The Philadelphia Flyers 2020-2021 season did not go as planned for multiple reasons. Whether it was the struggling defense, younger players not taking the next step, or just season long goalie issues, all added up to a poor season.
However, one issue that really was never talked about was the Flyers depth at center. Something that caused them havoc multiple times during the season.
When the Flyers signed Kevin Hayes in the 2019 offseason, his addition was to solidify the center position. Adding Hayes to an already deep group with Sean Couturier & Nolan Patrick, the Flyers were seen as having one of the deepest center groups in the NHL.
But, that is just not the case now.
Last season, Claude Giroux was tasked with being a fill-in at center multiple times. As well as head coach Alain Vigneault having a revolving door of players as the 4th line center.
One of the main reasons why was because of Nolan Patrick’s “ok” season. After Patrick missed the 2019-2020 season, the Flyers hoped Patrick would have an immediate bounce back season. Which, for a player who was cleared just two weeks before the 2020-2021 season, was going to be a tough ask.
Chuck Fletcher’s gamble with Nolan Patrick bouncing back immediately last season blew up in his face. If Fletcher would have eased Patrick back, it could have possibly been avoided.
However, with Chuck Fletcher not wanting to have a repeat experience this season, he has a decision to make. Either hope again Nolan Patrick bounces back or sign someone to be the Flyers 3rd center. Someone like Phillip Danault.
After declining a contract extension last season, Phillip Danault is headed for free agency this season. News broke on Thursday that the Canadiens would not be increasing their offer & Danault informed them that he would test free agency.
Phillip Danault has been one of the best young two-way centers in the NHL over of past five seasons. Finishing in the top-7 of the Selke Trophy race in each of the last three seasons.
The Flyers adding Danault would be a similar move to the addition of Kevin Hayes in 2019. A move to solidify the center position.
Over the past three seasons, Phillip Danault has averaged 10-goals & 31-assists with the Montreal Canadiens. Averaging close to 18:00 minutes a game.
After declining a contract extension last season, Phillip Danault’s future in with the Canadiens is unknown. On Thursday, news broke that the Canadiens would not be increasing their offer to Danault. Resulting in Danault informing the Canadiens that he would test free agency.
The Canadiens offer to Danault last season was 6-year $30M ($5M AAV) according to reports in Montreal. If the Flyers want a real shot at Danault it will not come cheaply.
Reports have surfaced that Danault asked the Canadiens for close to $7M AAV. Which will just not happen. If the Flyers wanted to add Danault, a reasonable contract that could work is 5-years $28.75M ($5.75M AAV).
Adding a player like Danault would give the Flyers the stability at center they thought they added with Kevin Hayes. While also giving one of the best center groups in the NHL.
It would also show the Flyers commitment to spend money at the most important position. Which would rival some of the best teams in the NHL.
The Islanders currently pay Jean-Gabriel Pageau $5M to be their 3rd center. Carolina pays Vincent Trocheck $4.75M to be their 3rd center. The Lightning pay Yanni Gourde $5.16M to be their 3rd center.
Would you like to see a Sean Couturier – Kevin Hayes – Phillip Danault center group for the Flyers next season?