Free agency is less than a month away and teams are looking ahead to when it opens. There will be several impact players set to hit the open market in July while many teams have key restricted free agents to re-sign as well. We continue our look around the NHL with an overview of the free agent situation for the Philadelphia Flyers.
Key Restricted Free Agents
F Morgan Frost – In a season to forget for Philadelphia, Frost was one of the few bright spots on the team. Receiving around a two-minute bump in average ice time per game under new head coach, John Tortorella, Frost became one of the better offensive players on the roster.
In 81 games played, the young forward had 19 goals and 27 assists, putting him in fourth place in team scoring. Playing in a system under Tortorella, Frost also did very well defensively, earning 37 takeaways and a Corsi For % of 51.4.
The team already kicked off the ensuing rebuild by trading Ivan Provorov to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday morning, and players like Frost, Joel Farabee, and Owen Tippett should lead the way for the next contending Flyers’ team. This summer, Frost will likely receive a short-term offer from the Flyers, given that new General Manager Daniel Briere still has plenty of work to do in cultivating a winning team.
D Cameron York – Earlier this season, York seemingly forced Philadelphia’s hand in calling him up full-time. In 20 games played for their AHL affiliate, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, York scored one goal and 11 assists, some very good numbers for a 22-year-old.
Although not playing a full season this year in the NHL, the University of Michigan product played very well for the Flyers, scoring two goals and 18 assists in 54 games. Also, for a team that finished 23rd in the NHL in GA/G, York finished with a solid net rating of -1.
Already averaging over 19 minutes a game this season, York should only receive more playing time next year in light of Philadelphia trading Provorov. York’s youth, edgework, vision, and overall hockey sense should have the Flyers’ considering him a building block for the future.
Key Unrestricted Free Agents
F James van Riemsdyk – Almost traded to the Detroit Red Wings at the 2023 Trade Deadline, van Riemsdyk should not be expected back in Philadelphia next season. Playing out the entirety of the 5-year, $35MM contract he signed with the Flyers back in 2018, van Riemsdyk’s age should place him outside of Philadelphia’s plans moving forward.
Unfortunately, van Riemsdyk dealt with a slew of injuries under the life of this contract, and that stayed true for the 2022-23 season. Only managing to play in 61 games this year, van Riemsdyk scored 12 goals and 17 assists, most of those coming at the beginning of the season.
For potential landing spots, there are plenty of teams that will be looking for some offensive depth this summer. Interestingly enough, the most likely landing spot for van Riemsdyk will be a Metropolitan Division rival of the Flyers, the Washington Capitals. Already employing his brother, Trevor van Riemsdyk, on defense, the Capitals could surely use more offense, finishing 20th in the league in GF/G during the 2022-23 season.
F Brendan Lemieux – Acquired at the 2023 Trade Deadline from the Los Angeles Kings, Lemieux arguably played his best hockey of the season in Philadelphia. Only playing in 18 games for the team down the stretch, Lemieux scored two goals and four assists, also throwing in 52 hits as well.
Given the nature of his game and where he would fit into almost every team’s lineup, Lemieux may not be a bad option for the Flyers moving forward. Primarily playing on the fourth line, and likely getting a relatively low-priced contract on the open market, Lemieux is not a player that would be taking away minutes from Philadelphia’s younger players.
As the Flyers go through their rebuild, Lemieux is the type of player that can still provide something exciting for fans. Not a highlight reel player by any means, Lemieux did participate in six fights this season, something that will always breed excitement in NHL crowds.
Projected Cap Space
Entering the offseason, the Flyers have around $6.8MM in cap space available to spend. The team will likely use a majority of this to retain Frost and York but should have plenty more available when all is said and done.
Although losing $900K in the Provorov deal, more trades should be expected in Philadelphia this summer. It would not be surprising for the team to move on from some of their other higher-priced contracts, such as forwards Kevin Hayes and Travis Konecny. For their long-term cap space, Briere will have plenty of work to do in that aspect as well, as Philadelphia still has five players signed beyond the 2025-26 NHL season.
Photos courtesy of USA Today Sports Images. Contract information courtesy of CapFriendly.