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June 27, 2017

What they're saying about Flyers: Projecting the roster, free agent goalies and Hextall's savvy move

Flyers NHL
030315_hextall_ap Matt Slocum/AP

Flyers GM Ron Hextall.

With the NHL Draft now in the rearview, it's on to the next portion of the offseason: free agency.

But before moving on entirely, there are some draft leftovers – and some free agency fodder mixed in as well – that we need to address first. It's kind of a mixed bag in today's edition of "What They're Saying," but the good news is that means there will likely be something for everyone.

Here's a quick recap of our recent Flyers coverage in case you need a quick refresher:

•  Mark Recchi elected into Hockey Hall of Fame (Rich Hofmann)

•  Scouting reports, highlights and more for all seven of Flyers' Day 2 draft picks (Mullin)

•  NHL Draft Grade Roundup: Flyers get high marks for first round (Hofmann)

•  McGuire: With Patrick, Flyers have 'murderers' row' that will take them to playoffs (Mullin)

•  Flyers trade Brayden Schenn to Blues for Jori Lehtera, pair of first-round picks (Mullin)

•  Flyers select center Nolan Patrick with second-overall pick  (Mullin)

•  Twitter reacts to Flyers drafting Nolan Patrick with the No. 2 overall pick (Hofmann)

And, now, here's a look at what they're saying:

Projecting the Flyers 2017-18 roster

Sam Carchidi | The Philadelphia Inquirer

Sam took a look at the expected lineup for Dave Hakstol. He wrote more about each line and defensive pairing – you can read that, here – but here’s what he sees shaking up between now and the start of the season…

Aside from the goalie situation, the rest of the team isn’t a big mystery. Oh, there will be spirited battles in training camp and there may be a few surprises. But barring injuries, the lineup could look something like this:

TOP LINE: Claude Giroux centering Travis Konecny and Jake Voracek.
SECOND LINE: Nolan Patrick centering Oskar Lindblom and Wayne Simmonds.
THIRD LINE: Sean Couturier centering Jordan Weal and Valtteri Filppula.
FOURTH LINE: Mike Vecchione or Scott Laughton centering Jori Lehtera and Weise.


Ivan Provorov and Andrew MacDonald
Radko Gudas and Robert Hagg
Shayne Gostisbehere and Sam Morin
Brandon Manning and Travis Sanheim will also contend…

Potential free agent goalies for Flyers

Tom Dougherty, Jordan Hall and Greg Paone |

You didn’t see goalie listed above, because that may change quickly in free agency. For now, it’s Michael Neuvirth and Anthony Stolarz. But the guys over at CSN Philly – namely Tom Dougherty, Jordan Hall and Greg Paone – have been going through some free agents who might fit the Flyers, and most recently they took a look at a pair of goalies, one of whom you’re more than a little familiar with… 


Dougherty's projection

I don’t think Bernier is the best option available for the Flyers but the most likely. Maybe I’m putting too much weight on the Hextall connection here, maybe not... If I had to predict which goaltender on the market will be here next season, it is Bernier.

Hall's projection

I see Bernier as one of the least realistic options for the Flyers… The role and price in which the Flyers will offer shouldn't attract Bernier much. From the sound of Hextall, I expect him to be judicious in adding a goalie. This sounds much more like a stopgap, temporary position than anything future oriented.

There's a connection with the Flyers' GM here, but that might be it when it comes to the Bernier scenario.

Paone's projection

With Neuvirth entrenched here, how much opportunity would there actually be for Bernier here? Would the Flyers present the type of opportunity he's looking for after last year's showing with the Ducks? My guess is no. He'll likely want an opportunity to take on much more of a workload.

So while the option is intriguing for many reasons and it certainly isn't out of the realm of possibility, I ultimately feel this is an option both he and the Flyers pass on.  []

And here's a look at some of what they had to say about Steve Mason...


Dougherty's projection

Mason is the Flyers' best option. He's the best goalie on the market. But with Neuvirth in the fold and how he was handled in Philly the last couple of seasons, I'm not so sure Mason would want to come back to the Flyers. With that said, I think it's more likely he'll be back with the team now than it was entering the offseason for a couple of reasons.

Hall's projection

Sure, between the pipes, there aren't many opportunities elsewhere — but with another team, Mason can at least find a fresh start and new chances at fighting for a No. 1 job. Mason is a sharp guy and his return should be strongly considered by the Flyers. I just don't see it happening. 

Paone's projection

Nothing is impossible or out of the question, but this is a situation in which it's best for both parties to shake hands and move on to their respective next chapters.  []

Hextall’s savvy wheeling and dealing on draft night

Ryan Gilbert |

On the surface, it may look like Ron Hextall paid a steep price to move up nine spots in the second round, but Ryan Gilbert of does a great job of breaking down how it wasn’t actually that much once you trace those assets back to their origins – and consider what they got in return…

Breaking it all down, the Flyers moved up nine spots in the second round to draft Isaac Ratcliffe by trading their third round pick (with the safety net pick acquired for Zac Rinaldo) and the fourth round pick acquired for Chris Pronger and Nicklas Grossman, along with another safety net pick acquired for Mark Streit.

So, when you look at it that way, it becomes an even better trade for the Flyers given the direction the team is going in right now.

Picks acquired for Zac Rinaldo, Chris Pronger, Nicklas Grossmann and Mark Streit for a first-round talent? I’ll take it. []

July 1 is important – even if you don’t currently have cap space

Sam Donnellon | The Philadelphia Daily News

According to, the Flyers are $12.5 million under the cap with 16 of 23 roster spots signed. The expiring contracts of Matt Read ($3.5 million) and Valtteri Filppula ($5 million) will provide flexibility for 2018-19, but they’ve got a few deals extending beyond then that already make you wince (Andrew MacDonald, $5 million; Jori Lehtera, $4.7 million.)

Come Saturday, an offer, a lack of an offer, or a disinterest in such an offer will give general managers around the league a better feel for who might be available at this time next season. A young, cap-flexible team such as the Flyers might find that one key veteran presence to add to an improving roster. Right place, right time. That sort of thing.  []

Brayden Schenn ‘shocked’ by being traded

Tim Panaccio |

Schenn said on Friday night he was “shocked” at being traded to the St. Louis Blues for Jori Lehtera and multiple draft picks. His agent texted him in the first round, saying he might be traded.

“I wasn’t really paying attention to picks 10 to 20, and then I got a text from my agent saying St. Louis was involved [in talks with the Flyers], but really nothing was imminent,” Schenn said on Sunday. “And after he said that, 30 seconds later, Hexy called and, boom, it happened.”

He said he leaves Philadelphia with “mixed emotions.”

“I spent six years in Philly and had an awesome time there,” he said. “Great teammates and a great organization. But I’m excited to go to St. Louis and get a great opportunity.”  []

Follow Matt on Twitter: @matt_mullin

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