Kraken Select Carsen Twarynski From the Philadelphia Flyers

The Flyers lost 23-year-old forward Carsen Twarynski to the Seattle Kraken in the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft on Wednesday. Frank Seravalli first reported the transaction this morning. The move reunites him with Seattle head coach Dave Hakstol, who manned the Flyers’ bench while Twaryski made his rise through the minors.

The implications of the move might be bigger than the loss itself. Seattle’s decision to select Twarynski lessens the likelihood of a rumored blockbuster chain of transactions. The Kraken reportedly will not select Vladimir Tarasenko of the St. Louis Blues, which would’ve increased his chances to ultimately move to the Flyers. Choosing a player like Twarynski was brought up by Charlie O’Connor on the Broad Street Hockey Radio podcast on Monday as a long-shot move; an effectual “punt” of the pick.

The Kraken Add Twarynski

Twarynski brings very little NHL experience. He played two seasons for the Kelowna Rockets of the Western Hockey League (WHL) before being drafted by the Flyers in third round of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. He played an additional three seasons in the WHL before making the leap to the professional level for five games with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in 2017-18.

Related: Seattle Kraken Expansion Draft Tracker

He showed potential to become a depth forward in the NHL during the 2018-19 season with the Phantoms. In 69 games played, Twarynski scored 10 goals and added 24 assists. He showed enough during training camp with the Flyers in 2019 to build a case as a fringe roster player entering the season. He played 15 games during the 2019-20 and finished with only one point. His spot in the bottom-six forward group was taken over by prospect Connor Bunnaman over the course of the season. He rotated between the NHL and AHL since the hiring of head coach Alain Vigneault, receiving his most significant playing time in 2020-21 during the COVID-19 outbreak among Flyers players.

Carsen Twarynski Flyers
Carsen Twarynski, Philadelphia Flyers, Sept. 13, 2017 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The greater allure for the Kraken was likely the relatively cheap contract. Twarynski is an unrestricted free agent. He made just north of $775,000 in 2020-21, and he will likely garner a similar number on his next contract. Given Seattle’s priority of selecting more expensive players to fill the team’s most important roles, there was a need to fill out the bottom of the roster with younger players that won’t command high salaries.  

New Direction for the Flyers

The loss of Twarynski does not create a significant roster hole. However, much of the discussion leading up to the expansion draft in regard to the Flyers was the possibility of losing a big-name veteran with an expensive contract. Jakub Voracek, Shayne Gostisbehere, and James van Riemsdyk all remain on the roster for now. The relatively inconsequential loss likely indicates that more moves will come, most likely within the next 48 hours ahead of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft.

The Flyers addressed their top need — a right-handed, top-pair defenseman — with the acquisition of Ryan Ellis. Ellis adds a $6.25 million cap hit on the blue line, which likely means an additional move to clear salary space is imminent. Gostisbehere, a once-expected franchise cornerstone, still finds himself in an uncertain situation despite surviving the expansion draft. Voracek is reportedly expecting to move on after 10 seasons in Philadelphia.

The following players remain with the Flyers despite being exposed:

  • Andy Andreoff
  • Connor Bunnaman
  • David Kase
  • Pascal Laberge
  • Samuel Morin
  • German Rubtsov
  • Jakub Voracek
  • James van Riemsdyk
  • Mikhail Vorobyev
  • Chris Bigras
  • Justin Braun
  • Shayne Gostisbehere
  • Robert Hagg
  • Derrick Pouliot
  • Nate Prosser
  • Tyler Wotherspoon
  • Brian Elliott
  • Alex Lyon
  • Felix Sandstrom