The NHL draft is next week, which will be followed by NHL free agency.
I don’t want to skip over the draft, given the Flyers’ numerous picks, including two in the top-20 of the draft.
But I’m going to anyway because of something Ron Hextall said Thursday.
Normally, this wouldn’t be that big of news.
And to be perfectly frank, it’s not right now either. I’m definitely making a mountain out of a mole hill, But it’s the offseason, so what else am I supposed to do?
There’s a few big names in overall free agency that are interesting.
The biggest name in free agency this year is John Tavares. Obviously, if the Flyers had the chance to get him, it would be great. Tavares is super talented but Hextall 1) wants a short term contract, something Tavares probably doesn’t and 2) wants it to be relatively cheap, which again, won’t happen with 91.
Outside of him, there’s still talent hitting the market, another big name being John Carlson of the Stanley Cup Champion Capitals. He, like Tavares, is expected to make beaucoup bucks, though, so same idea. It would be great, but the odds aren’t looking great.
As far as a trade goes, the biggest name there would be Erik Karlsson, who looks to be on his way out of Ottawa. He’s hitting his prime as a player and is already a Norris Trophy winner, so if you think he’s signing for a short/cheap deal, get your head checked. So probably not happening.
As far as UFAs go, one name Hextall may be looking at, especially if, as Dave Isaac said, it’s on defense, could be Mike Green.
The 32-year-old is way beyond his 70+ point seasons he put up in Washington, but he brings a lot of good things to the table.
First and foremost, he’s right handed, something the Flyers defensive corps severely lacks. I have nothing against Radko Gudas, but let’s not kid ourselves. One of the biggest reason he sees as much ice time as he does is simply because of which way he holds a twig.
Green made $6 million with the Detroit Red Wings last season, posting eight goals and 25 assists for 33 points in 66 games. The numbers are nothing eye popping, but also consider how bad Detroit was last year.
Because Green wasn’t stellar, my guess would be he sees a significant drop in his paycheck next year. Depending on how long the deal is for, I don’t think it’s out of the question for it to be between $3-4 million. If Hextall is looking for a plug-in until more young defenders are ready, especially with Morin’s injuries, Green may be a good fit at something like two years, $6-7 million.
Hey also keeps floating the idea of bring Valtteri Filppula back, but I think he can do better. Paul Stastny is a free agent this year and would be a much better 2C than Flip would be at 3 or 4C.
But Stastny may also command too much money. A couple names I wouldn’t mind Hextall taking a shot at? Michael Grabner or maybe even Tyler Bozak.
I’ve always had a soft spot for Grabner. He’s 30 now, so the speed won’t stick around forever, but as far as a depth player that can eat up penalty killing minutes goes, he’s a great guy to have on the team.
Bozak is a center, which we all know Hextall loves. Slot him in behind Couturier and Patrick, that’s a decent start down the middle that you can fill out with either Laughton or Vecchione.
Neither of these two guys is going to break the bank, but both would be better pickups than Dale Weise was a few years back.
Elliott and Neuvirth are both scheduled to come back as well, but if the G.M. is looking for another puck stopper, I’d love to see Jaroslav Halak in black and orange.
Yes, this is 100% a soft-spot signing on my end, but Halak CAN play at stellar levels and struggles with consistency. If that doesn’t scream “Flyers goalie” than I don’t know what does.
The draft will happen first. What Hextall does in free agency will most likely depend on what he does next week. I wouldn’t be shocked to see him deal one of the first rounders and move back or package them to move up, but staying pat may also land him some decent talent.
Either way, Hextall has options. And if he signs any of the named above, I won’t be crying myself to sleep at night.