Philadelphia Flyers 2023 Offseason: Contracts

Philadelphia Flyers left wing Noah Cates (49) celebrates with Philadelphia Flyers center Morgan Frost (48) after his first period goal against the Winnipeg Jets at Canada Life Centre.
James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports

Another season has come and gone and the cycle continues for the Philadelphia Flyers. Eliminated from the playoffs, hiring a new GM, missing out on a top lottery pick, as they sit stuck in the middle of the league’s non-playoff teams.

In this annual four-part series looking at the Flyers upcoming offseason, we start with expiring contracts, then move to the upcoming NHL Draft, available free agents, and finally line combinations as a new season is upon us in the fall.

The Flyers will have some help with some expiring contracts, the main ones being unrestricted free agents James van Riemsdyk ($7 million AAV), Brendan Lemieux ($1.35 million AAV), and Justin Braun ($1 million AAV).

These are all easy options. Braun has already announced his retirement, van Riemsdyk is likely to sign elsewhere after the team surprisingly did not trade him at the deadline, and Lemieux is also unlikely to remain in Philadelphia.

The restricted free agents include Kieffer BellowsMorgan FrostNoah Cates, and Cam York.

Bellows may be the only player the Flyers do not keep around. His ice time has been almost non-existent, only appearing in 27 games with the Flyers and averaging 9:47 of ice time. He scored three goals in his time with the Flyers last season.

Meanwhile, Frost, Cates, and York are all expected to receive extensions. The question is how much are they worth?

In what is really his second full season with the Flyers, the 23 year-old from Aurora, Ontario had a breakout season. Frost scored a career high 19 goals, 27 assists, and 46 points in 81 games played. This is certainly a great sign to come for him as fans were starting to wonder if he would ever reach the potential being a former first-round pick. This will be a crucial step in Frost’s career, and although there have been bumps along the way, he certainly appears to be heading in the right direction.

Prediction: 2 years, $1.6 mil AAV

The 2022-23 season was a complete 82-game rookie season for Cates, who proved that he has earned a roster spot for quite some time. Although he was finished with just a plus-3 rating, he scored 13 goals and 25 assists.

Drawing comparisons to another Flyers center, Sean Couturier, he actually outscored Couturier’s rookie season – 13 goals, 14 assist, 27 points – and even had some national attention with his name in consideration for the Calder Trophy as the NHL top rookie, as well as the Selke Trophy, awarded to the league’s best defensive forward. It’s a no-brainer to lock up the 24-year-old.

Prediction: 3 years, $1.85 mil AAV.

It was a rather strange season for York. The American-born defenseman started the season in the AHL with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, but eventually appeared in 54 games with the Flyers.

York showed signs of improvement in his sophomore season, getting more ice time – an average of 19:39 – and notching 20 points. He also vastly improved in plus-minus, going from a minus-14 in his rookie season to a minus-1 last season.

Similar to Frost, York needs to continue to prove himself, especially if he is going to be an integral part of this franchise’s defensive core. For now, he is going to be a key part of the rebuild about to take place.

Prediction: 3 years, $2.3 mil AAV

Up next in this four-part series, we take a look at the 2023 NHL Draft and analyze some options for the Flyers to select with the seventh overall pick.