Chuck Fletcher is at it again with some more moves. In this article, I will be talking about four particular moves he made: the Hartman trade, the Sanheim extension, the Eliott extension, and the Hayes contract. Fletcher has done some serious work to this team and free agency has not even begun. So let’s get started.
The Ryan Hartman Trade
Ryan Hartman is a 24 year old winger whom I wrote about in a previous article about the Flyers’ restricted free agents. I said he would probably be back, I was incorrect, get used to it. Hartman had a great first shift as a Flyer, and made some nice plays but ultimately was not a huge part of this team after the Simmonds trade. He most likely would have been on the 3rd or 4th line this year had the Flyers kept him. He was traded for Tyler Pitlick of the Dallas Stars. Pitlick is 27, and is barely an NHL player, he will most likely play on the 4th line or be a healthy scratch most nights. The main point of this trade was to free up some cap room. Hartman wants multiple million dollars over multiple years while Pitlick is already signed to just one million for this year. The Flyers need money to resign their key restricted free agents, and this helps. Plus, the Stars did not even extend a qualifying offer to Hartman, meaning his demands were too high for Dallas as well. He will hit unrestricted free agency on July 1st barring another trade of his rights.
Travis Sanheim’s Extension
Travis Sanheim signed a two year extension worth $3.25 million. I mentioned in my RFA article that he would get 4-5 years at just below $5 million……… wrong again. This deal will take Sanheim to 25 years old, and he will still be a restricted free agent after this current extension expires. If Sanheim improves and stays consistent over the next two seasons, there is no reason he should sign for less than $5 million on his next contract. But, for now, we get to see him in the black and orange for two more years on a rather cheap deal in my opinion.
Kevin Hayes Contract
This is the big one. Fletcher traded for Kevin Hayes’ rights earlier this month, and he got the deal signed. Hayes signed for seven years at $7.14 million per season. I know, I know it’s more than you hoped for. But, isn’t almost every contract more than you hoped for? I would really love it if someone like Hayes was making less money, but he was an unrestricted free agent who didn’t necessarily want to come here. Hayes is a middle six two way center who can play on the powerplay and penalty kill. You can compare his role to a few different players such as: Mikael Backlund (CGY), Jordan Staal (CAR), Boone Jenner (CBJ), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (EDM), Vincent Trocheck (FLA), Mikko Koivu (MIN), Nick Bonino (NSH), Travis Zajac (NJD), Tomas Hertl (SJ), and Tyler Bozak (STL). All these players meet three criteria: they play on the powerplay, and penalty kill (regularly/ 80+ minutes last year) and are middle 6 centres. That is not a large group of players. However, their average annual cap hit is a shade under $5.2 million. The Flyers are paying Hayes almost $2 million more. The only way Hayes can make this contract worth it is if he suddenly starts producing at a higher rate than he has his entire 5 year NHL career. Hayes is a fine player, but this contract is too much for too long. On top of all that, there is a no move clause for the first three years. This guarantees Hayes to be protected in the upcoming expansion draft. With all the young players the Flyers have, each protection slot is valuable.
Brain Elliot Extension
Carter Hart’s backup will be a veteran netminder with experience starting 50+ games in the regular season, and starting in the playoffs. The catch is, can Elliot stay healthy the full season? His age has shown in recent years, and chances are, the Flyers will have to call up Alex Lyon once again. But, let’s be positive for now because at least we have Cater Hart.
The Flyers won’t likely do much in free agency other than a few depth signings, which is good, because they need to save their cap space for their RFAs, which is next up on the to do list for Chuck Fletcher.
-Sal Cusumano, @scusu33 on Twitter
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