We’re about two weeks away from the tentative beginning to the Philadelphia Flyers training camp for the 2020-2021 regular season. Over in the Seattle Kraken camp, it is business as usual as they dot the “i’s” and cross the “t’s” before their first official season. In the 2021 offseason, the Kraken will clash with every NHL franchise (except the Vegas Golden Knights) as they partake in the expansion draft. The Flyers could lose a crucial piece to their team. If Seattle executes their plan, they’re taking the best available player from Philadelphia.
I released an article that goes into detail about which players the Philadelphia Flyers would likely protect. In that same piece, I listed which players they would likely expose. It’s about time to take a comb and groom through those exposed players to make a shortlist (or pinpoint) which player the Flyers may say goodbye to. Will Philadelphia deeply suffer? Who from the Flyers will the Seattle Kraken draft?
James van Riemsdyk is an appetizing name for the Seattle Kraken. Most Philadelphia Flyers fans would love to see his contract removed from the books. However, that contract could be the exact reason why the Flyers are still stuck with the check. The Kraken would likely spend up to about $76mil without a pick from Philadelphia. Salary cap purgatory is no place for a franchise (as Flyers fans should understand,) and it’s why Seattle would likely pass on van Riemsdyk.
Now, a player like Michael Raffl would be one to consider. He was an asset for the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs. When the top forwards weren’t producing as they should, Raffl came up big before suffering an injury. He’s very affordable at $1.6mil, but so is Nicolas Aube-Kubel. Aube-Kubel is a young, tough winger at $1.075mil who offers longevity (and financial sustainability) as an expansion draft selection.
What about Nolan Patrick? He has the best upside of any of the four forwards mentioned. He’ll likely remain exposed because of how unclear his future is as an NHL player. Yes, he’s scrimmaging, but that does not translate to him being able to play in 2020-2021. He’s on a “prove-it” deal with the Philadelphia Flyers. If he unfortunately can’t play this season, he’s available to the Seattle Kraken.
As it stands right now, Shayne Gostisbehere would be available to the Seattle Kraken as a Philadelphia Flyer in the NHL Expansion Draft. That could change as it is clear that Chuck Fletcher is seeking offers to trade Gostisbehere. He’s young enough to make sense, but recently he hasn’t been able to contribute at a rate to defend his $4.5mil contract. His competition, Erik Gustafsson, is also on just a one-year deal. Unless he blows away the Flyers with his performance in 2020-2021 (and Philadelphia doesn’t agree to terms with Philippe Myers,) expect Gustafsson to be exposed too.
A lot of what could happen with the Philadelphia Flyers defense and the NHL Expansion Draft is reliant on the outcome of contract negotiations with Philippe Myers. Assuming he receives an extension, Myers will likely be the third defenseman protected with Ivan Provorov and Travis Sanheim. The reality is it hasn’t happened. It makes sense that Robert Hagg is worth keeping at the moment. He’s 25-years-old and relatively inexpensive, so he could be a good selection for the Seattle Kraken if left exposed.
Mark Friedman has an interesting case in the NHL Expansion Draft. He hasn’t put together a big enough sample size to attract the attention of the Seattle Kraken, but 2020-2021 could be different. In the philosophy that anything can happen because of injuries or trades, the topic of Friedman could pick up steam. In the past two seasons alone, the Philadelphia Flyers saw Philippe Myers and Robert Hagg bloom into important defensive pieces. That could be Friedman too.
In keeping this brief, the Philadelphia Flyers will not be at risk of losing a goaltender. Exposed would be Brian Elliott, Felix Sandstrom, and Alex Lyon. Likely selected by the Seattle Kraken are Braden Holtby, Jake Allen, Tuukka Rask, David Rittich, Anton Khudobin, Thomas Greiss, Matt Murray, and Frederik Andersen. The Seattle Kraken would not be helping themselves by selecting a goaltender from the Flyers. If they did, assume that they would draft Sandstrom or Lyon as a third goaltender in AHL Palm Springs. Just don’t make that bet.
The big picture for the Philadelphia Flyers depends on two names: Philippe Myers and Nolan Patrick. If Myers agrees to terms on his extension with the Flyers, then defensively, Philadelphia will likely lose Robert Hagg. If Patrick returns with a bang, then he would be protected, and perhaps we’re now talking about exposing Scott Laughton. That changes the conversation about the Flyers forwards, and now the Seattle Kraken select Laughton. The bigger “if” there is leaning towards the case of Patrick.
Realistically, Philippe Myers does sign an extension with the Philadelphia Flyers. Over this season and the next, the Flyers need to rebound defensively. It could be time to prepare our goodbyes for Robert Hagg.
Photo Credit: Alex Mcintyre