A highly regarded defensive prospect is now an NHL free-agent. The Philadelphia Flyers originally had the rights to Wyatt Kalynuk, but thirty days have elapsed since he left the University of Wisconsin. That means that the Flyers window to reach an agreement with Kalynuk has ended, and he can sign with any NHL franchise. He’s the worst kept secret if you’re discussing prospects that can immediately boost an NHL defense. More than a few teams should be champing at the bit to sign Kalynuk.
The big money question becomes, “who does Wyatt Kalynuk want to play for?” He has the potential to be an elite offensive defenseman. Kalynuk’s development is on par to make a quick ascension to an NHL roster. As a free agent, Kalynuk could have a clear path and a large role with another NHL franchise to earn a payday. The Philadelphia Flyers still have a chance to sign Kalynuk, but here are some other franchises that make sense:
Right, so let’s get the elephant in the room out of the way first. The Philadelphia Flyers have to battle thirty other NHL teams for Wyatt Kalynuk. When discussing the want for Kalynuk, the Flyers are the obvious answer. They are the franchise that originally drafted Kalynuk after all. Kalynuk and Philadelphia have built a rapport with each other.
Wyatt Kalynuk has attended three previous development camps with the Philadelphia Flyers. It’s undisputed that Kalynuk and the Flyers have the closest relationship based on scouting and developmental evaluation. The idea that Kalynuk could sign with Philadelphia has a lot to do with familiarity. Due to the depth on defense, Kalynuk could have a very tough road to make the Flyers roster. He’s 23-years-old, and it’s understandable if Kalynuk takes a direct route to bypass an AHL tenure.
“There’s no place like home.” That could be how Wyatt Kalynuk feels when he decides to sign with an NHL team. Kalynuk’s birthplace is Virden, Manitoba, Canada. If he wants to play for his home team, the Winnipeg Jets are absolutely an option.
The Winnipeg Jets are an underdog team in the Western Conference. They’re the ninth seed in the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs out of the Western Conference. As an “on the cusp” team, the Jets could be a team propelled into the playoff stratosphere by signing Wyatt Kalynuk. As Winnipeg currently stands, I think they already could be a surprise in the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs with a decent push. In comparison to the Philadelphia Flyers, Kalynuk has a clearer path to make the Jets roster in a shorter amount of time.
Minnesota Wild, Chicago Blackhawks, and Detroit Red Wings
Consider these teams based on the proximity from where Wyatt Kalynuk went to college. At the University of Wisconsin, Kalynuk’s career was surrounded by scouts from Minnesota, Illinois, and Michigan. Two of these teams are playoff teams in 2020. The Minnesota Wild and Chicago Blackhawks made the playoffs because of the extended format. On the other hand, the Detroit Red Wings were the worst team in the league.
If Wyatt Kalynuk wants to streamline himself to an NHL roster and potentially sign a long-term contract, the Detroit Red Wings are his calling card. Of the Minnesota Wild and the Chicago Blackhawks, Kalynuk would likely find himself on an NHL roster with the Blackhawks before he does with the Wild. With a potential addition of Kalynuk, due to his offensive prowess on the defensive side of the puck, he further compliments Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews.
New York Islanders
This would be like twisting a dagger into the back of the Philadelphia Flyers. I’ve already predicted that the New York Islanders would represent the Eastern Conference in the Stanley Cup Finals, defeating the Flyers in the Eastern Conference Finals. In the same vein as the Winnipeg Jets, the Islanders are the underdog team in the east that can carve a deep playoff run in 2020. The addition of Wyatt Kalynuk could push the Islanders back to the playoffs in 2020-2021.
Already equipped with formidable goaltending and a high octane offense, the New York Islanders need to improve on defense. It’s why the attempt to sign Wyatt Kalynuk makes sense. If you are a rookie, there’s a high probability that you are going to want to be on a championship contender. Kalynuk has the unique opportunity to choose where he plays as a rookie. If he signs with the Islanders, the games against the Philadelphia Flyers will spotlight him.
Los Angeles Kings
Lastly, this team makes some sense while they weren’t a contender this season. The Los Angeles Kings aren’t even a playoff team. What makes the Kings a possibility is one man lingering in their front office. Every year, Los Angeles continues the running joke of being the “Flyers West.” Ron Hextall, who’s responsible for drafting Wyatt Kalynuk to the Philadelphia Flyers, is now an advisor in the Kings’ hockey operations department.
In a similar fashion to the Detroit Red Wings, Wyatt Kalynuk’s talent would be a welcome addition to the Los Angeles Kings. Another connection is that Kalynuk’s coach at the University of Wisconsin, Tony Granato, played for the Kings and was teammates with Rob Blake. Who is the current general manager of Los Angeles? Yep, it’s Rob Blake. While the Kings are rebuilding, the defense is a perfect place to start.
Mandatory Photo Credit: AP Photo/Andy Clayton-King via imagn services
Eric is a University of Delaware graduate with a degree in English. While in school, he began writing for different publications such as The Highlight Network, Amps and Greenscreens, and he did color commentary for the University of Delaware Men’s and Women’s lacrosse teams throughout the 2013 season as an alumni. Prior to being featured with Philly Sports Network, he began a pro-wrestling podcast with a childhood friend called the Totally Over Podcast. As an avid sports die-hard for all things Philadelphia, Eric is also a proud supporter of West Virginia University.