It’s decision time for Flyers General Manager Ron Hextall. Over the next three months, it’s his job to reshape the roster and put the organization in a position to take the next step to turn into a Stanley Cup contender.
With an important offseason of transactions looming, here are five players that could arrive next year and five that will probably be shown the door.
On the Way In
Last year’s No. 7 overall pick led all defenseman in the Western Hockey League with 21 goals, 52 assists and a whopping plus-64. Named the league’s top defenseman, he should make the team out of training camp and quickly develop into the next rising star on the Flyers’ blue line.
The 17th overall selection in 2014 had 68 points in 52 games and was a plus-15 in juniors. Expect the defenseman to follow rookie-of-the-year candidate Shayne Gostisbehere’s path of starting out with the Phantoms and getting a call-up in the first third of the year.
The 24th overall pick last year proved he has play-making skills (30 goals, 71 assists in juniors) but is probably 50-50 on being ready for the NHL. However, the offense sorely lacks his abilities.
OK, we got your attention. Philadelphia is most likely not a landing spot for the four-time 40 goal scorer who is a free agent, but the team will have enough cap space to add a bona fide top-six forward, notably a left winger, through free agency.
TBD Via a Trade
Bet on Hextall making at least one of his patented shrewd trades to bring in an impact player – or shed salary in order to sign another free agent this summer.
On The Way Out
The trade that has been a disaster on the ice will finally begin to pay dividends, literally, off of it. The organization is expected to buy out the final year of the disappointing forward’s contract and save about $3 million in cap space.
The Kontinental Hockey League all-star, who signed a one-year deal, never adjusted to the NHL and spent the better part of the second half of the season as a healthy scratch.
A salary throw-in from last summer’s deal with Arizona, the forward spent part of the year with the Phantoms and was mostly invisible in 53 games with the Flyers.
Steve Mason/Michal Neuvirth
It’s very unlikely Mason or Neuvirth are moved, but keep an eye on the two netminders. Hextall said he isn’t looking to deal either one but if the right deal came along …
Ian Laperriere/Joe Mullen
The two assistant coaches oversaw the Flyers special teams, which were disappointing and inconsistent during the regular season and abysmal in the first round series against the Capitals.