Welcome to Philadelphia Flyers News & Rumors. Topics for this edition include the Seattle Kraken’s selection of Carsen Twarynski from the Flyers in the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft on July 21, the trade with the Arizona Coyotes involving Shayne Gostisbehere, the release of the 2021-22 NHL schedule, and the trade with the Buffalo Sabres for Rasmus Ristolainen. The NHL Draft is July 23-24 and free agency begins on July 28.
Kraken Select Flyers’ Twarynski in Expansion Draft
Carsen Twarynski was selected from the Flyers in the expansion draft and was one of many selections not anticipated by the new franchise. The native of Calgary, AB was selected from the Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League by the Flyers in the third round of the 2016 Entry Draft with the 82nd overall selection. The forward made the NHL roster out of training camp to begin the 2019-20 season, but struggled to make a consistent impact on the stat sheet.
Twarynski had one goal in 22 games with the Flyers and 38 points in 107 games in the American Hockey League (AHL) with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. His NHL underlying metrics (39.53 percent Corsi For, 34.38 percent xG For at five-on-five, per Evolving-Hockey) “don’t speak to a potential diamond-in-the-rough find on the part of Seattle.” (from ‘Flyers miss out on a chance to clear crucial cap space as Kraken select Carsen Twarynski in expansion draft,’ The Athletic, 07/21/2021)
Gostisbehere Traded to Coyotes to Free up Cap Space
Defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere, whose future with the Flyers had been in question for several months, was traded to the Coyotes on July 22 that included the orange and black sending a second-round and seventh-round draft selection to Arizona. According to an article by Charlie O’Connor, the Flyers lead writer at The Athletic, “this wasn’t a swap meant to make the Flyers better in a vacuum. In fact, it wasn’t a swap at all. It was entirely a case of Fletcher looking to jettison the final two seasons of Gostisbehere’s six-year, $27 million ($4.5 million cap hit) contract.” (from ‘Why the Flyers paid the price to trade Shayne Gostisbehere to Coyotes: “This is purely a cap move,”‘ The Athletic, 07/22/2021)
Fletcher mentioned the motivation for the trade after the deal was complete.
“This is purely a cap move. When you factor in the expected raises that (Travis) Sanheim and Carter Hart will receive (this offseason) – and we very much want to sign those two players – we didn’t have a lot of space left to fill the holes that we needed to fill.”
The acquisition of defenseman Ryan Ellis on July 17 made the Gostisbehere trade all the more likely as the former has a contract with an average annual value (AAV) of $6.25 million for the next six seasons.
Flyers Begin 2021-22 Season on October 15
The 2021-22 NHL season will begin on Oct. 12, and the Flyers will begin their season on Friday, Oct. 15 versus the Vancouver Canucks in Philadelphia at the Wells Fargo Center. The Flyers will not need to wait long to play the newest NHL franchise, as they will meet the Kraken on Monday, Oct. 18 in Philadelphia. The schedule contains an Olympic break from February 2-22 and the team will conclude their season on April 29 at home versus the Ottawa Senators.
Flyers Trade Hagg and Draft Picks to Sabres for Ristolainen
The Flyers traded defenseman Robert Hagg, their first-round selection (13th overall) of the 2021 Entry Draft, and a second-round draft pick in the 2023 Draft to the Buffalo Sabres for defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen on July 23. The former Sabres defenseman has one year remaining on his contract that will pay him $5.4 million in 2021-22. He was the eighth overall selection by the Sabres in the 2013 NHL Draft and will be 27 years old in October.
The Flyers have acquired two-right shot defensemen within a week after trading for Ellis and now Ristolainen. The presumption would be that Fletcher would look to sign the former Sabre to a long-term extension, as the organization gave up multiple draft picks and a defenseman in the deal for him. Having him for one season then allowing him to leave for another team in free agency next offseason is illogical.
Risto’s bringing size, speed and physicality to the Orange & Black. pic.twitter.com/uhjRpjSw87— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) July 23, 2021
The trade involving Gostisbehere and the deal for Ristolainen left analysts and fans wondering if Fletcher is making the best acquisitions that will be in the best interest of the organization.
Matt covers the Philadelphia Flyers and the Pittsburgh Penguins for The Hockey Writers. Matt’s priority is to contribute exceptional content about the Flyers and Penguins for THW and its readers. To see more of Matt’s writing, visit his portfolio. For interview requests, follow Matt on Twitter that appears at the end of articles for THW.