It’s been a whirlwind of an offseason for Chuck Fletcher and the Philadelphia Flyers. From solidifying an abysmal blueline to shaking the locker room to its core, there have been strikes aplenty that now have the fanbase excited as soon as once more. That pleasure began early, as the Flyers dealt away Nolan Patrick and Phil Myers to Nashville for veteran defenseman Ryan Ellis. Days later, the Flyers flipped their first spherical choose, one other choose, and Robert Hagg for Buffalo Sabres behemoth Rasmus Ristolainen.
Fletcher then entered free company with a little bit change in his pocket. With that change, he signed Keith Yandle, Martin Jones, Nate Thompson, and Derick Brassard. He introduced again Carter Hart and Travis Sanheim. The worth of these contracts appeared excessive, however they crammed out the remainder of this roster which seems set for opening night time.
Now comes coaching camp. Every of those new acquisitions will discover themselves battling it out for a spot within the lineup. Some spots extra concrete than others, the position of every participant will probably be set in stone by the top of camp. It’s a crucial time for these new Flyers to exit and stake their declare to a spot on the crew. With that being stated, the influence of merely buying these gamers will probably be felt inside this group. It’s laborious to argue that there are any unhealthy ripple results to those strikes to be sincere.
Chuck’s first acquisition this offseason was lengthy overdue, however completely executed. Rumors of an Ellis deal popped up through the season, however have been squelched comparatively shortly. A majority of these deal take a while to develop, however it appears the framework had already been laid lengthy earlier than it really went down. Now that he’s a Flyer, you’re a prime defensive pairing that would stick collectively till 2025. If they’ll gel like Niskanen and Provorov did, the Flyers have a potent prime pair for a superb chunk of time.
Bringing Ryan Ellis in additionally provides the Flyers the posh of not having to depend on Justin Braun this coming season. Coming into final season, Phil Myers was the presumed to be the successor to Matt Niskanen. When that fell flat on its face, Justin Braun was anticipated to fill that position. Whereas it wasn’t a full catastrophe, it wasn’t fairly a hit. Now that Ellis is within the fold, Braun will be bumped down the lineup and put right into a extra restricted position.
Buying Ellis additionally provides Provorov a Niskanen-type presence subsequent to him in just about all conditions. It may ease his minutes per night time figuring out that Ellis may play the penalty kill. Provorov’s best season came adjacent to Niskanen, so there’s hope that he can return to that type of himself with Ellis as a accomplice.
The associated fee to accumulate Rasmus Ristolainen was vital, so let’s get that out of the way in which in the beginning. Bringing in a man who stands 6’4″ and weighs 220lbs will price a fairly penny, however that’s as a result of, in his personal phrases, he’s an asshole to play towards. That is implausible information, as a result of for those who take away the “gap” from the earlier sentence, that’s precisely what the Flyers defense played like last season.
Very similar to Ryan Ellis on the primary pair, Ristolainen will probably solidify the second pairing with newly signed Travis Sanheim. Farther from that, it means Justin Braun will not have to play top-four minutes on the Flyers protection. Absolutely that’s a welcome change from him being pressed into responsibility on the highest pair final season. Ristolainen is no stranger to an expanded role contemplating he was the highest defenseman for the Sabres for a very long time. Bringing somebody like that in and placing him in a lesser position ought to pay dividends for the Flyers.
The final sort of ripple impact this acquisition has on the roster is that it replaces Phil Myers. Having lost Myers in the Ellis deal, Ristolainen provides us a heavier, stronger defenseman with extra expertise and extra toughness. Having somebody that’s a whole and utter ache to play towards speaks volumes, and Ristolainen is a big ache to play towards. He persistently completed within the top-five on his crew in blocked pictures and hits throughout his time with Buffalo. All issues the Flyers really want to enhance upon this season.
This transfer got here as a shock to many. Keith Yandle had offers on the table from teams that had much more success than the Flyers final season, however selected to come back to Philadelphia. Absolutely his relationship with Kevin Hayes helped, however in the end it’ll be Yandle himself that helps this Flyers crew add a little bit spark that was lacking after Shayne Gostisbehere was traded to the Arizona Coyotes. With Yandle in tow, he now solidifies the underside pair with Justin Braun, giving the duo a steadiness of Braun and his defensive type of play and Yandle’s potential to create offense from the blueline.
Most significantly, this transfer makes it abundantly clear that Chuck Fletcher is keen to let Cam York develop earlier than thrusting him into the highlight earlier than he might not be prepared. Too usually we’ve seen gamers be thrown to the wolves out of necessity solely to have it backfire. With the signing of Keith Yandle, York is afforded the posh of honing his craft within the AHL with the Phantoms. Not solely that, but when he does power Fletcher’s hand and get known as as much as the Flyers, he has among the best offensive-minded defensemen to study from in Yandle.
