By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor
For most of the offseason, Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher has executed as expected. He’s given out new contracts to pending free agents, locking down a veteran backup goalie and committing part of the team’s future to some of the team’s growing talent.
But Fletcher was always operating with the possibility that one of his defensemen under contract was not going to return. On Monday, reports circulated that Matt Niskanen was announcing his retirement. The defenseman confirmed in a statement through Flyers PR and Fletcher offered his thoughts on a conference call.
“Thank you to the Flyers organization for the opportunity to play in Philly last season. I’d also like to thank the fans for their support and lastly, I wish my teammates the best of luck,” Niskanen said.
“I just want to start off by thanking Matt Niskanen for his contributions to our team this season. As an organization and team, we made great strides this year, not only in terms of our record, but in terms of how we played the game, in terms of our culture, our commitment to playing the right way, our commitment to the details necessary to play the game well,” Fletcher said. “Obviously our coaching staff deserves a lot of credit for that and our players deserve a lot of credit for that. I do want to single out Matt Niskanen, who in my opinion at least did as much as anybody to change the mindset of our team. He’s the consummate professional and teammate.”