Quick Hits: June 17, 2021
1) Much has been said and written of late about whether the Flyers can (or should) seek to acquire Seth Jones from the Columbus Blue Jackets, presuming he is willing to sign a multi-year extension in Philadelphia. I'm not going to wade into it again right now. I said all I have to say for now when Jason Myrtetus and I spent a segment of the June 7 Flyers Daily podcast
discussing Jones. All that I will add is that I want to see the Flyers have a lot of irons in the fire right now, considering numerous different avenues for improving the team this offseason in conjunction with some salary cap restructuring to open space.
Apart from Jones or Dougie Hamilton -- the Flyers need to do their due diligence on both players -- there are other defensemen out there who could help the team. They could circle back on the idea of acquiring Mattias Ekholm (with or without a contract extension beyond 2021-22). They may explore scenarios for acquiring Ryan Ellis to play a Kimmo Timonen-like role. David Savard is a UFA. Also Alec Martinez is an unrestricted fee agent this summer as is Jamie Oleksiak (of whom I am not a big fan in more than a third-pair role) but particularly in tandem could help to add some needed elements. While I wouldn't want Rasmus Ristolainen on my top pairing, I'd be fine with him in a number four role if the Flyers go for a Matt Niskanen-type of "chemistry fit" with Ivan Provorov on the top pairing and give Ristolainen a role other than majority D-zone starts, which I've always felt plays to his weaknesses more than his strengths.
I know that some of these scenarios will elicit groans from segments of the fan base. I've gone on the record saying that I think the Flyers should go all-in on Jones as long as he is willing to be here long term. However, I also don't think that Seth Jones or Dougie Hamilton should be the be-all and end-all. If the Flyers can't make the "big-splash" upgrade despite their efforts, they still cannot afford to let the offseason pass without addressing the blueline specifically.
Something else to keep in mind regarding Jones: The major salary cap juggling act with him would NOT be for 2021-22. He is signed for one more season at a $5.4 million cap hit. If the Flyers, for example, were to lose Shayne Gostisbehere ($4.5 million) via the Expansion Draft or a trade where they are not retaining much/any salary, they'd be most of the way toward being able to absorb Jones' cap hit for next season.
The much bigger cap issue that Jones would raise is beyond next season, when an extension would kick in. With Sean Couturier and Claude Giroux each a year away from UFA status, Joel Farabee having only one ELC year left, and other cap-related matters to be ready to address beyond 2021-22, there are many facets to consider on how the Flyers allot their cap dollars in looking to address the blueline -- and other needs -- this summer.
2) There has been less talk about forwards on the free agent market this summer than defensemen. I do, however, think that the Flyers could benefit from getting a little faster, a little bigger/grittier and adding another capable scorer (especially if they end of losing James van Riemsdyk to the Expansion Draft. It's hard to find a single player that addresses all of the above.
One player that I have always liked is St. Louis Blues forward Jaden Schwartz. I have always felt that he makes his linemates better with his speed and energy as well as being capable of producing points on the upper end of a lineup. He's not big. He seems to get banged up his fair share. He didn't have his best offensive year in 2021-22. But he's a proven catalyst in making good things happen for his line when he's healthy, and the Flyers could use such a player if they could lure him to sign and fit him in a salary cap plan.
Whether that's doable, I am a little dubious. But I like the player quite a bit.
Jason Myrtetus has suggested the Flyers look to sign Schwartz's Blues teammate, Mike Hoffman, who is also a UFA this summer. He is a proven goal-scorer and is probably more signable on a one-year or two-year term at a non-exorbitant AAV. I'd be OK with that avenue but I think Schwartz is more of overall impact player even if Hoffman bags a few more goals.
3) Flyers Podcast Roundup: On the next Flyers Daily taping, Jason and I will do our Report Card and Offseason Outlook for the team's forward corps. That edition should run early next week. In other podcasts, there's a treasure trove of current and historical Flyers content in these:
* Jason had a 20-minute conversation with Masterton Trophy winner Oskar Lindblom
* Flyers captain Claude Giroux
was the guest on the most recent edition of the Nasty Knuckles Podcast with Riley Cote and Derek Settlymyre.
* In recent Flyers-focused episodes of Zak Kindrachuk's "My Dad Used to Play Hockey" podcast, Zak interviewed Flyers and Hockey Hall of Fame center and two-stint Flyers general manager Bob Clarke
, Flyers Hall of Fame center Dave Poulin
, Flyers and Hockey Hall of Fame center Eric Lindros
and the Flyers Hall of Fame defensemen brother duo of Joe Watson
. Most recently, Zak had the pleasure of speaking to the legendary Willie O'Ree
* On the Parent/Favell Gen-X Podcast, co-hosts Kim Parent and Corey Favell spoke recently with the likes of Hockey Hall of Fame, U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame and Flyers Hall of Fame defenseman Mark Howe
, hockey broadcaster and Flyers Alumni player Keith Jones
, Blake Allen, the son of legendary Hockey Hall of Fame and Flyers Hall of Fame general manager Keith Allen
. The newest edition is a discussion with longtime Flyers executive and Spectrum president Lou Scheinfeld.