With the 2022 NHL draft in their rear view mirror, the Philadelphia Flyers return home with work to be done. Work that will return GM Chuck Fletcher to get creative after using most, if not all, of the teams cap space.
As Day 2 of the draft begun, the Flyers made a big splash. Acquiring right shot defenseman Tony DeAngelo from the Carolina Hurricanes for three draft picks – #101, 2023 3rd round pick, 2024 2nd round pick.
“We’ve been speaking with a lot of teams, looking for a right shot defenseman,” GM Chuck Fletcher said. “Skating, passing, puck skills. He’s (Tony) a competitive kid; a player that John Tortorella was very, very excited about.”
Fletcher added “last year we felt we really struggled to move the puck. We struggled on the powerplay; we spent too much time in the defensive zone. Tony is a player with very good offensive talent. He moves the puck well; can run a power play; had a couple of 50-point seasons. We think that not only will he produce offensively but will allow some of our forwards to have a better chance to get to their games offensively as well.”
DeAngelo, a Sewell NJ native, returns home to the team he grew up watching as a kid.
“It’s a dream come true for me,” DeAngelo said about becoming a Flyer. “I was born in Jersey, but really my entire family besides myself comes from Philly. That’s where we lived. Been a Flyers fan since the day I can remember.”
With DeAngelo now in the fold, the waters become a little more muddied for Ryan Ellis, who the Flyers acquired last offseason.
Ellis, who played just 4-games last season, still does not have a full prognosis on his injury. An injury that GM Chuck Fletcher described as “multi-layered” last week in his pre-draft address.
“There’s been concern for a while,” Fletcher said about Ellis. “Again, he’s made progress. He very well could be ready early. But, there’s certainly a chance that it could drag into the season.”
Fletcher added “the timing is a little murkier. And frankly, the focus is a little bit more on making sure he gets healthy and can get back.”
That timing is a huge hold-up for the Flyers at the moment. Mainly with what they will do with Ellis’s $6.25M cap hit.
Many people around the NHL believe the Flyers will put Ellis on LTIR to begin the season. Freeing up his $6.25M cap hit to be used elsewhere.
However, unlike teams – Tampa Bay & Vegas – that have used LTIR to their advantage in the past, it is a bit harder for the Flyers.
With so much uncertainty around Ellis, the Flyers can’t predict when they will need that cap space back for Ellis. Which, puts a burden on using the cap space created by putting Ellis LTIR if that return comes earlier than expected.
Without putting Ellis on LTIR, the Flyers will still need to make a move to free up cap space. Especially with Tony DeAngelo’s new two-year $10M deal ($5M AAV) expected to be signed soon.
As the Flyers sit now, with DeAngelo’s $5M cap hit, they have roughly $1M in cap space. Which is not enough to sign two important remaining RFAs, Owen Tippett & Morgan Frost.
The cost to re-sign the pair will not be back breaking for the Flyers. However, it will cost more than the roughly $1M left in space they have.
There are multiple ways for the Flyers to gain cap space. The easiest being putting Ryan Ellis on LTIR to begin the season. But, the trade route could be a better solution for the Flyers.
“We’ll take a look and see what happens over the next week or two in terms of are there any additional trades,” Fletcher said on his outlook ahead of free agency.
With multiple players – James van Riemsdyk & Oskar Lindblom – on one-year deals, the Flyers have options to trade.
Lindblom, who has a reasonable $3M cap hit for the 2022-2023 season, may still have a spot on this team. Especially with the injury to Joel Farabee.
van Riemsdyk, however, has a very undesirable $7M cap hit for the 2022-2023 season. Which, at the moment, is proving to be hard to move.
With the Flyers in need of cap space, a move, however, does not need to happen before free agency opens on Wednedsay.
As per the CBA, any team can exceed the cap by 10% in the offseason. Which would give the Flyers about $7M to work with as free agency starts.
So, as we sit 48-hours before the start of free agency, the Flyers are certainly a team to watch. Especially with their rumored heavy interest in bringing home South Jersey native Johnny Gaudreau.