Flyers not quite out of cap purgatory just yet with big decisions looming

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When Paul Holmgren was GM, the Flyers were known for giving big contracts to players just to get them in a Flyers uniform. He also had a history of giving huge contracts to players that didn’t necessarily warrant them. During his time as GM, Holmgren gave out some big contracts that the Flyers are still trying to rid themselves of today. Contracts like Vinny Lecavalier 5 years $22.5M, Ilya Bryzgalov 9 years $41M, Andrew MacDonald 6 years $30M. However, only one of them hurt the Flyers on the cap side. Lecavalier and Bryzgalov contracts do not go against the cap. But, since the Flyers had a part in their buyouts, they will be paying them for a while.

MacDonald’s contract is still on the books for another two seasons. An issue that may hurt the Flyers chances of resigning a young piece back next offseason. (2019 Free Agency)

But, one thing is for sure, during Holmgren’s time as GM, the Flyers were one of the leagues top cap hit teams. Each season, the Flyers would have to get creative to stay under the cap.

However, when the Flyers knew they had to change their ways and saw an opportunity to bring back an old face. That old face was Flyers legendary goal-tender, Ron Hextall. Hextall was the assistant GM in LA at the time. But, from how it worked out, the Flyers seemed to have promised him quicker route to the GM job than LA.

Now, in his 4th season as the Flyers GM, Hextall has taken this team from cap locked to somewhat cap freedom. However, he still has some issues to handle with not a lot of time left.

With the Flyers having some many young players, most of them are still playing on their cap-friendly entry-level contracts. However, they will run out at some point and that time is starting to come up quickly.

Over the next 2 offseasons, the Flyers have to re-sign the following young guys to new contracts.
Robert Hagg,
Sam Morin,
Taylor Leier,
Anthony Stolarz,
Ivan Provorov,
Travis Konecny,
Scott Laughton,
Travis Sanheim.

They aren’t the only players that have to be re-signed. Also during the next 2 offseasons, the Flyers have to re-sign some veteran guys too. Wayne Simmonds, Jordan Weal, Michael Raffl, and possibly Petr Mrazek.

With 12 guys needing to be re-signed over the next two seasons, do the Flyers have room for all of them? Or will they have to make some hard decisions and let some players go?

Lets take a look at the cap space the Flyers have and what contracts we can expect these Flyers to ask for.

The Flyers cap space for next season, if the cap goes to $77M, is around $18.3M. That may seem like a lot. However, the Flyers cant use it all because of the next years class.

This coming off-season, the Flyers have to give a bridge-type deal to Robert Hagg, possibly resign Petr Mrazek, and start to talk to next years free agents.

But, why the issue? Well, it is the class of 2019 that will cause the Flyers headaches. They will have to make some tough decisions on who to bring back and who to get rid of.

Lets play the salary cap GM game and see what I mean.

2018 class – Hagg 3 years $10M ($3.33M cap hit), Mrazek 2 years $8M ($4M cap hit), Veteran 6/7 defenseman ($.950M cap hit), 4th Line Center / Depth Forward ($1M cap hit) , 2 Rookies ($1.5M combined)

2018 Cap Space – Roughly $3M

So, with those contracts and rookies, the Flyers could look like this…

Giroux – Couturier – Konecny

Voracek – Patrick – Simmonds

Lindblom – Laughton – Weal

Raffl – XXXX – Weise/Lehtera

 

Provorov – Gostisbehere

Hagg – MacDonald

Sanheim – Gudas

Morin

 

Mrazek / Elliott

Not a bad team at all. And, I know everybody wants to buyout Lehtera and MacDonald. However, with so many players to resign next season, the cap penalty’s for a one year buyout is not worth it.

In 2019, the NHL cap is supposed to be right around $80M. Which would give the Flyers around $28M in cap space with a ton of guys needing new contracts.

2019 Class – Provorov 6 years $33M ($5.5M cap hit), Konecny 4 years $18M ($4.5M cap hit), Laughton 2 years $5M ($2.5M cap hit), Weal 2 years $5M ($2.5 cap hit), Simmonds 3 years $15M ($5M cap hit), Sanheim 2 years $5M ($2.5M cap hit)

2019 Cap Space – Roughly $5M, but a lot of holes

Giroux – Couturier – Konecny

Lindblom – Patrick – Voracek

Weal – Laughton – Simmonds

XXXX – XXXX – Weise

 

Provorov – Gostisbehere

Hagg – MacDonald

Sanheim – Gudas

Morin

 

Mrazek / Hart

Therefore, with holes on your 4th line, GM Ron Hextall has to get creative. He will have some very young pieces knocking on the door. However, like we have seen over the last 2 years, he will only put them in there if they are ready.

The Flyers aren’t quite out of purgatory just yet. But, the following year, 2020 free agency, the Flyers will gain another $14.6M to resign the likes of Nolan Patrick, Oskar Lindblom, and possibly bring back Petr Mrazek & Radko Gudas.

It is crazy how quickly GM Ron Hextall has flipped this team from a cap hurting team to a team with more cap space than can handle. Which, in the end, will open up for Hextall to add pieces to the mix instead of subtract.

Just an amazing job by Ron Hextall over a 6-year period.

 

Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

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