson and keep any dead money attached to this season only. He had worked out a trade with the San Jose Sharks, another rebuilding team willing to take on contracts this season, but Atkinson had the Sharks as one of the teams he couldn’t be traded to on his limited no-trade clause and wouldn’t waive it to allow the Flyers and Sharks to finalize the deal.

(Note: At some point, some national writer should really look into these no-trade clauses. Not that there’s anything wrong with a player getting them, or a player exercising their right to use them – that’s totally fine. They earned that right. But the issue is a lot of them have the same teams on the lists. And it has nothing to do with those teams’ ability to field competitive or Cup-challenging teams, but rather the tax rate in certain places. Teams in locales such as California and Canada suffer because players would rather go and play in a state with lower – or no – income tax. They make so much more money in say, Florida, than they do in, say, Edmonton. And while some teams would be willing to pay more to make up for that difference, they can’t because the cap is the same for all teams, regardless.)

It was obvious last season that Atkinson wasn’t the same player he was before his injury. And he no longer fit the timeline of the Flyers rebuild, so it made sense to part ways. But Briere’s hands were tied with Atkinson once he turned down the San Jose trade, leaving him no other alternative then this buyout.

The Flyers are trying to make the next step in that rebuild and with Matvei Michkov coming this season, they were hoping to get out from under some dead money sooner. And while this won’t be a back-breaking amount of dead money, it’s still not ideal.

One of the other things the Flyers want to do is add another top end talent – either at forward or on the blue line. Two guys they like a lot in this draft are Russian forward Ivan Demidov and Canadian defenseman Sam Dickinson.

In order to get Demidov, they were going to have to jump up into the top four in the draft, and Briere made a heck of a pitch to the Columbus Blue Jackets in an effort to move from pick 12 to pick 4.

Initially, the plan was to get to pick 7 first – which was why they were tied to a deal with Ottawa. However, the Flyers deal was never Ottawa’s plan A. They went and got Ullmark, and traded their second first round pick (No. 24) in the process, making the value of their pick at No. 7 greater, in their mind.

Briere wanted to at least get there and then try to go to Columbus to get to pick 4, and if it didn’t work, settle for pick 7, where there was a chance Dickinson could land.

But once the Ottawa deal never materialized, Briere decided to swing for the fences with Columbus.

He knew it would take a haul to go from 12 to 4. Columbus, reportedly, originally asked for three first rounders (two this year, and one next), which was too steep a price.

So, Briere tried a little different tactic. He offered Pick 12 this year and the 2025 first rounder the Flyers acquired from Colorado in the Sean Walker trade, and instead of their second first round pick this year, offered a forward from their roster (I believe it to be Joe Farabee, but I have not been able to get official confirmation on that part of it as of yet).

That’s a big swing by Briere, but apparently not big enough.

I was told by a non-Flyers source that the Blue Jackets are going to trade the pick and take a deal from a different team, believed to be the Hurricanes.

And that wouldn’t surprise – as the Blue Jackets new GM, Don Waddell, came from Carolina, where he was the former GM, and would be trading with his former assistant, and current Carolia GM (and former Flyers writer for Broad Street Hockey) Eric Tulsky.

It’s probably disappointing for the Flyers brass, for sure, but I don’t think Briere is done trying to maneuver around.

If he can’t move up, how about sliding back a few spots, picking up additional assets, and drafting a kid like Norwegian defenseman Stian Solberg? Many draft evaluators see him as a guy who could get picked in the late teens, and the Flyers do like him.

There’s a lot of things that can happen in the next few hours. And Briere is trying to make impactful moves for the Flyers today and tomorrow since they don’t expect to be active in free agency.

Now, if he can just find a partner…