The Philadelphia Flyers face a long offseason after being eliminated from the first round of the playoffs, but GM Ron Hextall has already made some key decisions. Speaking with media today, he made it clear that Matt Read, Johnny Oduya and Brandon Manning would not be re-signed by the club. The team’s other unrestricted free agent, Valtteri Filppula, is still being considered for a new deal.
Hextall, according to John Boruk of NBC Sports Philadelphia, also doesn’t plan on buying out Jori Lehtera at the moment and will bring back the same coaching staff.
None of the three players set to hit the open market should come as much of a surprise, after their play declined rapidly the last few years. Read, who was one of the most impactful college free agents of the last decade, was dragged down by a hefty $3.65MM cap hit and spent most of this season in the minor leagues. After scoring 24 goals as a rookie in 2011-12, he recorded just 30 over the length of his latest four-year $14.5MM contract extension. For a much smaller price, someone around the league could take a chance on him as a bottom-six player, but he’ll hit free agency at age-32 and could have to settle for a two-way deal.
Oduya, claimed off waivers just before the trade deadline, played just a single game for the Flyers this season. He battled injury and inconsistency this season in both Ottawa and Philadelphia, and will be 37 when next season begins. There may not be many suitors for him, though his solid history may get him a look somewhere as a depth defender.
Manning is perhaps the most interesting, after setting a career-high with 19 points this season. The 27-year old defenseman has serious warts to his game, but regularly posts solid possession numbers and will likely demand a relatively low price tag. He could be a sneaky pickup for a team in the league looking for some help on the blue line, though no one should consider him an answer to top-4 struggles.