As the offseason progresses, the Flyers have mainly checked off all the tasks on their to-do list. They re-signed two unrestricted free agents before the signing period opened last Friday and they had signed three of their five restricted free agents to new contracts well in advance. Only two remained entering the weekend, but you can take another off the list.
Flyers forward Nolan Patrick has accepted the team’s qualifying offer, returning on a one-year, $874,125 deal. That leaves only Phil Myers as the lone remaining RFA to sign.
Patrick, 22, missed all of last season with migraine syndrome and has had bouts with concussions in the past. Patrick has played in 145 career games, scoring 26 goals and 61 points. The former second overall pick had 13 goals in each of his first two seasons, and posted near identical 30 and 31-point seasons.
Patrick’s deal is not surprising given his uncertain health and his need to get back on the ice to have a significant impact on the team’s future. GM Chuck Fletcher had addressed Patrick earlier in the day on Friday.
“Jim McCrossin keeps in constant communication with him and I speak to him probably every two to three weeks just to see how he’s doing,” Fletcher said. “Certainly no negative news or anything like that. We’ve spoken with the agents for both Phil and Nolan. Hopefully in the near future we’ll have something done.”
With a new contract for Myers still on the list, there isn’t much left on the Flyers offseason agenda beyond that. While they would like to find some replacement to Matt Niskanen, there hasn’t been a lot of flexibility to go about making moves with the flat cap.
“It’s going to be very difficult to replace Matt Niskanen,” Fletcher said. “There wasn’t a defenseman, in our opinion, in the marketplace that was anywhere near as complete the player as Niskanen with the obvious exception of Pietrangelo. Whoever we were going to bring in was not going to fill the same role or have the same stylistic fit that Matt did.
“This is certainly a different offseason than I’ve ever seen. There’s a high number of high-salaried players available, which probably hasn’t happened to this extent before. We’re entering a fascinating time, the flat cap era. As crazy as it is right now out there, I think next summer could even be worse, in terms of having some paralysis in the market and just having too many teams having to move money. It’s going to be interesting to see how things get resolved here over the next little while for certain teams.
“I think we’ve been extremely cognizant of the flat cap in all the decisions we’ve made. We have some young players that we certainly want to re-sign over the next two off-seasons. I think everything we’ve done has certainly been with trying to improve our team in the present, but also with an eye towards the future.”
So for now, the Flyers continue to wait and see if the market allows for any big opportunities. Aside from a new deal for Myers, something that certainly sounds like it is in the works, there may not be much more left for them to do this offseason until things get clearer with how next season will actually go.