Continuing with their offseason theme of becoming tougher and more difficult to play with, the Philadelphia Flyers will be bringing in veteran forward Antoine Roussel on a PTO. The move hasn’t been confirmed by the Flyers organization yet, however Roussel himself confirmed the news in an interview with Le Quotidie Numerique, a French-speaking paper. Players confirming their own transactions is not necessarily commonplace, but has happened in the past.
Should Roussel latch on with the Flyers, it would mark his fourth NHL team in his ten-year NHL career. One of a few NHLers born in France, Roussel signed as a free agent with the Dallas Stars in the summer of 2012, making his NHL debut later that season. The physical forward spent six years in Dallas, establishing himself as a regular in their lineup, bringing a physical style of play, the willingness to drop the gloves, as well as also a modest offensive game. To that end, Roussel tallied a career-high 29 points twice, including a career-best 14 goals in 2013-14. Roussel moved on to the Vancouver Canucks in the summer of 2018, signing a four-year, $12MM deal, but was sent to the Arizona Coyotes last offseason in the deal that brought Oliver Ekman-Larsson to Vancouver.
The 32-year-old no longer provides the offense he did once upon a time, recording just eight points in 53 games last season, and only four in 35 games the year prior. Still, Roussel does bring a solid defensive game and good penalty killing skills, as well as that toughness he has always been known for. Those skills should come in handy and make him an excellent fit with the Flyers, who are looking to add grit and experience to a lineup that, to some, didn’t seem to have it last year. Newly hired Head Coach John Tortorella has made clear that a slow start in Philadelphia is unacceptable, and adding a player like Roussel may help to that end, or could at least push other players already under contract to be the best versions of themselves.