A major part of the Flyers’ rebuild project looks to be just about complete.
With the recent signings of Owen Tippett (eight years, $49.6 million) and Ryan Poehling (two years, $3.8 million), the Flyers now have all 12 forwards currently on the roster signed for at least through the 2024-25 season.
General manager Daniel Briere still has a few defensemen’s contracts to work out, including those of Sean Walker and Nick Seeler. Also, veteran free agent Marc Staal does not have a contract for next year but there is thought that at age 37 he might consider retirement.
If you’re looking for a possible 800-pound gorilla in the room, it could be the status of top scorer Travis Konecny, who has one more year (2024-25) left on his current deal and could become an unrestricted free agent.
From his side of things, Konecny does not sound overly concerned about upcoming negotiations with Briere. However, after watching both Tippett and Travis Sanheim (eight years, $50 million) get paid a bundle, it will be interesting to see what number Konecny lands on once contract talks get underway.
For the Flyers, just having players such as Tippett, Morgan Frost, Poehling and Noah Cates in the fold for the forseeable future is a bit of a comfort.
It sounds like the Flyers are interested in keeping both Walker and Seeler. The two backliners have been playing above their salaries (Walker is currently at $2.3 million, Seeler at $775,000) and both are favorites of coach John Tortorella.
At first glance, Briere would like to get something done soon with these two as well.
“That’s something on a daily basis we’re looking at,” Briere said. “But I’d rather not tell where we’re at when it comes to negotiating with term guys. Just for the process, it’s the right thing to do.
“I would rather not use the media to negotiate with players.”
Seeler is having a rather incredible season. His plus-15 leads the team and he was a plus-1 in Saturday’s 6-2 loss to Boston when a total of four players (including two defensemen) were an unsightly minus-4.
Also, Seeler is second on the team (and top defenseman) in penalty minutes (65) and has shown a penchant for sticking up for teammates by dropping the gloves when called upon. He’s one of three defensemen (Cam York, Walker the others) and one of seven players overall to have played in all 50 games to date.
Poehling, 25, has been more than a pleasant surprise. He’s played on a number of different lines and has been a big part of the Flyers’ NHL second-ranked penalty kill. Plus, he only signed a one-year ($1.4 million) free-agent deal after walking away from Pittsburgh.
Early in the season, he was valuable as a center for Nick Deslauriers and Garnet Hathaway on the “PHD” fourth line which provided a lot of energy.
“He (Poehling) can help us in many different facets,” Briere said. “The age group that we were looking for when we signed him. We felt we had a chance to add a bigger body (6-foot-2, 204 pounds). He’s been a great fit. ‘Torts’ (coach John Tortorella) says he really likes that he can use him on the PK, faceoffs. . .his speed and size combination helps us.
“There are just a lot of things that he brings to our team. He helps solidify what we have, he’s played well. It’s a contract that’s fair for both sides. It’s not super long. It gives him a chance to maybe even solidify himself and achieve an even bigger contract down the road. For us, it gives us a couple years to let him grow with our young forwards.”