Will the real Philadelphia Flyers please stand up?! The Flyers shocked the hockey world by protecting Goaltender Anthony Stolarz and Forward Scott Laughton for the upcoming expansion draft that takes place on Wednesday, June 21, 2017. There is no hockey analyst, or fan in the world that thought both of these players would be protected. Some chose Stolarz for good reason, but no one thought Laughton would be protected. Here is the list of protected players for the Flyers:
The 23-year old Stolarz has a lot of upside and appears to be a solid backup for the Flyers right now. With the Flyers deciding to protect Stolarz over veteran netminder Michael Neuvirth, it should really boost Stolarz’s confidence. It seemed like a long shot that the Flyers would protect Stolarz due to his recent knee surgery. However, a lot of speculation has come out that the Vegas Golden Knights are looking to snag young netminders in the expansion draft. The Golden Knights philosophy is to have them grow behind Marc Andre-Fleury, whom they plan on selecting in the expansion draft.
Laughton seemed like a slam dunk exposure in the expansion draft. He is a pending restricted free agent, and it appeared the Flyers fell out of love with him. However, Laughton produced a solid 2016-17 season for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. He registered 19 goals, and 20 assists for a total of 39 points in 60 games played. A lot of speculation has come out that the Flyers may already have a deal in place with the Golden Knights, and Laughton may be part of that deal.
Michael Raffl seems like the most logical player to get taken by the Vegas Knights. He has a lot of upside, and he’s still young at the age of 28. Bellemare is 32 years old, and even though Dale Weise closed out the season well. That won’t be enough to propel him to the Vegas Knights, as he was inconsistent last season.
These next few days are critical for the Flyers with the expansion draft already in full speed, and the upcoming NHL Draft looming on June 23, 2017. There is little rest this week for their top brass, and the fans of course.
According to Jordan Weal’s agent there is a deal in place with the Flyers, they just have to come to terms on the salary.