Flyers may not have to spend a ton of free agency money to improve the list
The 2020 NHL Draft is in the rearview mirror, and now the busiest week of the NHL’s unprecedented offseason is about to get a lot busier Free agency is here, and as of noon, the 31 NHL teams will be able to recruit unrestricted free agents
Free agency should be of particular interest to the Flyers.They already had gaps to fill in center and defense, but with Matt Niskanen’s unexpected retirement, Chuck Fletcher and his company could attack free will much more aggressively than expected when the Flyers’ season ends at the hands of the Islanders last month
Fortunately, there appear to be some strong players in favor of free agency this year – many of whom should be affordable for the Flyers with their new abundance of ceiling space. Many are probably hoping the Flyers land a Torey Krug guy. or Alex Pietrangelo, but there are plenty of other players available that might make sense for Philadelphia at a much more manageable level.
As soon as the Blue Jackets acquired Max Domi from the Canadiens, it became clear that Wennberg’s services were no longer needed at Columbus The inevitable finally came to fruition on Thursday when the Jackets opted to buy back the three years remaining from his contract, ending his six-year term as a regular member of the formation
At one point, Wennberg appeared to be one of hockey’s brightest young stars.He organized a 13-goal, 59-point campaign at 22 for Columbus in the 2016-17 season, and his 46 assists this year have led the Blue Jackets by a pretty wide margin Unfortunately, he’s struggled to live up to expectations over the past few seasons, forcing Columbus to move on without him
Although Wennberg has been disappointing lately, that doesn’t mean he isn’t a decent player.He is very good defensively and remains a solid center of play able to see time on power play and penalties. And given that it was just dropped by Columbus, its asking price probably won’t be that high when teams call
For a Flyers team that needs depth in the middle, Wennberg could slip right in as a good-condition last-six center And at just 26, he may still have a chance for him to find his game and have a bigger impact than expected with a good deal
After watching all of the Wild’s 2019-20 season games, it’s clear that Koivu is now a shell of his former self. The longtime Minnesota captain was an annual candidate for the Selke (which Sean Couturier has won this year, in case you forgot), but his game has since regressed at an alarming rate He managed just four goals and 21 points in 55 games last season and was eventually demoted to a fourth row role later in Minnesota’s disappointing campaign.
That said, however, signing a short-term deal with Koivu as a fourth-line center could be a smart move for the Flyers. He’s one of the longest-serving NHL captains behind only Zdeno Chara, Sidney Crosby and Jonathan Toews, and his leadership in the locker room could help give some of the younger Flyers a boost.
As The Athletic’s Michael Russo noted, Koivu has a very strong relationship with Chuck Fletcher, who spent nearly a decade as general manager of the Wild. And at 37, Koivu probably won’t ask for much on his next contract He wants to win a Stanley Cup, which wasn’t going to happen in Minnesota
The Flyers haven’t gotten many goals from their last six in the playoffs How can they change that in time for next season? By signing a third row winger known to have scored a lot of goals!
Smith has had a great career so far In nine seasons, all with the Predators, he has 162 goals and 330 points in 661 games while playing a big role as a power play finisher The former fourth-round pick has just finished an 18-goal, 31-point campaign, but it should be noted that he has exceeded the 20-goal threshold five times in his career.
Smith’s agent told Athletic’s Adam Vingan the goal is for his next contract to be for three years For a 31-year-old likely to play a role in the bottom six, it’s doable.The annual cap may hit a little higher than what the Flyers are comfortable paying, although if its asking price is lower than expected, maybe Smith could help give the Flyers’ second PP unit a boost Clearly they could use it
What a wild ride for Shattenkirk in recent years Once considered one of hockey’s best defensemen during his tenure with the Blues, his game slowly began to decline after being shipped to the Capitals on the trade deadline from 2017 He then signed with his hometown team – the Rangers – only to see his two former teams win the Stanley Cup in consecutive seasons. Acquired by New York in the last offseason, Shattenkirk signed a cheap one-year contract with the Lightning for 2019-2020 And as fate willed he eventually won his own Stanley Cup
With Shattenkirk playing more like the All-Star he was once in St Louis, one can imagine that he will be looking for a big pay raise for his next contract, although he is highly unlikely to break the bank this offseason As a right-handed defenseman, Shattenkirk would fill an obvious hole in the Flyers’ lineup with Niskanen now retired, and he would also be able to replace the power play as Niskanen did.
It also helps that Shattenkirk has familiar faces awaiting him in Philly if he signs with the Flyers Alain Vigneault was New York’s head coach in Shattenkirk’s first year with the Rangers and he also spent two years sharing a locker room with Kevin Hayes
That said, however, it’s fair to wonder what Shattenkirk the Flyers would get if he accepted a deal. Could this be the version that helped Tampa win the Stanley Cup? Or would it be the version that disappointed in The Big Apple?
The Flyers don’t need another winger in their top six right now Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek and Travis Konecny are not going anywhere, and Joel Farabee could see an expanded role next season if he continues to show promise
But it’s hard to say landing a player like Toffoli wouldn’t be fun and the Flyers could probably do it if they wanted to. In fact, according to Elliotte Friedman in her column 31 Thoughts Before the February trade deadline , the Flyers apparently ‘considered’ making a move for Toffoli
Toffoli made an immediate impact for the Canucks after being acquired from the Kings on the trade deadline He had six goals and 10 points in his 10 regular season games with Vancouver before the season break, and he followed that up with some great playoff performances against the Golden Knights
With Toffoli in the fold, the Flyers top six could be one of the most dangerous in the NHL It may not meet a need, but it is definitely an option to think about
Free Agent, National Hockey League, Alex Pietrangelo, Philadelphia Flyers, St Louis Blues, Ice Hockey
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