It’s been about a month since the Flyers extended a qualifying offer to defenseman Philippe Myers. Since then, it’s been radio silence from both camps. No news has broke on progress between the two camps, leaving fans to speculate on their own. No word of a dollar figure nor term has circulated from any credible source, leaving everyone in the dark on what a new deal could look like.
Myers is due, at the very least, 105% of his previous deal worth $678,889. That equals out to $712,833. The questions now becomes what’s more beneficial to both sides? Is Chuck Fletcher looking to lock him up long term, almost assuring a higher annual average salary? Is Phil Myers looking for a shorter-term deal, giving him a year or so to prove his worth before cashing in? How much does the stagnant salary cap impact these negotiations?
There aren’t many on the market, but there are a few defenseman that you can draw some sort of comparison to Phil Myers. Victor Mete comes to mind. The Montreal defenseman has played more games (171) than Myers (71,) but was coming off of his entry-level contract with the Habs. His new deal is worth a few thousand less than his ELC, and is also a one year contract. While Mete may not have the offensive potential of Myers, he has a longer resumé at the NHL level.
Travis Dermott is another RFA that signed this off-season. Dermott has played a total of 157 games with the Toronto Maple Leafs, 86 more than Myers. Dermott was making $863,333 on the last year of his ELC. His new deal is for one year at $874,125, a one-and-a-quarter percent raise from his prior deal.
Some will use Travis Sanheim’s deal from last season (2 years, $3.25mil per) as a comparable, but circumstances are much different. Entering restricted free agency, Sanheim had played 131 games in the NHL. he had accumulated 45 points and averaged 19:34 per night in his contract year. Compare that to Myers’ 18 points and 16:36 per night, and you have two totally different situations.
Philippe Myers Camp
Myers’ camp is likely looking for a shorter term deal. It’s likely that he ends up with that sort of deal. Given the uncertainty surrounding how long the cap will stay flat and the amount of quality players the Flyers will have to re-sign in the coming years, Myers may not get the big contract he might command from the Flyers when his next deal is up.
That’s not to say that he won’t accept a longer term deal. With more years comes more money, so it would all-but be a no-brainer for Myers to cash in now. It would benefit Myers to sign a short term deal right now, considering he is already a top-four defenseman for the Flyers. With rumblings of him partnering with Provorov after Niskanen’s retirement, his stock only seems to be rising. The time might be now to cash in on that.
The Flyers Camp
If things go Chuck Fletcher’s way, one of two things will happen. Myers will either get a longer term deal worth just south of what the Flyers have left to spend, or he will play this next season on his qualifying offer. Playing on his qualifying offer will keep a good chunk of their available cap space open so the Flyers could add more up front on their offense if so desired. The long term deal obviously locks Myers during the years that he’s projected to get better and better.
Each situation has it’s clear advantages. Factoring in the quality defensive prospects that are fast approaching, Fletcher may look to see if Myers has any interest in playing on his qualifying offer. Doing so could allow Fletcher to push for a deeper playoff run. It gives the Flyers the cap flexibility to add a missing piece or two come the trade deadline this season.
Best Move for Philippe Myers & the Flyers
It’s tough to say, let alone speak for both camps here. On one hand, Myers would get paid. On the other, he would bet on himself and risk losing out on a payday. One obviously benefits the Flyers more, and the other benefits Myers. Taking a longer-term approach to things, Myers playing on his qualifying offer could benefit him more than most may think.
Let’s say Myers accepts his qualifying offer. The Flyers would have somewhere in the ballpark of $4 million remaining in cap space. If the team can contend up to the deadline like many think, this gives Fletcher the chance to give the Flyers the missing piece they may need. They make the playoffs, they run all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals. Hell, maybe they take home Lord Stanley.
Phil Myers instantly becomes more valuable.
You see it in every sport. Free agents that win their league’s highest award are paid accordingly. Obviously this is hypothetical, but in a situation like this, both sides win. That is, until Fletcher has to open his wallet to Myers for the second time.
Mandatory Credit – Alex McIntyre