Hathaway, Johnson key re-signings for Flyers

Garnet Hathaway

      VOORHEES, N.J. – Garnet Hathaway exceeded just about everyone’s expectations in his first season with the Flyers last season.

      The rugged right wing was on a two-year deal so the Flyers decided he was so valuable to their future plans, they inked him to a two-year, $4.8-million contract extension on Monday.

      Hathaway, 32, produced seven goals/17 points but his real contributions were his versatility (he played in all 82 games) and his physical play. He was second among all NHL forwards in hits with 326.

      “The way he played for us, how hard he played every single night,” said general manager Daniel Briere at a late Monday afternoon press briefing. “How miserable he made it (for opponents) out there. When teams said we were hard to play against, he was a big reason why. He proved to us he deserved an extension.”

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      >All quiet on the free-agent front: Briere said on Saturday he wasn’t going to do much on Monday’s opening of free agency and that’s exactly what happened – nothing.

      That doesn’t mean he won’t sign someone in the next few days but the chances are unlikely.

      “We did reach out here but there wasn’t much that made sense for where we were (salary-cap wise),” Briere said. “There’s been a few calls. To do something, we needed to clear some cap space. We tried to do some experimenting but nothing has come by so far. We’re going to keep trying but we knew most likely it was going to be quiet today.”

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      Nothing new on Konecny contract talks: Briere didn’t have much to report on any negotiations involving Travis Konecny’s contract, which has one year left at $5.5 million. Konecny is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent beginning with the 2025-26 season.

      “Nothing new,” Briere said. “This is the first day we could officially extend him. Like I said from the beginning, I’m not going to negotiate through the media. But we love Travis and we hope he’s here for a long time.”

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      Possible upcoming trade talks: Briere said there’s a possibility the Flyers could make a deal or two during the offseason.

      The Flyers have a lot of draft picks (including three first-rounders) stockpiled for next season so that’s good trade capital.

      “It’s possible,” he said. “We’re going to try to leverage that the best we can. It’s too early to tell if we’re going to pick or move them. . .use them to upgrade somewhere. It’s a strong possibility. Next year is a really good draft. I’m going to wait and see how good this draft will be. It’s kind of nice to have that leverage on our side.”

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      Hart officially an ex-Flyer: On Sunday, the Flyers decided to decline a qualifying offer to pending UFA goaltender Carter Hart, so that era has officially ended.

      Hart, who is involved with legal matters involving an alleged group assault on a woman, is now free to move on.

      “We just felt it was the right decision to make at this time, unfortunately,” Briere said.

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      Johnson a keeper: The Flyers decided to re-sign defenseman Erik Johnson for another season at $1 million. Briere said he wants Johnson’s veteran presence in the locker room, sort of the way it was with veteran Marc Staal last season.

      “He (Staal) was tremendous with guys like Cam York, Egor Zamula and now Jamie Drysdale,” Briere said. “We have Adam Ginning and Hunter McDonald knocking on the door. We wanted another veteran guy around, sort of like the role Marc had last year. His leadership in the room was amazing. Just like Marc, he’s not going to be in the way, slowing the growth of our young guys. He’s there to help them grow.”

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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.