March 01, 2017
The Flyers reached two-year contract extensions with goaltender Michal Neuvirth and forward Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, according to Ron Hextall.
While trade rumors were flying around the NHL as the deadline approaches, there was speculation about both of the Flyers goalies. Neither Steve Mason nor Neuvirth have played particularly well this season, and they are both free agents this summer.
If we’re simply looking at their current salaries, Mason ($4,100,000) will be costlier to re-sign than Neuvirth ($1,625,000). And with potentially that in mind, ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun first reported that the Flyers were re-signing Neuvy as the trade deadline nears. What does this mean for Mason? Well, we'll see.
Neuvirth's two-year deal with the Flyers is worth $5 million in total; $2.5 M AAV— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) March 1, 2017
After a strong first season in Philadelphia (which included a couple of ridiculous performances against Washington in the playoffs), Neuvirth has regressed big time in 2016-17. The 28-year-old Czech netminder is sporting a career-low .887 save percentage, and like we saw in the Stadium Series game on Saturday, he has frankly given up too many soft goals.
The $2.5 million AAV is a raise on the $1.6 million that Neuvirth is making this season.
It will interesting to see how the Flyers decide to address their goaltending situation in free agency. In Corey Pronman’s latest midseason prospect rankings, the Orange and Black had three of the top eight netminders outside of the NHL. That list includes Lehigh Valley’s Anthony Stolarz, who made a brief cameo in Philly this season. The pipeline is fairly strong in that regard.
According to CSN’s Tim Panaccio, Neuvirth was mum on any extension talk at Flyers practice on Wednesday: "I don't know, I don't know. You got to talk to Hexy about that."
Later on deadline day, Sportsnet’s Eliotte Friedman first reported that the Flyers are also looking to bring back Bellemare at double his current salary:
Hearing PHI closing in on extension with P-E Bellemare. Word is two years, $1.45M AAV. I'm a fan.— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) March 1, 2017
On the surface, it looks like a questionable move to bring back the well-liked Bellemare at that number. At 31 years old, the Frenchman doesn’t particularly drive play and he also contributes very little in the scoring column (six points in 62 games).
Bellemare’s main value comes on the penalty kill, but the Flyers have been below average in that regard during his time in Philadelphia.
Will Ron Hextall make a trade before the deadline (potentially Mason)? We'll be here to update you with any of the latest rumors.
Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann