The Philadelphia Flyers have three men on their current roster that will become unrestricted free agents when the calendar hits July 1st. Three is not a large number of players and none of them are of the franchise-altering variety. Still, General Manager, Ron Hextall, will have to decide what to do with his pending unrestricted free agents.
The choices are quite simple, either extend a player’s contract or let them walk. Due to it being ideal armchair general manager season, I figured it was only appropriate to address the best decision to make regarding each player.
Similar to what Hextall did with Michael Del Zotto in 2014, the Flyers’ General Manager decided to take a chance on another low-risk/high-reward player in Sam Gagner. Since being drafted by the Edmonton Oilers with the 6th overall pick back in 2007, Gagner has failed to live up to his potential. In seven years, he could never record more than 49 points in a single season. His one year with Coyotes did not go much better, acquiring 41 points in 81 games.
Gagner and the Flyers looked at the forward’s arrival to Philadelphia as a chance at a fresh start to demonstrate what he can bring to the ice game in and game out. Unfortunately, the Gagner experiment did not prove to be as successful as the Del Zotto trial the season before. Gagner could only manage eight goals and eight assists, and found himself being occasionally removed from the roster. He demonstrated a few flashes of brilliance but could not produce consistently.
Verdict: Let Him Walk
As I mentioned before, Hextall and the Flyers took a shot on Gagner and it just did not pan out. Luckily they can just let him go on and are not strapped to a burdening contract like moves Philadelphia has made in the past. Hopefully, Gagner will receive another opportunity to prove his critics wrong. It just won’t be with the Flyers.
After spending five seasons as a member of the Montreal Canadiens, Ryan White really found his niche once he arrived in Philadelphia. In his two seasons with the orange and black, he has been an incredibly perfect fit. White’s “leave it all on the ice” mentality has been just what the doctor order for the Flyers. Of course, he is susceptible to the idiotic penalty from time to time but he provides a spark to this team. During the 2015-16 season, White recorded 11 goals and five assists. No, the numbers aren’t fantastic but White is not on the ice for his point production. In addition, he knocked around his opponents with 208 hits and acquired 101 penalty minutes along the way.
Verdict: Bring Him Back
White loves playing in Philadelphia and the Flyers love White. There is no reason to break up a good thing and re-signing White will not cost a lot of money. He made a grand total of $800,000 last season.
Hextall and the Flyers signed defenseman, Evgeny Medvedev, with the home up temporarily fixing up their blueline. The 33-year-old had played his entire professional hockey career in Russia. Unfortunately, Medvedev’s first season in the National Hockey League did not go the way either himself or the Flyers had planned. He only played 45 games for Philadelphia this season in which he recorded 12 total points and committed 27 turnovers.
Verdict: Let Him Walk
Similar to Gagner, the Medvedev in Philadelphia experiment was quite the fail. With the possibility of one or more of the Flyers’ blueline prospects joining the big boys next season, there are more reasons to let him find work elsewhere than to re-sign him.