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GM Briere: Gauthier told us he 'didn't want to be a Flyer'

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Philadelphia Flyers general manager Danny Briere said Monday's shocking trade that sent Cutter Gauthier to the Anaheim Ducks "was a long time coming," adding that he's known since May that the 2022 fifth overall pick didn't want to play in the City of Brotherly Love.

"The reason why we didn't want to say anything was not to hide anything from our great fans," Briere explained during the first intermission of Monday's clash against the Pittsburgh Penguins. "It was to try to protect the kid. We were hoping that at some point he would change his mind. He had already changed his mind. He looked at us at the draft and told us he was built to be a Flyer, wanted to be a Flyer, and maybe a few months later told us that he didn't want to be a Flyer, he didn't want to play for the Flyers.

"In our mind at first, we said, 'We have to protect him,' because if he changes his mind again and it's out there that he doesn't want to play, it's going to be tough for him to put the uniform on. When we realized that he refused to talk to us now - it's been months - and he didn't want to be a Flyer, he didn't want to be in Philadelphia, it was time to make it happen."

When asked why Gauthier didn't want to be a Flyer, Briere said the organization "never got an answer." The executive went to Sweden for the world juniors in December in an attempt to reach Gauthier and his camp, but to no avail.

"We tried, they would not engage. ... We just wanted to be able to present our case and tell them what we were doing here and where this organization is going," he said. "Unfortunately, we never got the chance."

Gauthier led Team USA with 12 points in seven games at the world juniors en route to winning a gold medal. Due to his dominant performance, Briere felt as though now would be the "best time" to orchestrate a trade.

The Flyers acquired defenseman Jamie Drysdale and a 2025 second-round pick for Gauthier's signing rights. Drysdale's young career has been hampered by injuries, but he was the sixth overall pick in the 2020 NHL Draft and boasts plenty of potential.

"We were (blown away) when it happened, now at this point it is what it is," Briere said. "We started looking at how we can turn this and make the most of it. ... When Jamie's name came up, this was a pretty special player we felt. A chance to add him, they don't come very often."

Gauthier is currently playing at Boston College, where he has amassed 13 goals and 23 points in 17 games.

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