The Philadelphia Flyers were pushed out of the playoffs early by the Pittsburgh Penguins, but still have a good enough core to believe that they can compete next season. There’s no tear down or rebuild happening, but GM Ron Hextall also isn’t looking to land any of the big free agents on the market. Speaking today to media including Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Hextall indicated that he would only be going after unrestricted free agents on short-term deals.
We’re certainly not going to reach out on a seven-year deal on a good player, I can assure you that.
Those comments would seem to take Philadelphia out of the running for both John Tavares and John Carlson (and maybe others), while also directly stating that he hasn’t spoken to the Ilya Kovalchuk camp and doesn’t expect to in the future. Instead, they may look at smaller free agent deals to support their current group. Tavares and Carlson are sure bets for seven-year deals if they hit the market, and could even earn eight-year contracts from their current teams over the next few weeks. Both will have plenty of suitors, and a bidding war that the Flyers clearly don’t want to get involved in.
As for Kovalchuk, he seems to also have healthy interest from around the league after visits to Los Angeles, San Jose, Detroit and several other clubs. The Flyers have their own scoring winger to worry about, as Wayne Simmonds is eligible for an extension on July 1st. The 29-year old has been one of the league’s best bargains for several seasons, and is in line for a huge raise on his next contract.