The Philadelphia Flyers still are trying to sign several restricted free agents, including Travis Konecny and Ivan Provorov, but with the two sides being far apart so far in negotiations, there is quite a bit of concern when it comes to Provorov. While it’s likely that the two sides will eventually come to an agreement, especially since Provorov’s camp is waiting for Boston’s Charlie McAvoy and Columbus’ Zach Werenski to sign first to provide some new comparables, the team could find themselves with too much depth on defense.
The Athletic’s Charlie O’Connor (subscription required) writes that if Provorov signs, the team will have eight NHL-caliber defensemen on their roster and unless the team is willing to roll with just 13 forwards next season, the Flyers will have to make a move to get to seven. Some forwards are obviously going no where. The team has two top-four defenseman already in Shayne Gosthisbehere and Provorov, while the team traded for Matt Niskanen and Justin Braun to add veteran leadership to their defense. The team is also really high on youngsters Travis Sanheim and Philippe Myers, which leaves the team just two potential candidates to move.
The most obvious choice would be to send down Samuel Morin. He has potential, but has struggled to make an impact with Philadelphia so far. The problem is that the Flyers would be required to put him on waivers this season and risk losing the 24-year-old for nothing if another team puts a claim on him. While he only has eight games of NHL experience on his resume, there are some teams that would be quite interested in a 6-foot-6 defenseman who might be ready to become an NHL regular.
The only other option for the Flyers would be Robert Hagg, who already has two years of NHL experience and put up 20 points last season. While the team likes him, the team acquired a very similar player in Braun, who is more experienced and better defensively. Many have already wondered if the acquisition of Braun was meant as a sign that the team intends to move on from Hagg. However, Hagg is also no longer waiver-exempt and would almost assuredly would get claimed if Philadelphia put him on waivers, suggesting the team’s only option would be to trade him.
Regardless, no matter what, if the team doesn’t end up in a holdout situation with Provorov, which could be what the Flyers are waiting to find out before making a decision, the team must make a move at some point.