Free agent target: Philadelphia Flyers
Free agency is now less than a month away and many teams are already anticipating its opening. Several top players are expected to hit the open market in mid-July, while many teams also have key restricted free agents to re-sign. Next up is a look at the Flyers.
Key Restricted Free Agents
F Morgan Frost – Frost, 23, has placed high expectations on him since being drafted 27th overall in the 2017 draft. Frost has been a prolific scorer at the junior level, scoring more than 100 points in his last two seasons with the OHL Soo Greyhounds. In Frost’s first professional season, he showed that scoring talent as well, scoring 13 goals and 29 points in 41 games. Frost also appeared in 20 NHL games and had a respectable seven points, although he struggled with the pace and physicality of the NHL game at times. A dislocated shoulder cost Frost nearly the entire 2020-21 season, and last season wasn’t the clear stage of development that many were hoping for. Sure, he scored well at the AHL level, with 19 points in 24 games, but he shuttled between the NHL and AHL level several times before settling down and appearing in a total of 55 games for the Flyers. He finished with 16 points in 55 games at the NHL level, including four in his last five games, and occasionally showed the offensive edge that made him such a tantalizing prospect in the first place. His two-way play is still a work in progress, however, and it remains to be seen if Frost can really stick to the mid to long term at the NHL level. His overall advantage is still very mysterious and therefore his next contract is complicated. If the Flyers continue to believe in his upside, he could still sign a long-term contract, but that seems highly unlikely, especially since he wasn’t a draft pick for general manager Chuck Fletcher. A one- or two-year bridging contract seems the most likely.
F Owen Tippet “Tippett, in some ways, is a lot like Frost. He’s also a first-rounder in 2017 who has yet to establish himself as a full-time NHL player, but he’s also shown the potential that led to him being drafted so high in the first place. Tippett came to Philadelphia as part of the Claude Giroux trade, and in his streak as a Flyer (often playing on a line with Frost), Tippett had the top-down game one would expect of a highly skilled but also flawed young player. Tippett finished with seven points in 21 games and also had 18 points in 14 games at the AHL level, a clearer reminder of the offensive talent he possesses. Like Frost, a short-term bridge makes the most sense for Tippett, who is expected to cap around $1 million, if not less.
F Zack McEwen – MacEwen was taken off waivers by the Vancouver Canucks at the start of the 2021-22 season and was one of seven Flyers to reach the 75-game mark. MacEwen, 25, is a badass whose NHL minutes come thanks to his physique and relentless drive. MacEwen isn’t exactly an offensive producer — he had just nine points in 75 games in 2021-22 and 18 points in 130 career NHL games — but he plays a role that many coaches still want in their alignment and does it at a cheap price. MacEwen has played to a cap of $825,000 this year and since he is an arbitration-eligible restricted free agent, expect a small increase in that number to reward his hard work and availability.
Unrestricted Key Free Agents
F Nate Thompson — It’s clear what Nate Thompson can bring to the NHL level for many years now. The 37-year-old center has been a staple in the last six for nine NHL teams since his debut in 2006-07. Thompson plays about 10-12 minutes a night, assists a second shorthanded unit, and wins more than half of his ties. Thompson may not have a ton of gas left in his tank as he rolls into his late thirties, but if he still wants to play, it’s easy to imagine him finding another suitor for the well-defined set of skills he brings. He clearly has an affinity for Philadelphia as well, as he signed up to return to the organization as a free agent after a year in Winnipeg, having first joined the Flyers on a trade. in 2020 with the Montreal Canadiens. It remains to be seen whether the team’s expected next head coach, John Tortorella, will want Fletcher to retain his services, but if he does, then Thompson could likely be had for around the $800,000 cap he is. played last season.
D Keith Yandle – Yandle has been the subject of some controversy this season, as the Flyers ended an “iron man” streak of consecutive games played since 2009. Yandle is a much-loved locker room voice and a well-respected veteran , although his game on the ice has slipped considerably. After being bought out of his massive seven-year, $44.45 million contract, Yandle signed a one-year, $900,000 deal with the Flyers. He provided his trademark offense, albeit to a lesser degree, scoring 19 points in 77 games. He also showed the defensive shortcomings that plagued his game for years, shortcomings that became even more pronounced with age. Although Yandle is a player deserving of the utmost respect for the career he’s had so far, it’s hard to imagine a return to Philadelphia being in the cards for him. But given everything he’s done so far, he should probably be able to break into this summer with a chance to make a squad at a fall training camp. next.
g Martin Jones — Like Yandle, Jones joined the Flyers after an offseason buyout forced an exit from his previous team. Unlike Yandle, however, Jones’ 2022 season has been quiet. He played 35 games and posted a .900 save percentage, a performance that is nothing short of extraordinary. This production, however, is made more palatable by the fact that he was playing behind one of the worst teams in the NHL. The Flyers were a mess last season, and Martin Jones was way down on their biggest problem list. Jones is a veteran of nearly 400 NHL games and has shown brilliance in the past, such as when he led the San Jose Sharks in a run to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2015-16 . He’s a backup goaltender who has in the past demonstrated his ability to handle rookie-level workloads, so another contract worth around $2 million he won this year, if not a bit lower. , seems right.
Projected ceiling space
The Flyers are entering an offseason where getting the team back on track after two hugely disappointing years is a number one priority. They have just over $5 million in cap space at the moment and their pending restricted free agents take up a small portion of that. The real “X-factor” for the Flyers this offseason, cap-wise, comes from whatever they choose to do with some of their well-paid veterans. Defenders Ivan Provorov and Travis Sanheim, making $6.75m and $4.675m respectively from the cap, have each been the subject of trade rumours, as has winger James Van Riemsdyk, who is entering the final year of his $7m deal. dollars-AAV. If the Flyers want space to aggressively improve their roster next month, they’ll likely have to move one of their key contracts.
Photos courtesy of USA Today Sports Images. Contract information courtesy of CapFriendly.