As expected, the trade deadline came and went and Ron Hextall and the Philadelphia Flyers did not make a big splash.
The Flyers extended both Michal Neuvirth and Pierre-Édouard Bellemare. Neuvirth received a two-year, $5 million dollar extension for an average of $2.5 million per year. Bellemare also received a two-year deal, worth $1.45 million per year for a total of $2.9 million for the duration of the contract.
All signs point to Neuvirth being signed to allow the Flyers to expose him during the expansion draft and protect Anthony Stolarz. This most likely means that Steve Mason is going to walk this summer and test the waters as a free agent. Neuvirth, at an AAV of $2.5 Million will be a high value potential pick for the Las Vegas Golden Knights.
The Bellemare signing is a depth signing; he is a player who can kill penalties and provide some offense. Bellemare has been a fan favorite ever since coming to Philadelphia and I believe this to be a good signing by Hextall.
The Flyers also made one trade yesterday, sending Mark Streit to the Tampa Bay Lightning for Valtteri Filppula, a fourth-round pick and a conditional seventh-round pick.
Streit was eventually flipped to the Pittsburgh Penguins for a fourth-round pick.
That trade was one of the better trades that Hextall could have made that does not hurt the Flyers in the short or long-term but gives them something they need – a true second line center man.
Filppula has 34 points in 59 games this year and is a pass-first center with 27 of those being assists. He can also kill penalties which is something the Flyers desperately need so they can rest their star players during those critical points in the game.
Filppula has one more year on his contract after this year which may have been a turn off for some Flyers fans upon hearing about the trade, however Hextall said that he would not have been able to sign a player of his caliber for one year at five million, with which I agree.
I, and most Flyers fans, would have liked to see Hextall dump some other pending UFAs as well but it looks like he was not ready to blow the blue line up just yet. With the glutton of young talent that the Flyers have all around they are trending upwards, which is why a move like the one that Hextall made on Wednesday was a perfect move.
The Flyers will need to go on a magical run similar to the one they had last year if they want to make the playoffs and Filppula instantly slides into the top six of an offensively challenged team.
For the first time in a long time the Flyers have some cap space and the Flyers were able to get a fourth and seventh, in addition to a top six center man for an aging defenseman.
With Hextall at the helm there are exciting times ahead for the Philadelphia Flyers.