Another season has come and gone for the Philadelphia Flyers and they displayed another humiliating season. The offseason is officially here for the Flyers, so it’s time review some of the decisions at hand for the team. In this four-part series, we'll review contracts, the NHL Draft, free agency, and line combinations.
There were very few bright spots during this all-around brutal year for the Orange and Black; dealing with injuries, two losing streaks of 10 games or more, and more. Some depth pieces were brought in to help boost the team, from Martin Jones in net, to Keith Yandle on the blue line, or Derick Brassard as a top-nine center.
Below are the pending unrestricted free agents and restricted free agents RFA’s and other contracts Philadelphia should consider moving, or look to re-sign and determine a realistic contract for each player. According to CapFriendly, the Flyers now unfortunately have $295,000 less to spend now due to Fletcher exceeding the salary cap after accounting for bonuses during the regular season. On top of that, both Sean Couturier's new extension with a $7 million AAV, up from $4.3 million AAV, and Joel Farabee's $25 million extension with a $5 million AAV, up from $925,000, will kick in at the start of the upcoming season.
Keith Yandle - Unfortunately, the “Ironman” Yandle, who is 35 years-old, certainly had played his last game as a Flyer, but most likely has played his last game in the NHL. What was thought to be a steal of a contract, turned out to be a nightmare as Yandle had one of his worst seasons in his career. Best of luck to him and cheers to an incredible run.
Analysis: Yandle retires
Martin Jones - Out of all the goalies GM Chuck Fletcher considered, by the time free agency ended he had decided to sign Jones. He had a 12-18-3 record, 3.42 GAA, and .900 SV% in 35 games played, while starting 33. Fletcher reportedly could have gotten a fifth-round pick for him from the Edmonton Oilers, but with how “thin” he thought the Flyers were in net already along with a possible Lehigh Valley Phantoms playoff run, he didn’t want to risk it. Ideally, there should be better backup goaltenders available this offseason, but overall Philadelphia has options for younger players between the pipes to backup Carter Hart.
Analysis: Jones hits free agency
Nate Thompson - Thompson was reunited with the Flyers during the offseason, but was dealt a bad hand like many with injuries that ended up costing him his season. He isn’t a terrible option, and at a cheap price ($800,000) he would be a decent depth piece to reconsider bringing back with injuries bound to happen throughout a season. Considering that Fletcher was the GM who traded for him during the 2019-20 season, and re-signed him last offseason, it’s safe to say that he will at least be on the radar as long as Fletcher is still the GM in South Philly.
Analysis: Thompson re-signs for one year
Nick Seeler - An interesting option on the blue line, as Seeler wasn’t the worst option to go to. He provided a lot of spark and energy when his team needed it. Overall, another cheap option but at this point he would be a seventh defenseman at absolute best as there are other defensemen who the Flyers should consider starting over the 28-year-old.
Analysis: Seeler hits free agency
Kevin Connauton - Minnesota Wild galore as we get to another former Fletcher player in Connauton. Although he was brought in on a cheap contract, he was more so here for depth purposes, especially when the injuries started to occur.
Analysis: Connauton hits free agency
Owen Tippett - The biggest RFA to consider signing his rights is clearly Tippett. He showed plenty of signs of what he can hope to provide for the Flyers in the near future. For obvious reasons Fletcher will want to keep Tippett around, as he was part of the unique return in the Claude Giroux trade. Yes, Tippett has to prove he’s able to play in the NHL, but if he can provide more of what he had to show during his 21 games with the Flyers, he will earn every bit of what he should get with his next contract.
Analysis: Tippett re-signs for three years
Morgan Frost - Similar to Tippett, Frost still has to show he has the necessary skillset to stay with the Flyers, however, with the ability to play in a majority of the season, he put up decent stats especially considering what kind of year Philadelphia had. He scored five goals and 11 assists in 55 games.
Analysis: Frost re-signs 2 years
Zack MacEwan - Acquired off of waivers from the Vancouver Canucks, MacEwan instantly became a fan favorite with his hard hitting, fighting, and extreme energy. All NHL teams need to have a player like him in the lineup to spark the team when needed.
Analysis: MacEwan re-signs for two years
James van Riemsdyk - You knew this one was coming, but the Flyers need to find any way necessary to clear JVR’s $7 million contract. Although, he has one season remaining, Fletcher and company need to get rid of it to clear cap, especially if there are intentions to bring in a big-name free agent.
Analysis: Flyers trade van Riemsdyk (with 30 percent salary retained) to the Seattle Kraken for a 2022 3rd-round pick, and a 2023 4th-round pick.
Look out for second article in this four part series based on the 2022 Flyers offseason. Up next will be the NHL Draft, starting with the Draft Lottery on May 10th.