After reaching the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, the Philadelphia Flyers have many decisions to make regarding their impending roster. Many of the players leased by Chuck Fletcher in 2019-2020 will see their way out. The burning questions lie in tune with what players will receive a contract extension. Sitting in the chair of the general manager invites a lot of responsibility for how the team performs next season. The NHL is a business, which means fan favorites could have one foot out the door.
The financial breakdown of the Philadelphia Flyers finds $49.4mil spent on forwards, $21.85mil paying the defense, $730.83k offered to goaltending, and $700k strapped to the injured reserve. All of these figures exclude players that are unrestricted free-agents and restricted free-agents. At the moment, the Flyers have $6.235mil in cap space available. As the 2020 NHL Draft approaches, that figure could dip if Philadelphia makes a trade for Patrik Laine. If Chuck Fletcher is specifically keen on just creating more cap space, he may trade a player for a mid-round pick or future considerations.
Throughout the summer, the Philadelphia Flyers have secured a few new contract extensions. First, Mark Friedman received a two-year extension worth $725k per season. Next, Oskar Lindblom earned a three-year extension worth $3mil per season. Then, Nicolas Aube-Kubel signed a two-year extension worth $1.075 per season. Alex Lyon was extended for a season at $700k. Just today, Robert Hagg got a two-year extension worth $1.6mil a season.
With those five extensions, Chuck Fletcher admittedly did a fine job of not overpaying for talent. That’s been the Achilles heel for the Philadelphia Flyers with players such as James van Riemsdyk and Shayne Gostisbehere. Hindsight is always twenty-twenty, however. Moving forward, how could the 2020 free agency shape out?
Nate Thompson; C; 35yrs
Nate Thompson was a trade-deadline acquisition because of his playoff experience. Unfortunately, he could not hang with teams like the New York Islanders. While Thompson did play vital minutes on the penalty kill, I cannot find a way that he fits with the Philadelphia Flyers in 2020-2021. It’s time to give Morgan Frost his run, and that means Thompson could test free agency. The Philadelphia Flyers remaining cap available still stands at $6.235mil.
Derek Grant; C, RW; 30yrs
Derek Grant was the other trade-deadline acquisition from Chuck Fletcher. At first, Grant had potential. By the time the NHL suspended regular season play, I assumed he could receive an extension with the Philadelphia Flyers. His postseason performance changed that and solidified his role as a leased, deadline acquisition. The Flyers remaining cap space is still $6.235mil.
Tyler Pitlick; RW; 28yrs
Tyler Pitlick was the best player on the ice for the Philadelphia Flyers at some points in the postseason. During when the Flyers seemed to be skating with their feet stuck in concrete, Pitlick was a stark contrast. He only received $1mil from Philadelphia as he was in the final season of his previous contract with the Dallas Stars. At 28-years-old, he still is young enough to be a valuable asset as a bottom-six right wing. If he receives an extension, I would expect two-years in length and earning less than $1.3mil a season (cap space estimated $5.035mil).
Nolan Patrick; C, RW; 22yrs
Nolan Patrick has been a hot topic because of the uncertainty that he can continue playing hockey. I’ve been on record saying that I don’t think it’s smart for the Philadelphia Flyers to extend Patrick because of the salary cap. The strange case regarding Patrick is that he has not accrued the necessary amount of professional seasons required for a Group Two Restricted Free-Agent status. That makes him ineligible for an offer sheet with any other club. Patrick is only eligible to negotiate and sign a contract with the Flyers.
He is effectively known as a 10.2(c) player, according to the NHL’s collective bargaining agreement. Nolan Patrick is also ineligible for arbitration. He’s still on the clock with the Philadelphia Flyers this offseason. If Patrick doesn’t receive an offer from the Flyers, he’ll become an unrestricted free agent. If Patrick signs after the start of the 2020-2021 season, he could already become more expensive than his original $925k cap hit shows.
More and more, it seems like Nolan Patrick will not play another game in a Philadelphia Flyers sweater. The estimated cap space stays at $5.035mil.
Justin Braun; RD; 33yrs
Justin Braun proved to be an expensive lease from Chuck Fletcher in 2019-2020. That is not to say that Braun wasn’t any good, because he was in the regular season. In the postseason, the Philadelphia Flyers saw his foundation begin to collapse. After the news of Robert Hagg signing his extension, it would be criminal if the Flyers locked up more money with Braun. The estimated cap stays at $5.035mil.
Philippe Myers; RD; 23yrs
Philippe Myers should have his contract extended by the Philadelphia Flyers. Likely, Shayne Gostisbehere is officially on the Flyers trade block. If Chuck Fletcher can pull that off, he frees a lot of cap space. Myers should receive a three-year extension at about $1mil a season (estimated cap at $4.035mil). That would be a steal to keep Myers in Philadelphia.
Brian Elliott; G; 35yrs
Brian Elliott has earned another season with the Philadelphia Flyers to relieve Carter Hart. At $2mil a season, his ask seems like a bargain for the quality as a backup. There are other options available to rotate for Hart. If Elliott is willing to sign for $2mil, he’ll likely sign a one-year extension with the Flyers (estimated cap at $2.035mil). Keep in mind that Chuck Fletcher already signed Alex Lyon to a one-year extension worth $700k.
Other cheaper options available would be the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Tristan Jarry, the New Jersey Devils’ Mackenzie Blackwood, and the Buffalo Sabres’ Linus Ullmark. All of those players are considered restricted free-agents, so Brian Elliott is the best option readily available.
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