July 1 has come and gone, and the Philadelphia Flyers had a quiet day, as expected. The team did go out and splurge on right winger Dale Weise and signed center Boyd Gordon as a depth option, but all in all, yesterday was a far cry from the free agency kickoffs that we usually expect from the Flyers.
However, that doesn’t mean that the Flyers went about yesterday poorly. They upgraded their bottom six for minimal cost and avoided any expensive mistakes. In fact, while yesterday wasn’t eye-catching at all, it may be the Flyers’ best July 1 in years.
Despite General Manager Ron Hextall’s comments that the Flyers could be done spending, if you think that the Flyers are done, think again. This team still has some needs that have to be sorted out, and the sooner that Hextall gets them done, the better.
Here are some suggestions for what the Flyers need to do next to continue to improve the team.
*This article can also be found on Flyzette.com *
- Re-Sign Restricted Free Agents
When fans see that the Flyers still have $8.6 million to spend on free agents and their GM says that they are likely “done” spending, some may raise an eyebrow.
However, GM Ron Hextall would be wise to stop the spending on outsiders now so that the Flyers have enough funds to retain their own restricted free agents. He has said before that he would like to have around $2 million in cap space, so Hextall really only has about $6.6 million to re-sign Brayden Schenn, Nick Cousins, Brandon Manning, and Jordan Weal.
We’ve projected before that Schenn will likely receive a deal with a cap hit a little below $5 million, which would leave the Flyers with less than $2 million to re-sign Cousins, Manning, and Weal.
The aforementioned three young players will likely earn anywhere between $700,000 and $850,000 each, so let’s project the total spending to $2.25 million.
In total, it will likely take $7 million to re-sign Schenn, Cousins, Manning, and Weal. Given that Hextall doesn’t want to spend much more than $6.6 million on his RFAs, it may be time for Hextall to clear more cap space, which takes us to point no. 2.
- Orchestrate a Trade to Save Cap Space
In order to make Ron Hextall’s perfect salary cap dream a reality, he may have to trade some of his current players.
Matt Read, the club’s fifth-highest-paid forward, could be on the chopping block, as could the club’s highest-paid defenseman, Mark Streit.
Read has been a colossal disappointment over the past two seasons, but still has some trade value thanks to his ability to play in all situations and his tendency to post strong puck-possession numbers.
One could make an argument that Streit is one of the Flyers’ most complete defenseman even at age 38, but his $5.25 million cap hit is mighty restrictive this time of year. Streit has been a solid contributor to the Flyers over the past three seasons, but he began to show signs last season of wear and tear, and the Flyers would be wise to try and move him before advanced age hits him hard.
Additionally, it is unlikely that anyone will have interest in Andrew MacDonald’s $5 million cap hit, but the Flyers may want to consider demoting him to the AHL Lehigh Valley Phantoms so a little less than $1 million of his salary remains on the cap.
If Hextall was really serious about keeping a $2 million salary cap cushion, he will likely need to deal or demote some of his veterans.
- Save Room for Prospects
It is no secret that the Flyers would like to open the next season with Ivan Provorov in the lineup, and perhaps Travis Konecny as well. The 2015 first-round picks appear to be NHL-ready, and if Hextall thinks that they are, he will need to clear $900,000 for each player, which could total up to $1.8 million.
Now the aforementioned $2 million cushion is partially devoted to the prospects, but there is also no way that Hextall is willing to play the 2016-17 season with just $200,000 in cap space. Thus, he will need to go into training camp with $2.5 in cap space, just in case Provorov and Konecny make the big club.