Should the Flyers be buyers? Sellers? Both? Neither?

You can forgive general manager Chuck Fletcher, especially after Saturday’s critical 3-2 win over Boston, if he has mixed feelings as Monday’s 3 p.m. trade deadline approaches.

Fletcher knows if you can sneak into the playoffs and your goalie gets on a roll — Carter Hart is starting to warm up after a dreadful season — you can surprise teams, particularly with the pressure off because no one expects you to go far.

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On the other hand, the Flyers have been so inconsistent, so bad early in games, is it worth trading a high draft pick to acquire a difference-maker knowing you are still a long shot even to qualify for the postseason?

From here, Fletcher would be better served building for the future — and only dealing a top draft pick if it’s for a player who will be here for several years, and not just a rental.

The Flyers shouldn’t pay an exorbitant price for a short rental period. They are four points behind Boston for a playoff spot and will have just 15 games left after Monday’s trade deadline. If Boston wins its two games in hand — and the Bruins play lowly Buffalo six more times — it would have an eight-point lead.

The Flyers should build for the future and try to acquire someone who isn’t just a Band-Aid for the last month of their underachieving season.

Perfect fit

Ryan Ellis, 30, who is reportedly available, would be a perfect choice if they could pry him away from Nashville. He isn’t big (5-foot-10, 180 pounds), but he makes a difference in all areas. Think Kimmo Timonen.

Ellis hasn’t played since Feb. 28 because of an undisclosed injury that required surgery. He is expected to return at some point this month, but even if he doesn’t, he still has six years remaining on his contract after this year, with an annual salary-cap hit of $6.25 million.

He checks all the boxes: right-handed, plays in all situations, would instantly become the Flyers’ best defender, and would be a very good complement to inconsistent Ivan Provorov on the top pairing. Like the right-handed Matt Niskanen did before he retired after last season, Ellis would stabilize Provorov’s game.

Bruce Boudreau, the former head coach of Washington, Anaheim, and Minnesota who will be analyzing the trade frenzy Monday on the NHL Network, says the Flyers “certainly are an enigma to everybody” with their inconsistent season. “It’s a hit or miss as far as when they look good or don’t look good.”

Personnel wise, the Flyers are very similar to last year, when they were on pace for 106 points if the season went 82 games — they played just 69 because of the pandemic — and won the round-robin tournament to earn the Eastern Conference’s No. 1 seed.

Stunning drop

This year, in an abbreviated 56-game campaign, they are on pace for 90 points if it was an 82-game season.

In one year, they have gone from being No. 7 in the league in goals allowed per game (2.77) to 30th (3.51).

Niskanen, a former Stanley Cup champion, was a good player and very good locker-room influence. But it is stunning that the team has dropped so significantly without him.

“It’s crazy, because when he was with Washington, he was like a No.3 or 4 [defenseman], at the best,” Boudreau said. “I thought it was an OK trade when Philly got him, but I didn’t think he’d be the dominant defender that would put them over the top, but it certainly seems like they miss him this year. Now I don’t know if it’s just his on-ice play, or if he’s a great leader off the ice, or if he’s a great teacher when he’s playing with younger guys. I do know I talked to [Flyers management] last summer and they said they would miss him, and they obviously have. In the end, I guess he was as valuable as they thought he was.”

Boudreau thinks Nashville’s Mattias Ekholm or Ellis would be good replacements for Niskanen down the stretch “if they think they can do damage if they got into the playoffs. If they think the best they can do is just get into the playoffs and not win a round, I wouldn’t sell the farm for that.”

Dallas’ 6-foot-7, 255-pound Jamie Oleksiak is also reportedly available, but he’s left-handed and a pending unrestricted free agent.

Hefty price

Out of the defensemen in that group, only Ellis is signed long-term. That makes him more intriguing, even if it costs an expensive package of, say, a first-round pick, a veteran like Scott Laughton (a pending unrestricted free agent the Flyers could re-sign after the season), a prospect like Morgan Frost, and perhaps another prospect not named Cam York.

“If they can make a trade and it wouldn’t be for just this year, that would be [ideal], so they wouldn’t have to go through the summer trying to find that good right-handed defenseman to replace Niskanen,” Boudreau said.

Boudreau said Ellis, when healthy, “is as important of a defenseman to Nashville as [Roman] Josi is. I’ve talked to lot of people who have been in Nashville’s organization and they swear by him.”

David Savard. a right-hander who is a stay-at-home type, would have been a great fit before being dealt late Saturday afternoon to Detroit and then to Tampa Bay. But he is a potential unrestricted free agent and is not worth losing a high draft pick and/or prospects for a month — unless you have a legitimate chance to win the Cup.

Before Savard went to Tampa Bay, Boudreau noted his physicality could have helped the Orange and Black. Said Boudreau: “That’s the one thing I think the Flyers have really changed their colors in recent years — going from the big, bruising team to more of a skating team, which is a trend in the NHL these days.”

Another trend is having a dependable No. 1 pairing, something that has been missing during a disappointing season.