Philadelphia Flyers

Flyers Would Be Wise To Prime Laczynski For 2021-2022

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Tanner Laczynski has opened eyes in two games played. The Philadelphia Flyers must prime him for a roster spot in 2021-2022.

Though it’s been a small sample size at the NHL level, Tanner Laczynski has made quite the impression. As a fourth-line forward, he provides the needed spark to the bottom six. The Philadelphia Flyers have been looking for a balance of backchecking and speed to the offensive zone to battle for pucks deep. In two games, Laczynski displayed that in his game.

After experiencing success last season, the Flyers enter a retooling period in the upcoming offseason. Philadelphia must decide before the expansion draft on who to protect and who receives a contract extension in the offseason. Luckily, Laczynski will be exempt and under his entry-level contract.

A centerman will be the odd-man out of the equation. The Seattle Kraken will make one decision for the Flyers while the other will come from Chuck Fletcher.

To increase cap space, Laczynski should be a lock on the fourth line in 2021-2022. In all likelihood, Nolan Patrick could be available to the Kraken in the expansion draft. If Patrick is not Seattle’s selection, Michael Raffl should become a free agent to make space for Laczynski. He’ll be 33-years-old next season. Alain Vigneault and his scouting team seemingly favor Laczynski over Raffl.

Does it make sense to make Laczynski a permanent fixture in Philadelphia next season?

Why Laczynski Makes Sense For Flyers

Against playoff teams, the only opponents Laczynski played, he already has found success in the faceoff circle. Averaging just under nine minutes of ice time, he’s won 62.5% of his draws. On top of that feat, he nearly scored his first NHL goal against the New York Islanders. In the offensive zone, he’s shown progress.

Vigneault has noticed the progress, increasing Laczynski’s ice time over his two games. Against the Islanders, he played 8:17. In the Flyers’ only victory over the Boston Bruins, Laczynski notched 9:31.

As a team, Philadelphia drastically improved against quality opponents. Forward depth, featuring Laczynski, had a lot to do with that.

Consider extra possessions taken away from the Islanders and Bruins in the defensive zone.

On the fourth line, the Flyers have to mitigate players such as Casey Cizikas or Trent Frederic. Both players have played well against Philadelphia this season. Defensively, Laczynski keeps the puck away from those players more often than not. His play aligns well with Nicolas Aube-Kubel, who is known for being physical. If Laczynski continues to see ice time, his development will pick up where he left off against Boston before next season.

Why Raffl Will Become a Free Agent

The peak of his NHL career came in the 2015-2016 season. Then, Raffl was 27-years-old, and his offensive production has sharply decreased since. In a contract year, Raffl is underdelivering in his role on the fourth line.

Raffl is known for his forecheck, but Laczynski replaces that with his ability and youth. In 2021-2022, Raffl will be an unrestricted free agent following an average annual value earning of $1.6mil.

Dropping $1.6mil off the salary cap will allow the Flyers to afford a much-needed defenseman. Laczynski makes about $925k per season. Fletcher would be wise to invest in youth within the bottom six and recalibrate funds to the defense. After Erik Gustafsson moves on from Philadelphia, there will be an additional $3mil cleared. Awful buyout contracts from Andrew McDonald and David Schlemko alleviate an additional $2.516mil following this season.

Already, $6.441mil becomes available on those moves alone.

Now, Fletcher can rightfully pair Ivan Provorov with a stud defenseman on the top pair to provide help to his goaltending unit. If properly addressed, Carter Hart could bounce back in 2021-2022 from a disappointing season. Playing a financially savvy role this offseason makes for a very short retooling venture in the 2021 offseason. The Flyers have Cam York and Wade Allison signed to entry-level contracts, awaiting opportunities. Within the system, Philadelphia’s youth could put Vigneault and company back on track, returning to the playoffs with a vengeance.

Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire

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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.

2 comments

  • Diesel says:

    Still don’t understand how we regressed this much from last year just by losing Niskanen?? But 2 players that aren’t helping the cause are Patrick and Linblom they are pretty much worthless at this point. And Jvr has got to go leave him exposed at the draft and hope he goes!!

    • Patrick and Lindblom are definitely struggling to get back, but I feel like this should have been expected. Saying JVR has got to go makes me believe that you haven’t watched any games this season. He leads the team in scoring and has pretty much been our best player. His contract is definitely a tough one, but he has been living up to it this year. Someone not mentioned in this article who will be back with the team next year is Morgan Frost, another center, who should make the team next year, as well as Tyson Foerster, who looks like a great finisher with the Phantoms.

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