Flyers News & Rumors: Hart Extension, Tuomaala Contract & More

Welcome to Flyers News & Rumors, where we will look at roster updates as the Philadelphia Flyers continue to tweak their lineup in preparation for training camp in mid-September. Goaltender Carter Hart, a restricted free agent next offseason, signed a new contract with the organization on Aug. 9, which confirms the Flyers’ 2021-22 tandem in net, with Hart as the starter and Martin Jones as the backup. Jones is a recent addition who has previous experience as a starting goaltender with the San Jose Sharks. General manager Chuck Fletcher and head coach Alain Vigneault will hope he helps their young starter as he continues to gain his own experience in the NHL.

Hart Signs Three-Year Extension With Flyers

Hart agreed to a three-year extension worth an average annual value (AAV) of $3.979 million per season that will keep him with the Flyers until after the 2023-24 season. The young goaltender is looking to rebound from a forgettable 2020-21 season that included being a healthy scratch and a premature end to the campaign due to an MCL injury. The team’s defense did not play well in front of him, but Hart regressed from previous seasons and did not look like a starting goalie.

Vigneault challenged Hart to work harder last season, particularly during practice, to improve his game. This offseason, he must learn from struggles, move on and not dwell on his poor season. The 23-year-old has yet to enter his prime, and his previous successes prove he has the talent to be a reliable netminder.

Tuomaala Signs Entry-Level Contract With Flyers

Samu Tuomaala, the Flyers’ top pick in the 2021 NHL Draft, agreed to a three-year, entry-level contract on Aug. 14. Referring to the team’s newest prospect, director of European scouting, Joakim Grundberg said, “Obviously very excited getting him. He was rated as a first-round talent. We were able to get him in the middle of the second round, so we’re really excited about that. To us, he has elite speed and high skill. Very good shot. High-offensive upside. There are things he’s got to work on, like his overall game and obviously getting stronger. We’re really excited. We see a lot of upside there.”

Flyers vice president and assistant general manager Brent Flahr also commented on Tuomaala: “He’s a guy we targeted. We kind of thought he would probably go at the end of the first or somewhere in the 20s, and he fell. A real talented winger. Great skater. Real dynamic speed. Loves to shoot the puck. Talented kid. He’s going to take a little time to get stronger and put on a little weight. A talented kid that has really good offensive upside.”

After a season with the U20 squad from Karpat, where he finished with 31 points (15 goals-16 assists) in 30 games, Tuomaala will play the 2021-22 season in Karpat of the Finnish Liiga.

Wisdom Out Indefinitely After Shoulder Surgery

Forward prospect Zayde Wisdom had shoulder surgery and will be out indefinitely. In 28 games last season for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms – the Flyers’ American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate – he had 18 points (7 goals, 11 assists). He was selected in the fourth round of the 2020 NHL Draft from the Kingston Frontenacs of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) and would have started the 2021-22 season with the Phantoms if not for his surgery.

Charlie O’Connor of The Athletic wrote about the organization’s positional depth and noted that Wisdom might not be as far from NHL ready as initially anticipated and might have been called up to Philadelphia if he’d had a strong start with the Phantoms:

“Zayde Wisdom and Tyson Foerster are long shots to make the club out of camp this year, but their impressive performances in the AHL imply they might not be as far away from NHL readiness as originally thought, and if Darren Dreger’s report from late July that under-20-year-old junior players with at least 20 AHL games played in 2020-21 will be able to return to the AHL in 2021-22 proves true, then Wisdom and Foerster will be just a small step away from their ultimate goals this season,” (from “Flyers offseason depth chart 2.0: Where the lineup stands after a busy offseason” – by Charlie O’Connor, The Athletic, 8/5/21).

The Flyers’ roster is beginning to take shape, with training camp scheduled for September and the first game of the 2021-22 season set for Oct. 15 – a home game against the Vancouver Canucks. By then, we should know if any young players who made their NHL debut last season, like forward Wade Allison and defenseman Cam York, will have earned a regular roster spot after a strong camp and preseason.

For those prospects who have a good preseason but open the campaign with the Phantoms, we’ll see how soon they are promoted to the Flyers and make an impact in the NHL. But Hart needs to show vast improvement and remain consistent for fans and the coaches to put his horrible 2020-21 season to rest.

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