July 1st is less than a month away, and the Flyers have some change in their pocket to play with. Given the depth of this free agency class, the Flyers could come out of this offseason having nabbed a few solid players. The cream of the crop is obviously John Tavares and John Carlson, but there is some quality depth to this class beyond just those two.
In the past, Hextall has made a habit out of signing aging vets to plug holes, and it ends up not working out the way he planned. Dale Weise comes to mind, as does Ryan White and Boyd Gordon. Projects that didn’t exactly work out the way many had wished. With the highly-touted prospects coming ever closer to reaching the NHL, this offseason proves crucial, and could end up being a make-or-break one for Hextall and the Flyers.
To avoid falling into the same hole as before when signing these aforementioned players, Hextall should steer clear of a few of these free agents. There are definitely some gems this year, but with those gems come some unattractive options, at least to the fans.
Yes, John Tavares is the prize of this free agency class, but the Flyers have bigger fish to fry than signing him. The bidding war that is sure to ensue could prove to be too costly for Ron Hextall’s taste, and we all know he isn’t one to overpay for a player. Simply put, he’s going to be too expensive for Hextall to even really take a look at him.
Paul Stastny enjoyed a great year for the Winnipeg Jets, helping them reach the conference finals against the Vegas Golden Knights, and defeating the defending Western Conference champion Nashville Predators along the way.
During the regular season, Stastny logged 16 goals, 37 assists, for a total of 53 points. His last contract nabbed him 7 million dollars a season, and it’s hard to imagine him looking for his last big contract for anything less than that. However, 7 million seems like a bit too much for the 32 year old center.
Sure, Stastny would be a great option to center the third line for the Flyers, but not with a 7 million dollar a year cap hit. The Flyers can find a cheaper, possibly more efficient option either in house, or through free agency. Stastny would be a tremendous fit for the Flyers, but it would have to be at a price tag much lower than his last contract guaranteed him.
Coming off the heels of a long awaited Stanley Cup, the Washington Capitals will have their work cut out for them when the offseason commences. They have a potential of 5 forwards, 4 defensemen, and one goaltender to resign, and not much cap to do it. Not to mention, if they are going to be big players for John Carlson, they’re going to need every bit of cap room they can get their hands on.
Therein lies the reason Jay Beagle will hit the market. At 1.75 million dollars per year, he could come as an affordable option. However, having just won the greatest prize in all of sports, Beagle is going to expect a lot more out of his next contract. Being at 32, he will command one more big contract before he knows he won’t be worth it anymore. To many GM’s in the league, he may not even be worth the contract he is expected to sign this offseason.
Hextall should stand pat and not fall victim to the Stanley Cup raise. Beagle’s services may end up being cheaper than those of Paul Stastny, but you’re going to get 22 points a year from a third or fourth line center. Sure, he’s a faceoff wizard, but should Hextall overpay for that? Of course not, and he won’t.
What is there to say about Ian Cole. Yes, he is still an NHL defenseman that can definitely help the club that signs him. However, he won’t help the Flyers. The Flyers run a fast paced game, and Ian Cole isn’t exactly light on his feet. At 219 pounds, Cole is a big guy. At six foot one inch, he’s normal size. He’s at that weird in-between stage where he isn’t big enough to clear the crease like a Chris Pronger type, but isn’t small enough to drive the play up ice, much like a Shayne Gostisbehere.
The Flyers already have that role filled in the form of Robert Hagg. His physicality was evident last season, leading all rookies in hits, and if it weren’t for Hakstol benching him towards the end of the regular season, and the injury he sustained, he may have led all of the NHL in that category.
Basically, the Flyers have an Ian Cole already in the lineup, and there is no need to bring on another one, especially if guys like Travis Sanheim, Philippe Myers, and even Samuel Morin are pro-ready, and next in line for a roster spot.
Beauchemin is kind of a no-brainer. At 37 years of age, his best year are clearly behind him. He amassed 17 points while playing this past season in Anaheim, which just won’t cut it on the Flyers blue line. The Flyers may be thin on the blue line, but we are past the age of signings like Carlo Colaiacavo. The Flyers are building a team from the ground up, and bringing in someone over the age of 35 just doesn’t fit the bill any more.
This one may hurt, but John Carlson just isn’t a great option for the Flyers. When you factor in the fact that one, he’s due for a big pay raise from his nearly 4 million dollar cap hit, and two, Ivan Provorov and Travis Konecny are going to need extensions, Carlson just doesn’t make sense right now.
Of course, Hextall has the money to spend on that much-needed right handed shot from the point, but we all know how prudent the man can be, and it’s just unrealistic to believe that Hextall would shell out the kind of money Carlson would demand after a 68 point season, capped off with a Stanley Cup victory.
There are options out there that won’t break the bank for Hextall. However, steering clear of these six skaters would bode well for the long term cap situation that Hextall has spent years rectifying and finally getting the Flyers into a good spot.
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