Flyers Need to Make Some Decisions on the Blueline

The Philadelphia Flyers have 11 forwards, 9 defenders and 1 goaltender on the roster and already have accounted for over $69 million dollars. With the current estimate of the salary cap for the 2015-2016, the Flyers already are over the cap.

It’s almost a guarantee that Chris Pronger will be moved to long-term injured reserve again and that will provide about $5 million in cap relief. However, that still leaves the Flyers with eight defenders on the roster, which accounts for $25 million of the cap.

Only the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Rangers have more allocated to their defense for next season. However, both teams have a much more effective and respected blueline.

Then there’s the other problem of the Flyers’ blueline, they have eight defenders for only six starting spots.

Flyers are negotiating with Michael Del Zotto

All of what is mentioned is without even including 24 year-old Michael Del Zotto. He will be a restricted free-agent on July 1st and the Flyers are expecting to have his services again when the season begins.

(Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports)
(Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports)

They have already began initial talks for a contract extension after Del Zotto’s career high 10 goals and 32 points, in 64 games.

He’s a good skater and has the offensive ability to work the powerplay and most importantly, he’s a promising young blueliner.

Implications of Yevgeni Medvedev’s signing

Yevgeni Medvedev signed with the Flyers on a one-year/$3 million dollar contract and has spent the last decade playing in the KHL. He has been named an All-Star three times, played in four World Championships for Russia and participated in the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

He’s a stay-at-home defender and has very limited offensive ability. But with that being said, he’s extremely solid in his own end and was coveted by more than half of the NHL.

(Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports)
(Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports)

His career season in the KHL was 26 points and more than likely that will drop in the NHL.

Medvedev looks to fit perfectly in Flyers’ new head coach Dave Hakstol’s system. He’s looking for large, mobile and smooth skating defenders.

Yevgeni Medvedev should aid in Hakstol’s efforts to improve the Flyers defense during the upcoming season.

Something has to give

The Flyers did not sign Medvedev to a $3 million dollar contract just to cut him or trade him. Del Zotto looks to be coming back to the Flyers and that puts them at nine healthy defenders.

Flyers GM Ron Hextall has already admitted he will be looking to move a defender or two during the offseason.

Just about anyone other blueliner on the Flyers roster could potentially be traded. Could another NHL team take Andrew MacDonald if the Flyers retained a significant amount of his salary?

Andrew MacDonald (Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports)
Andrew MacDonald (Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports)

What about Nick Schultz, Luke Schenn or Nicklas Grossmann?

All three are entering the last year of their contract and there is no conceivable way the Flyers are able to retain all three after next season.

It’s going to be a long and bumpy offseason for the Flyers as they desperately attempt to shred salary in an effort to try and return to the playoffs next season.