• July 3, 2022

Recent Signings and News Suggest Flyers Don’t Know What They’re Doing

During the off-season, most NHL teams look to fill the lineup deficiencies that became apparent over the past season.  For the Philadelphia Flyers, the holes to fill are pretty clear:

  • Starting goaltender
  • Upgraded fifth and sixth defenseman
  • Top six right winger
  • Upgraded third-line right winger

The re-signing of Michael Leighton for two years at $3.1 million was reasonable, but the free agent market for goaltenders was bloated enough to make adding a veteran goaltender financially sound.  Thus far, the Flyers have watched Chris Mason and Dan Ellis, two worthwhile candidates, sign for little more than Leighton will make.  One has to wonder what the Flyers were doing that they couldn’t sign these goaltenders over the competition.  Of the veteran goaltenders remaining, Evgeni Nabakov has allegedly signed with a KHL team, Jose Theodore is without a home, and Marty Turco is apparently calling the Flyers every day looking for a deal.

Defensively, the Flyers get a “B.” Signing veteran Sean O’Donnell for $1 million for one year is smart and upgrades the sixth defenseman position.  The $3.2 million for Braydon Coburn is arguably more than he’s worth, but the cap hit is manageable.  Trading a second-round pick for Andrej Meszaros also greatly improves the fifth defenseman position, but has now put the Flyers in a bind financially.  His $4 million-per-year hit should have raised red flags, but now the Flyers have one of the highest paid defensive cores in the league.  Management may be thinking that spending more on defense over goaltending will make the difference.

The signing of Jody Shelley to a three-year, $3.3 million contract makes absolutely no sense when you consider that they are currently in arbitration talks with Dan Carcillo and, according to CSN Philly, have re-opened contract talks with unrestricted free agent Aaron Asham.  The cap hit would not be unreasonable if the Flyers were considering letting Asham, Carcillo, Darroll Powe, and enforcer Riley Cote walk, as he would have served a defined role on the team.  Although considered a hard-working team player, Shelley has only hit the ten point mark once in his career.  Assuming only Asham is not re-signed, the Flyers will have too many third and fourth line players eating salary under contract.

Finally, the rumors today that the Flyers are close to signing right winger Nikolai Zherdev shows that the Flyers are close to filling one void, but the cost will force the team to lose another top six forward.  Zherdev is also a bit of a gamble in terms of work ethic.

Based on the current signings and rumors, it’s difficult to tell if there is any kind of game plan in place for next season.  If there’s a method to the madness down on Broad Street, I don’t see it.

Josh Janet

Josh Janet was raised in Northern New Jersey, but by an odd set of circumstances, is a Philadelphia sports fan. While recently converted to the Phillies, Josh is a diehard Flyers fan and can be expected to stay on top of the latest NHL news.

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