After a report surfaced this morning that Shayne Gostisbehere is available for trade, the Philadelphia Flyers have moved to lock up one of their other defensemen. Robert Hagg has signed a new two-year contract that will carry an average annual value of $1.6MM. Hagg was scheduled for restricted free agency next month and was arbitration-eligible. He will now be under contract through the 2021-22 season, after which he will be an unrestricted free agent.
Hagg, 25, was a second-round pick of the Flyers back in 2013 but spent several years in the minor leagues polishing his game. By the time he reached the NHL in 2017, he was a strong, punishing defender that offered a new look for the organization. In fact, over the last three seasons, Hagg has recorded 632 hits, fourth among all NHL defenders and tenth among all skaters. Over the same period, he has blocked 337 shots, a number that puts him only behind Ivan Provorov on the Flyers and still among the league’s best.
No, hits and blocked shots aren’t everything, but with so many other talented puck-moving defensemen in the Flyers system, Hagg’s physical profile fits in well. He offers a different look for opposing teams, while actually taking relatively few minor penalties. At $1.6MM per season, he will still represent an inexpensive option that can be deployed on the third pairing nightly.
For the Flyers, that leaves Philippe Myers and Nolan Patrick as the two biggest restricted free agents left to sign. Justin Braun is also a free agent—though the unrestricted variety—but there are other young options for Philadelphia if they choose to let him walk.