Flyers say they don’t expect to be too active in free agency

Daniel Briere

      LAS VEGAS — With the Flyers insisting they will stick to their rebuilding plan, the last thing they want is another big free-agent contract.

     The team caught a lot of the NHL by surprise last season when they hung around a playoff spot for 124 days before a late slump sent it spiraling home early for the fourth consecutive year.

     On Saturday, after the 2024 NHL Draft concluded at The Sphere, general manager Daniel Briere was asked what his plan was for the start of the free-agent signing period, which begins on Monday.

     Having already bought out the final year of Cam Atkinson’s contract on Friday and picked up a little more than $5 million in salary cap space, Briere does have some capital to make some kind of move if he chooses.

     Plus, the salary cap is about to rise from $83.5 million to $88 million this upcoming season, so there’s that to consider.

     Do the Flyers have more flexibility?

     “Not really,” Briere said. “I still expect it to be slow. It could always change. But I expect it to be slow, even with buying out Cam. We had no choice but to buy out Cam, just to put us in a decent position. We’re not out of the woods with the salary cap. So don’t expect too much.”

      The Flyers have gone on record to say they are a bit short at the center position right now. Sean Couturier, the team captain, is probably considered the top center but he slumped badly late last season, this after missing a season and a half due to back surgeries.

      The bottom line is, the Flyers could probably use help at all three forward positions.

      Don’t look for the Flyers to go after some of the big names at forward on the free-agent list. Those include Jack Guentzel (who was traded from Carolina to Tampa Bay on Sunday), Florida’s Sam Reinhart, Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos, Vegas’ Jonathan Marchessault, Vancouver’s Elias Lindholm, Dallas’ Matt Duchene, Detroit’s Patrick Kane and Winnipeg’s Tyler Toffoli.

      Those free agents more in the Flyers’ price range might include Toronto’s Tyler Bertuzzi, Colorado’s Jonathan Drouin, Toronto’s Max Domi, Winnipeg’s Sean Monahan and Florida’s Vladimir Tarasenko.

      A number of these players are well past their 30th birthday and if the Flyers want to drop the average age of their roster, most of those free agents probably don’t fit the bill.

      However, if the Flyers want to avoid missing the playoffs for a franchise-record fifth straight season, it might be wise to at least have a little more veteran presence up front.

      /n

      Development camp opens Tuesday: The Flyers’ development camp opens on Tuesday at the Flyers Training Center in Voorhees, New Jersey. There will be sessions during the day on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. There is no public access on Thursday, July 4. Admission is free. It’s a good chance to get a look at some of the future Flyers, including some of the recent draft picks.

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About Wayne Fish 2473 Articles
Wayne Fish has been covering the Flyers since 1976, a stint which includes 18 Stanley Cup Finals, four Winter Olympics and numerous other international events.