The Flyers lost to the Rangers, 3-0, on Sunday, playing as if they had drunk all the NyQuil in the world before the game, and if such a performance wasn’t to be excused, it was to be expected. Any chance that they might qualify for the playoffs had vanished, officially and finally, the day before with a loss in Raleigh to the Hurricanes. They were lifeless, and so was the Wells Fargo Center. Swaths of the arena’s lower bowl were pure maroon, the color of the vacant seats. There were plenty of boos, but even they seemed to be offered with lethargy, at least until the end.

In seasons past, this sort of scene would have ignited an eventful offseason for the Flyers. There would be trades and signings and changes galore, because Ed Snider would have demanded them. In turn, the team’s fans became conditioned, over time, to anticipate such creative upheaval, and they came to look forward to it, even revel in it. Ron Hextall’s four-year tenure as general manager served as a hiatus from this tradition. But Dave Scott – the chairman of the Flyers’ parent company, Comcast Spectacor – made clear his strategic predilections earlier this season, when, after tiring of Hextall’s patient approach and his recalcitrance in deviating from it, he fired Hextall.

The Flyers’ failure to reach the postseason, their inability to collect the gate revenue that home playoff games generate, and the relative indifference within the Philadelphia market to the franchise are likely to inspire Scott, team president Paul Holmgren, and GM Chuck Fletcher to go buck wild Snider-era style this summer. What those changes might be and the effect they might have, of course, is anyone’s guess at this point, but it’s fair to say that both the organization’s power people and its fan base are hungry for something different. With Claude Giroux and Jake Voracek as, generally speaking, their primary leaders and top scorers over the last seven years, the Flyers have made the playoffs just three times – and never in consecutive seasons.

“I don’t know,” Voracek said. “Somewhere I think it said the core had to get traded. So, maybe the core? Maybe we’ve got to get traded – me, G? I don’t know. You figure it out.”

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Even if the Flyers were inclined to trade Giroux and/or Voracek, the lengths and expense of their contracts make moving them difficult, if not impossible. Giroux is 31 and has three years, with an average annual value of $8.275 million, left on his contract, according to the database CapFriendly.com. Voracek is 29 and has five years, with an AAV of $8.25 million, left on his. Any prospective upgrades the Flyers might want to pursue, then, will involve cutting into the salary-cap space they have for 2019-20 and/or trading one or more of the organization’s young and still-blossoming players. And that’s where things get complicated.

The Flyers have always been willing to do something fast to fix themselves, and Scott, Holmgren, and Fletcher appeared poised to follow that history. But what’s fast is not always what’s best, and with the exception of Carter Hart’s ascension into the team’s No. 1 goaltender, nothing has changed about Hextall’s core philosophical principle: that the Flyers needed to collect more young talent throughout their organization and give that talent time to ripen.

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It’s easy to point out that the Flyers could have used more production from their less-experienced players, that Nolan Patrick has just one goal in his last 20 games, that Oskar Lindblom has just two in his last 16, that Shayne Gostisbehere and Ivan Provorov regressed. It’s much harder to remember that Patrick is 20, Lindblom is 22, Gostisbehere is 25, and Provorov is 22. That the players they are now might not be the players they become in another year or two or three. That giving up on young players too soon had long been a cardinal sin of the Flyers.

“You’ve got to find that groove, that consistency,” Gostisbehere said. “For us, it’s just getting back to basics. We obviously fell flat on our face out of the gate this season, and that really bit us in the butt. I think we’ve got a good group of guys here, a good young core. I think we can do some damage. We’ve just got to figure it out. …

“I don’t think we’re too far off as a team. Once we get everything settled, I think we’ll be good.”

Gostisbehere’s view of the future might be a bit too rosy, and this isn’t to suggest that every player in the organization who hasn’t yet turned 26 ought to be an untouchable. A splashy offseason isn’t the only way to improve a team’s roster and culture, though, and it’s foolish to overlook the risks intrinsic to it. No one in the Flyers’ front office and none of the few thousand loyalists who stayed until the final horn of Sunday’s game want to hear that, of course. None of them wants the Flyers to be careful anymore. But when it comes to building a team that can win a Stanley Cup, want’s got nothing to do with it.