Bunnaman, 23, has played 39 games for the Flyers to this point, but has just one goal and three assists. The fourth-round pick posted plenty of offense in his first year in the AHL, but even that has disappeared in recent seasons. If he’s to ever be an impact player for Philadelphia, it’ll have to come on the defensive side of the puck as a bottom-six checking center. A full-time position even in that role seems unlikely this season, but he’ll still probably play a good number of games as an injury replacement or rotating into the fourth line on occasion.
The fact that Bunnaman is waiver-eligible now doesn’t really make much of a difference, since he will likely clear if sent to the minor leagues. Perhaps the Flyers will use him in a similar role as last season, bouncing up and down between the AHL and NHL whenever needed. In fact, signing for the minimum actually could help his case when it comes to NHL playing time. Many of the other Flyers’ depth forwards are carrying slightly higher cap hits, meaning if they get into a crunch, the difference between $925K and $750K could be very important. At the very worst, he has secured a good paycheck for the next two years even if he’s in the AHL.
Philadelphia has just one restricted free agent left to sign–Travis Sanheim, who is scheduled for an arbitration hearing later this month.