Stay or go? Evaluating the Flyers restricted free agents

The Flyers made their first move of the free agency period this week by re-signing RFA Nicholas Aube-Kubel to a new deal. The team now head into the offseason with around $8M in cap space, without looking at the contracts from the unrestricted pool of free agents they have to consider. There are several restricted free agents they will have to address first, with the deadline to re-sign them being October 9th. Who should stay and who should go?

Philippe Myers

It didn’t take long for the 23-year-old to become a favorite here at PSN (as echoed by our merch). Myers enjoyed a stellar first-full campaign in the NHL paired with Travis Sanheim, rallying to 16 points through 50 games.

A lot of people will have recency bias here and think of a struggle against the Islanders, but look back a little further and you’ll remember the OT goal against that very team, making him only the second rookie defenseman in franchise history to score an OT playoff goal.

Against the Bruins in the Round-robin, he led the team in ice-time, and fired in a goal before helping to create another. The 23-year-old then went on to score a gorgeous goal in the series against the Canadiens.

Myers may not be the most consistent D-man on the ice, but he’s proven more than enough to the Flyers to earn a new mid-term deal.

Verdict: Stay

Robert Hagg

Hagg has become a polarizing player, but he shouldn’t be. He spent most of the year on the bottom pairing but was arguably one of the biggest tone-setters on the team. Hagg packed a punch in 2019. You could always count on him to up the intensity if the team started to sit back a little.

Hagg netted more points than Gostisbehere (13 in comparison to 12), who carries a $4.5M hit. Comparing the two is key, but contextual. The 27-year-old battled injury last year, but still appeared in 42 games. Hagg packed a similar punch across 49, but without the hefty price tag and injury concern.

It’s likely the Flyers would look to move on from Ghost and use some of those funds to pay for a new deal for their Sweedish blueliner and potentially some more cheap and cheerful free agents.

Verdict: Stay

Nolan Patrick

And here’s the wildcard. There are a lot of contrasting views on Nolan Patrick, even within our own team of writers! But what this all comes down to is value. Patrick was a #2 overall pick and that must not be forgotten.

It’s easy to view his migraine condition and be skeptical of how it will impact his hockey career, but if any team knows that risk and has a full understanding of the level of support Patrick needs, it’s the team that drafted him and have never once turned their backs on him. It also helps that GM Chuck Fletcher seemed intent on bringing him back last week when talking with the media.

“Hopefully he’ll be able to come back and play hockey for us. He’s a real important part. I think as we saw in the playoffs, the ability to have three quality centermen that can play 200-feet and produce offensively is incredibly important. He’s a big part of that future for us.”

Patrick’s form on the ice has hardly been consistent, but has flashed levels of truly great play. The problem now becomes with players like Nico Hischier securing a big bag, does that inflate or deflate Patrick’s payday?

Any 21-year-old who is a former top-5 draft pick with the kind of play exhibited through the 145 games he’s already seen at the NHL level should be kept around. With 61 points (26 goals & 35 assists) in that span, Patrick has now missed 17 months worth of action.

This is a really tricky decision. In theory, I’d like to think both parties work out a mutually beneficial deal that ensures Patrick who is still only 21-years-old, is able to stay in a familiar environment surrounded by supportive teammates and coaches who understand his condition and can help him work back to regular play.

The knock-on effect of this is one of ‘who takes the fall?’ but we’ll discuss that in our Flyers unrestricted free agent segment.

Verdict: Stay

Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire

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