Looking ahead at the Flyers and the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft
We are just a few days away from all 30 NHL teams (Vegas is excused from the expansion draft) submitting their expansion lists by July 17th. Chuck Fletcher begins his very important third season as GM of the Flyers, after an extremely disappointing 2020-2021 season where he found his team in 6th place in the MassMutual East Division.
Moves are on the horizon (hopefully), let’s take a dive into what Chuck Fletcher’s expansion list might look like.
What to know for the Expansion Draft
- Lists are due by July 17th
- Every team must leave one defenseman exposed who is under contract for the 2021-22′ season, played at least 40 NHL games the previous season or 70 games in the last two years
- Every team must leave two forwards exposed who are under contract for the 2021-22′ season, played at least 40 NHL games the previous season or 70 games in the last two years
- Every team must leave one goalie exposed who is under contract for the 2021-22′ season or will be a RFA at the end of his current deal prior to the 2021-22′ season (If a team decides to expose a RFA goalie, they have to send that goalie his qualifying offer prior to submitting their list
- Seattle have to select a minimum of 14 forwards, 9 defenseman and 3 goalies
- Seattle has to select a minimum of 20 players currently under contract for the 2021-22′ season
- Seattle’s contracts for selected players total cap hit must be 60-100 percent of the salary cap ($81.5)
(Essentially, Seattle could decide to go all the way up to $81.5 and take a more “win now” approach, or Ron Francis could decide he wants to go the flexible cap route and decide to only take up 70% of his total cap hit)
- Teams can protect 7F,3D,1G or 8 skaters (F/D) and 1 goalie
- All players who are asked and decline to waive their NMC must be protected and will take up a protection slot
- First, second-year pro’s and un-signed draft picks are all exempt from this draft
- The actual expansion draft is Wednesday, July 21st on ESPN2
- Seattle gets a exclusive window from July 18th-21st where they can interview with free agents that were left unprotected by their teams
- If Seattle decides they want to sign a free agent from a team (say they sign Dougie Hamilton from CAR), that would count as their pick from Carolina
Claude Giroux ($8.2) NMC
There are two players on the Flyers that automatically have to take up a protection slot due to a NMC and Claude Giroux is one of them. 16G-27A-43P in 65 games in 2020-2021, you can count on Captain Claude Giroux to be back in orange & black next year.
(Giroux’s contract is up after next season so keep an eye out for news on that)
Kevin Hayes ($7.1) NMC
Hayes’s NMC turns into a modified NMC starting next season. Chuck Fletcher just traded for Hayes’ rights two years ago, then signed him to a 7-year deal worth $7.1 AAV a season. Hayes had a fantastic first season with Philadelphia, scoring 23G-18A-41P in 69 games. He added much needed help to the PK as well, scoring four short-handed goals. Hayes also had a good first playoffs with the Flyers, 4G-9A-13P in 16 games, he especially showed up in the second round vs the Islanders where he scored 6 of his 13 points in the playoffs (Keep in mind they’re counting the Round-Robin as playoff stats). Last year wasn’t the best year for Hayes (same goes for a lot of his teammates), but he still did put up 12G-19A-31P in 55 games in a brutal year that ended with us getting news Hayes required core-muscle surgery over the summer. Admittedly, I’m a little nervous with the injury, makes me think back to when G & Ghost both had the same kind of surgeries over the off-season and just didn’t look like their usual selves until the next year. But, all news points to Hayes being ready for training camp in September.
Sean Couturier ($4.3)
Just like Giroux, Sean Couturier’s contract is also up after this season, but his situation is a little more interesting. Giroux is 33 years old, captain of the team, he’ll sign a nice little deal that’s not anywhere near where what he’s getting now ($8.25 AAV). Couturier is currently on one of the best deals in the NHL, only making $4.3 AAV, he’s due for a significant pay raise and deservedly so. Another situation to keep an eye on as next season plays out, but for now, this is another no-brain pick.
Travis Konecny ($5.5)
Konecny certainly didn’t follow up his disappointing 2020 playoffs with what we were hoping for. The 24 year old right-winger put up 11G-23A-34P in 50 games, while also finding himself as a healthy-scratch at times throughout the year. Konecny is still a big part of this team, and I’m interested to see how he bounces back next year.
There’s zero chance he’s left unprotected.
Oskar Lindblom ($3.0)
This is a player I want on my hockey team any day of the year. Beating Ewing’s Sarcoma, coming back in those bubble playoffs, it was unbelievable to watch. Oskar was given some rest days off towards the end of the year by head coach AV, and that did seem to help him. Obviously, Oskar wasn’t at full-strength, but him just being out there and doing what he loves was awesome to see. Looking forward to seeing what Oskar does with a full summer to train.
(If you haven’t listened to Chuck Fletcher’s interview on Snow The Goalie, do it now. Terrific insight, plus Chuck confirms Oskar Lindblom will be protected)
Scott Laughton ($3.0)
Chuck had two decisions to make during the trade deadline last year, either trade or re-sign Scott Laughton. He went with the latter. 5-years at $3.0 AAV, Laughton is a player that any team could use. He plays hard every shift, can play mostly anywhere in the lineup, brings energy and is a fantastic presence in the locker-room. I don’t see Chuck exposing Laughton to Seattle resulting in him risking losing him for nothing when there were teams calling him a couple months ago willing to give up assets.
