Back and forth they go. The Philadelphia Flyers suddenly find themselves in an involuntary game of tug-of-war. Recent inconsistent play has the orange and black bouncing around the Eastern Conference playoff standings. Currently, winning games and positioning themselves for a playoff spot continues to be the main focus. However, there are a select few Flyers getting sidetracked by the state of their current contract situation.
Philadelphia will have 12 unsigned players when the final horn sounds on this season. It’s nothing they haven’t faced before, but some of the contract negotiations won’t be the easiest to figure out. Among the 12 players, five are forwards, five are defensemen and two are goaltenders.
The messiest part of this whole circumstance is that five of those players are restricted free agents. This means that the Flyers may have to get into potential bidding wars with some teams. That’s a position they’re really hoping they can solve quickly with forward Brayden Schenn.
Schenn, 22, is having an outstanding season as he’s posted 13 goals and 17 assists in 48 games this season. He’s on pace to have career-highs in both of those categories by season’s end. While those numbers aren’t monstrous, he and his agent will surely be asking for more than what he is making this season which is almost the league minimum.
Michael Raffl and Erik Gustafsson are two other players making statements for new contracts after this season. Philadelphia’s front office would be foolish to let them slip away. Then again, there’s a lot more that goes into this process than fans recognize.
What are the priorities of the team? How long do they want to sign for? How much money are they asking for? What’s the state of the upcoming draft? All these questions are valid things to ponder about when it comes to restructuring the contracts of these 12 players.
Besides Schenn, Raffl and Gustafsson, the other nine potential free agents include Steve Downie, Adam Hall, Chris VandeVelde, Kimmo Timonen, Andrej Meszaros, Hal Gill, Steve Mason and Ray Emery. Marc-Andre Bourdon is technically a free agent as well, but due to a concussion, he hasn’t played a single game this season.
Some players will be back and some won’t. As hit-or-miss as the Flyers’ executive decisions have been over the years, fans can only hope for the best this offseason.