Philadelphia Flyers general manager Ron Hextall has gone into the last few free agency periods not planning on adding a major piece.
Don’t expect that to change this offseason.
Hextall has already re-signed forward Jordan Weal to a two-year extension with an AAV of $1.75 million. Last year, Weal scored eight goals and added four assists for a total of 12 points in 23 games played.
Prorated, Weal was on pace to score 28 goals last year which would have put him behind only Wayne Simmonds. That’d have been pretty impressive.
Goals are what the Flyers desperately need moving forward. In addition to his ability to score goals, the 25-year-old winger adds speed to the lineup, which is obviously missing. This is a great boom-or-bust signing for the Flyers and, if all turns out well, Hextall added a potential 30-goal scorer for under $2 million a year.
Newly-signed Brian Elliott, who played for the Calgary Flames last year, had his worst statistical season since the 2012-2013 season. He posted a .910 save percentage and a 2.55 GAA. However in the previous season with the St. Louis Blues, he posted a .930 save percentage and a 2.07 GAA, which was remarkably better than last season, as well as much better than Steve Mason’s .908 and 2.66, respectively. Both Elliott and Mason are prone to inconsistency, but from multiple reports, it sounds like Mason wants a long-term deal with more money, so I can’t fault Hextall for moving on and signing Elliott in his place. The Elliott signing allows the young goalies in the system to mature and develop, and at the end of the next two seasons, hopefully be ready to become NHL goaltenders.
Even before the Elliott signing, the Flyers had about $10 million in cap space. They still have plenty with which to work.
The Flyers have a great chance to be a playoff team again next year if Weal and Elliott can play at the top of their respective games. I would expect next season’s roster to look something similar to this:
Looks like a solid team to me.