The Philadelphia Flyers offseason was a rather quiet one. Under the direction of head coach Alain Vigneault, the team became a surprising contender after a disappointing 2018-19 season. The Flyers did not have many expectations entering the 2019-20 season. With Vigneault at the helm and a successful Flyers offseason, the team will look to continue its success and become Stanley Cup champions in the near future.
Why the Flyers Made the Playoffs
After a successful regular season which saw the Flyers finish 4th in the eastern conference, the NHL invited them to play in the bubble. The Flyers participated in a round-robin style and surprisingly earned the first seed in the eastern conference playoffs.
In their first-round playoff series, the Flyers defeated the Montreal Canadiens in 4 games to 2 games. Strong play from Scott Laughton and Carter Hart helped them defeat the Canadiens and propel them to the second round. Thanks to their strong performance against Montreal they had a date in the second round with the New York Islanders.
Unfortunately, the Flyers met their match as the Islanders defeated Philadelphia in seven games. After being sent home the Flyers offseason included new signings and players leaving the organization.
Flyers Key Offseason Losses
The Flyers are losing forward Derek Grant. Grant was a trade deadline acquisition that split last season between the Anaheim Ducks and Flyers. During his time with the Ducks, Grant put up modest numbers as he scored 14 goals and added six assists.
After being acquired by the Flyers via trade, he did not have the same production. He only played seven regular-season games for Philadelphia and 15 playoff games. During the seven regular-season games, Grant scored one goal but had four assists. The playoffs did not bring much production either as he only helped set up two goals. After an unsuccessful time in Philadelphia, he returns to the Ducks for the third time on a shiny three-year contract.
The Flyers offseason saw a second free-agent leave the club. Tyler Pitlick left Philadelphia to go to the desert and play for the Arizona Coyotes. Pitlick is a hard-nosed and gritty forward. He split last season playing with the Dallas Stars and the Flyers.
Last season Pitlick scored eight goals and added 12 assists. On his next contract, Pitlick will be making a little less than $2 million for the next two seasons. Pitlick will be a solid addition to the Coyote’s bottom six.
Flyers Offseason Additions
After losing in the playoffs the Flyers want to improve their roster to advance further into the playoffs in the future. The Flyers have been involved in rumors about getting better offensively by acquiring big-name players to pot a few more goals. The Flyers also have fallen victim to players retiring. Defenseman Matt Niskanen announced his retirement in early October and the Flyers were tasked with finding his replacement this offseason.
The Flyers replaced Niskanen with a skilled defenseman by the name of Erik Gustafson. Gustafson and the Flyers agreed to a one-year contract worth $3 million. Philadelphia will look to get back to the level he was at during the 2018-2019 season with the Chicago Blackhawks. During that campaign with the Blackhawks, Gustafson played in 79 games and reached career highs in goals, assists, and points. He had 17 goals and 43 assists in the 2018-2019 season.
If Gustafson can return to this form then general manager Chuck Fletcher and the Flyers will look like geniuses for taking a chance of Gustafson.
Flyers Offseason Rumors
One player the Flyers have been rumored to trade for is Patrick Laine. He would be a good trade target for the general manager Fletcher in the Flyers organization. Laine would benefit from being around Claude Giroux and other veteran players on the Flyers roster and he can be the next leader of the Flyers in few years when Giroux decides to hang his skates up.
Laine has a cap hit of $6.75 million for the 2020-2021 season then he becomes a restricted free agent after the season. I would expect Winnipeg Jets to demand a lot in a trade for Laine from the Flyers. The Jets have about $14 million in cap space but the issue is the Flyers have only $4.73 million in cap space.
I would like to see Nolan Patrick included in the trade for Laine because Patrick will succeed in a no-pressure situation up in Winnipeg by becoming the player he was when the Flyers selected him as a number two overall pick in the 2017 NHL draft. Philadelphia fans and media have had big hopes for Patrick but he has been banged up lately and is only 22-years-old, he can have a nice career up in Winnipeg if he’s included in the trade for Laine. I believe the trade should go like this;
Philadelphia acquires Laine and a player to be named. Winnipeg receives Shayne Gotisbehere and Patrick and a 2021 draft pick for conditional reasons. Winnipeg would take on Gotisbehere’s salary to make the trade work in order to comply with trade restrictions plus fills up the defense needs for the Jets. Jets would want to do a physical on Nolan Patrick before going ahead with the trade and it would free up of Flyers’ cap space in order to sign their Restricted Free Agent in the future like Carter Hart.
The conclusion to the Flyers Offseason
So far the Flyers offseason has been rather quiet so far. If the rumors of Laine potentially being traded to Flyers are true then the Flyers will have had one of the more successful offseasons in the NHL. The team was competitive and they should be competitive again with their improvement of the blue line this offseason. After a relatively successful offseason, fans should be very excited for the upcoming season.
main image credit