The Philadelphia Flyers have had a busy morning, announcing new one-year contracts for both Taylor Leier and Tyrell Goulbourne and confirming the signing of Danick Martel, also to a one-year deal which had been previously reported. While Martel simply accepted his qualifying offer, the other two contracts were negotiated. No salary terms were revealed by the team, but CapFriendly reports that Leier will make $720K on a one-way deal, while Goulbourne will likely play on a two-way deal similar to Martel’s.
Leier’s contract is interesting for many reasons. The first, and most pressing, is that it negates an August 3rd arbitration hearing date. Leier had filed for salary arbitration after spending the entire 2017-18 season in Philadelphia. While Leier only played in 39 games, it is easy to see why he might not be agreeable to a two-way deal after avoiding the AHL for an entire campaign. However, Leier’s qualifying offer was of a two-way nature. Rather than agree to that deal, the two sides worked out a contract that actually comes in below the qualifying offer value, but with a one-way status. Leier, 24, collected five points last season and will be looking to improve his production in the coming season.
Goulbourne finally cracked the NHL last season after his first two pro years were spent entirely in the minors, including half a season in the ECHL. The 24-year-old managed to get into nine games with the Flyers, though he was held scoreless and saw under six minutes of ice time per night in a fill-in role. Goulbourne wasn’t super productive with the AHL’s Lehigh Valley Phantoms either, recording just 19 points in 63 games. Although Goulbourne is a more defensive-minded forward, he’ll need to show a more well-rounded offensive game if he wants to earn another long stay in Philadelphia.
With these three forwards locked up, Philadelphia has just two more restricted free agents to deal with. Defenseman Robert Hagg, who was very reliable in 70 games as a rookie on the Flyers’ blue line, is a interesting case to follow, as the team needs to be careful about the length and value of the contracts they hand out to their many promising young defenseman, as setting a bad precedent could bury them. The situation with goaltender Anthony Stolarz is also curious, as the young keeper missed most of last season due to injury after previously looking like a future star in seven starts with Philly in 2016-17. He now has to compete with Alex Lyon and Carter Hart for the honor of “heir apparent” and the Flyers might be wondering if that is one goalie too many to compete or at least how much they are willing to pay to keep another young backstop around.