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The Philadelphia Flyers traded former first-round pick Cutter Gauthier to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for defenseman Jamie Drysdale and a 2025 second-round pick on Monday.

The Flyers selected Gauthier with the No. 5 pick in the 2022 NHL Draft and were hoping he'd be a big part of the team's future following his collegiate career at Boston College. However, Gauthier, who just had 12 points in seven games for the United States in last week's IIHF World Junior Championship, decided he didn't want to play in Philadelphia, so Flyers brass decided to trade away the highly-touted prospect.

Following Monday's shocking deal, Flyers general manager Danny Briere informed reporters the move "was a long time coming." Briere revealed that Gauthier had expressed his excitement to land with the franchise and that he was "built to be a Flyer and wanted to be a Flyer" before flip-flopping on that commitment.

"Maybe a few months later, he told us he didn't want to be a Flyer and didn't want to play for the Flyers," Briere said. "So, in our mind at first, we have to protect him. 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."

Briere stated the organization gave Gauthier an abundance of space and attempted to make contact with him, but never heard anything back.

"At some point, we had to make a decision and we thought with what happened a few days ago, that this was our time to get the highest value," Briere said.

Following the Flyers' 4-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday, Flyers coach John Tortorella expressed his opinions on Gauthier not wanting to play in Philadelphia.

"Then we don't want you," Tortorella said.

Tortorella wasn't done there. 

"I don't know Cutter from a hole in the wall," Tortorella added. "I'm not too interested in talking about him. I rather talk about Jamie. He's the guy who's coming here."

On the other hand, Tortorella is excited about bringing Drysdale into the fold and having him as a foundational defensive piece for the franchise.

"Just talked to Jamie and watched a lot of tape on him, and obviously had discussions. We're really excited about the opportunity," Tortorella said. "A 21-year-old right-handed shot. We're going to put him on the power play right away -- one of them. He's just starting. Kid's head's spinning right now. It's his first time at this, but we're really excited about the opportunity. To get a second-rounder, it's a really good deal for us."

Drysdale, who was selected with the No. 6 pick in the 2020 NHL Draft by the Ducks, was expendable given the emergence of Pavel Mintyukov and Jackson LaCombe when Drysdale was out of the lineup due to injury. The 21-year-old had an impressive sophomore campaign in 2021-22, when he registered 32 points (four goals and 28 assists) in 82 games, but has dealt with injuries that limited him to just 18 games over the past two seasons.

However, Drysdale is finally healthy, and the Flyers are convinced he can be a top-tier defenseman for an organization that has been searching for such a commodity. He'll join a Flyers blue line that includes Travis Sanheim, Rasmus Ristolainen and Cam York, and is in the midst of fighting for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Meanwhile, Gauthier will join a young Ducks forward group down the road that includes Troy Terry, Trevor Zegras, Mason McTavish and 2023 first-round pick Leo Carlsson. Gauthier never signed an entry-level contract with the Flyers, and he currently has 23 points (13 goals goals and 10 assists) in 17 games for Boston College this season.