Martin Jones wasn’t exactly the consensus pick to back up Carter Hart. Many wished larger fish within the sea that was free company, however in the end Chuck Fletcher settled for the previous San Jose Shark. Jones will be reuniting with Kim Dillabaugh, whom he performed for whereas with the Los Angeles Kings. He additionally provides the Flyers a backup goaltender who will probably have the ability to play at a better stage for longer durations of time in comparison with Brian Elliott.
Whereas it was by no means actually a priority, signing Jones additionally affords the Flyers time to develop their younger squadron of goalies down within the minors. Felix Sandstrom will probably be the beginning goaltender for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms this upcoming season. Kirill Ustimenko could begin the 12 months as backup whereas getting back from surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left hip. Samuel Ersson has now made the bounce to North America, so he’ll probably see time with the Studying Royals in an effort to acquire his footing on this aspect of the world. Not one of the three seem prepared for a backup position within the NHL, and the signing of Martin Jones places the ultimate nail in that coffin.
Bringing again Nate Thompson didn’t look like a transfer made out of necessity. Whereas that could be the case, it’s positively a transfer that would assist the crew within the short-term. Thompson supplies veteran competitors come coaching camp. The very best he would play within the lineup would probably be on the fourth line, so it’s straightforward to check him giving guys like Tanner Laczynski, Jackson Cates, and Connor Bunnaman a little bit of a push for that final spot on the roster. If Thompson outplays the aforementioned trio, it provides them time to work on their recreation down with the Phantoms. There’s not a lot to this transfer on the floor, however it’s nonetheless a stable transfer nonetheless.
The Flyers most up-to-date transfer was essentially the most surprising of the bunch. They introduced in Derick Brassard on a one 12 months deal value $825k. The cash is nice, time period is brief, so the signing is smart. It makes that rather more sense once you discuss concerning the one Flyer that pops up in dialogue yearly earlier than coaching camp: Morgan Frost.
At this level in his profession, Brassard is a bottom-six participant. With Thompson being nothing greater than a fourth liner, it’s honest to imagine Brassard will be playing on the third line, likely at the center position. Whereas nonetheless in a position to play wing, the Flyers could look to maintain Laughton on the wing which, in flip, would slot Brassard on the heart place. There’ll probably be a battle at camp for the 3C place, as many consider Morgan Frost may take that spot away from Brassard. Right here’s the truth of the scenario…
Morgan Frost has played in two games since March 12 of 2020. That’s not two NHL video games, that’s two skilled hockey video games. Frost has a number of work to do in the case of getting again into recreation form, rehabbing his harm, and being able to take an NHL roster spot from somebody who performed in all-but three video games this previous season. AND THAT’S OK! Bringing in Brassard permits Frost the time to ease again into competitors. It provides him the chance to get again to enjoying his type of hockey with out all of the stress of performing on the NHL stage.
On the flip aspect of that coin, Brassard presents a very unique opportunity for Frost come training camp. If Frost can present up and outperform the 13-year NHL veteran, it’ll show that he’s prepared for the NHL. Brassard’s deal is the epitome of low-risk, high-reward in each sense of the time period.
Atkinson coming to the Flyers caught many by surprise, but additionally proved to be among the best strikes of the offseason. The town has already fallen in love with the man, and rightfully so. His type of play and presence off the ice has endeared him to the Flyer trustworthy instantly. What will have them falling even more head over heels is his style of play. He’s relentless, he’s a grinder, he’s going to present you every little thing he’s obtained on each shift, each night time. This man is what Flyers hockey must be.
By way of a spot within the lineup, this may very well be a toss-up. Without any consideration-handed shot, it may stand to motive that the Flyers put him on the highest line with Couturier. What which may do in-turn is slide Giroux down the lineup. Using the term “spreading the wealth” certainly applies here. If he performs his reverse hand, then he’s on the wing reverse of Giroux with Couturier.
While Voracek found himself in a middle-six role with the Flyers for most of last season, it may give some youthful Flyers a chance to slip as much as that very same sort of position and make an influence. Joel Farabee is a chief candidate for an expanded position. If that’s the case, Wade Allison may even see his position broaden as nicely. There may very well be a while on the powerplay, perhaps even penalty kill. It opens up the choices for youthful gamers who wish to actually carve out their place on this crew.
Every acquisition fills a necessity for the Flyers. With that need being filled, the ripple effects are now being felt throughout the roster. Expectations have seemingly been set for the youthful gamers who may push a number of the veterans for roster spots. They’ve additionally been set for the veterans who have been introduced in to bolster this lineup. The gauntlet has been seemingly laid out, and it’s time to search out out which gamers really belong on the 2021/22 Flyers roster.