Nolan Patrick ($874,125)
I can already hear people screaming about this one, 4G-5A-9P in 52 games is pretty bad, nobody is arguing that. I didn’t expect him to come back and light things up but I’d be lying to you if I was to say I was expecting what we got. It was good to see him be able to play hockey again, playing 50+ games with no pre-season and a short training camp can’t be easy. This pick is more me having the mindset where I just don’t think they’re going to leave a 2nd overall pick, 22 year old center left exposed to be selected for nothing, I just don’t. I think the organization still thinks they can get something of value if anything.
Ivan Provorov ($6.7)
Yeah, he’s not going anywhere. The only time I want Provorov’s name mentioned this summer is when Chuck is sitting in-front of the Philly media talking about what defenseman he just went out and grabbed to eat minutes with him.
Make it happen, Chuck.
Travis Sanheim (RFA)
Unless he’s used in a trade to go get a defenseman, Sanheim will be protected. Paired with a defensive-defenseman, I still think Sanheim could bounce back. After Sanheim-Myers couldn’t be deployed any longer, we did see Sanheim’s play elevate at times when paired with Braun, a more veteran presence. Interested to see who Chuck pairs with Sanheim if he’s not moved for another defenseman. I mentioned how Sanheim seemed to play well when paired with Braun but I don’t think a:
Provorov – ??
Sanheim – Braun
Top 4 unit is maximizing your roster to the fullest. We’ll see if Chuck decides to maybe upgrade Brauns spot and get somebody who brings the same presence just a little younger and faster.
Phil Myers ($2.5)
Same thing goes for Myers here, unless he’s moved in a trade to go get another defenseman, he’ll be protected. It’s between Myers or Gostisbehere and I think it’s pretty safe to say the Flyers don’t want to protect Ghost and his $4.5 million dollar cap hit over a 24 year old right-handed defenseman that makes $2.5.
Carter Hart (RFA)
My face if you thought this was going to be anybody else:
#79 is getting protected.
Notable Players left Unprotected:
Jake Voracek ($8.2)
A quote from Chuck from that Snow the Goalie interview describes this whole Jake situation perfectly.
“When you make that kind of money in a flat cap era, you’re going-you know, there are going to be conversations involving you, just the way it is.”
Jake is still a productive player, he scored 9G-34A-43P in 53 games putting him in a 3-way tie for first on the team with JVR & Giroux (43). Nobody is sitting here and saying he’s still not productive, it’s just that cap hit. The chance Chuck has at getting that $8.2 off the books is something that he just can’t ignore, especially in a flat-cap world that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.
Shayne Gostisbehere ($4.5)
Shayne has been on the trade-block for what seems like forever now. He actually had a pretty solid year despite getting covid in the beginning of the season. He worked his way back from that only to be waived in March. 9G-11A-20P in 41 games, Shayne had that hop in his step again, something that we’ve all missed watching. Nine goals put Ghost 7th in all the NHL in goals for a defenseman. That all being said, there was no way Shayne was getting protected. Interested to see if Seattle takes a gamble on Ghost or Jake with Hakstol being over there now.
James van Riemsdyk ($7.0)
Kind of the same story here for JVR as it was for Voracek, it’s more about his contract ($7.0 AAV) then it is about him as a player. Sure, JVR is streaky and fans (including me) have gotten on him for it but overall JVR had a really good year for us. 17G-26A-43P in 56 games, he was actually one of the bright spots in what was an awful year. Again, if he didn’t make $7.0 a year maybe we’re talking about something else, but he doesn’t.
Nicolas Aube-Kubel ($1.075)
I’m guilty of putting too much stock into NAK after his 2019-2020 season. We saw him break on-to the scene with his nasty forechecking, smooth stick lifts and dirty snipes. We saw him finally graduate and go from a AHL player to a full-time NHL player, putting up 7G-8A-15P in 36GP. Not crazy stats but he made his presence felt in 19-20′. Unfortunately, NAK didn’t have the strongest first full year in the NHL, scoring just 3G-9A-12P in 50 games. I thought he was on the same path as a Scott Laughton, AHL bound for a while in the beginning of his career until he figured out the kind of game that’s going to keep him in the NHL. I guess not, we’ll see.
Other Semi-Notable players left Unprotected
German Rubstov ($750,000)
22nd overall pick in 2016, Rubstov played his 2020-2021 season in the KHL, scoring 3G-8A-11P in 46 games. The Flyers still own his NHL rights.
Pascal Laberge (RFA)
36th overall pick in 2016, Laberge is a skilled player that just has never had any luck with injuries. He posted 3G-1A-4P in 14 games for the Phantoms in the AHL. He started to come on a little bit towards the end of the Phantoms season, seemed to start getting his legs under him.
Carsen Twarysnki (RFA)
Carsen has been going back and forth between the AHL and NHL for a couple seasons now. He played seven games for the Flyers scoring zero points, while also playing in two games with the Phantoms scoring zero points.
Justin Braun ($1.8)
I like Braun, I thought he actually had a pretty solid season last year despite how bad the defense was as a whole. I mentioned earlier that Chuck might look to replace Braun with a little big younger, more mobile veteran presence for a guy like Cam York who might play in his first NHL season in a third-pairing, sheltered kinda of role. That being said, I could still see Braun back next year and wouldn’t mind at all if he was the veteran guy Chuck paired with Cam.
Robert Hagg ($1.6)
Don’t see him getting selected unless Hak loved Hagg THAT MUCH. Whether or not Seattle selects him, I don’t see Hagg back in Philadelphia next year.
Mandatory Credit: Capfriendly.com,