John Gove The Hockey Writers
How Flyers Should Handle Upcoming RFA’s
The Philadelphia Flyers have five upcoming restricted free agents on their current roster. They also have five players who are restricted free agents but are considered non-roster players. Dealing with RFA’s is always an interesting task for General Managers to handle. There are so many things to consider. Does that player deserve an extension and substantial pay increase? Do they deserve a qualifying offer? Maybe they don’t deserve either of those and the team just wants to let that player walk.
Today we will take a look at the five upcoming restricted free agents that are on the Flyers’ professional roster and decide what the team should do with each. We will save the non-roster players for another time.
Schenn experienced a coming out party of sorts during the 2015-16 regular season. The fourth-year Flyer posted career-high numbers in points (59), goals (26), and assists (33). Schenn finally proved that Philadelphia made the right move in bringing him to the Flyers in the deal for Mike Richards after spending the last few seasons as a part trade speculation.
Verdict: Sign to an Extension
There is no denying that signing Schenn to an extension this offseason is the top priority for Ron Hextall and the Flyers. He has proven that he deserves to be a member of the core of this Philadelphia team and the orange and black need to make sure that happens. Letting him go would be a complete disappointment and failure.
Philadelphia Flyers’ fans got their first extended look at the 2011 third round draft pick, Nick Cousins. In 36 games, the 22-year-old averaged 10:44 of ice-time per game and recorded six goals and five assists.
Verdict: Qualify or Extend
If Cousins agreed to a qualifying offer from Philadelphia, his salary would only move up to $884,625 for next season. If another team were to make a better offer, one would imagine that the price tag still would not be too high for the Flyers to match. Cousins has the potential to be a reliable member of this Flyers’ franchise and Hextall would be silly to just let him walk away.
The Flyers acquired Jordan Weal in the trade with Los Angeles for Vincent Lecavalier and Luke Schenn. Weal did not gain much of an opportunity to prove himself only playing in four games for Philadelphia this season. The 24-year-old has played a grand total of 14 games in the NHL and has not recorded any points.
Verdict: Let Him Walk
At the end of the day, I just don’t think that Weal fits into the long term plans of the Philadelphia Flyers. He would not cost much to retain but I still believe that that money can be better spent elsewhere.
In his first season as an active member of the Flyers’ roster, Radko Gudas did not disappoint. He proved to be a valuable asset on the blueline and he was hated by every single hockey player that didn’t wear orange and black. His 304 hit led the team this season but Gudas was also known for racking up the penalty minutes.
Verdict: Sign to Extension
Gudas is the hard-hitting defensemen the Flyers need as they continue to add their promising blueline prospects to the NHL roster. He provides an aggressiveness that can’t be matched and can surprise you with a goal from time to time. Having the 25-year-old on the roster makes the Flyers a stronger team and they need to hold onto him for a little while longer.
The 25-year-old defenseman played 56 games for the Flyers this season. He recorded one goal and six assists with a plus/minus of two. In addition, he laid out 94 hits and blocked 57 shots.
Verdict: Qualifying Offer
If the Flyers and Manning could agree to a qualifying offer, Philadelphia would only owe him $687,500 next season. For that price, Manning would be a nice asset to have on the roster. However, if a team is willing to provide him a bigger salary, Hextall, and the Flyers should just let him walk. They have plenty of defensive talent in that prospect pool of theirs.
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