The bubble has popped and the Stanley Cup has made its way to Tampa. Now, it’s time for NHL teams to set their sights on off-season duties.
With the draft set for October 6-7 and free agency set to open on October 9, Philadelphia Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher took care of a couple more pieces of business over the past week.
Brian Elliott Re-Signs For 1 Year
On Saturday, the club announced that veteran backup goaltender Brian Elliott has signed a new one-year contract. It carries an average annual value of $1.5 million.
— Brian Elliott (@KidElls1) October 3, 2020
“Brian is a quality, veteran goaltender who is also an important part of our leadership group,” said general manager Chuck Fletcher in a press release.
“With Brian and Carter (Hart), we believe we have a strong goaltending duo who have each had success and work very well with each other.”
Next season will be the fourth in Philadelphia for 35-year-old Elliott. He previously spent time with the Ottawa Senators, Colorado Avalanche, St. Louis Blues and Calgary Flames.
Elliott initially joined the Flyers in 2017, on a two-year deal with a cap hit of $2.75 million per season. He re-signed for one year at $2 million last season. Now, he takes another pay cut in exchange for a comfortable, stable opportunity and the opportunity to mentor and support Carter Hart for another season.
“I’m proud to remain with the Flyers,” said Elliott. “I believe in this group and I’m excited for the future and what we can do as a team.”
Robert Hagg Re-signs For 2 Years
After playing all 82 games under coaches Dave Hakstol and Scott Gordon during the 2018-19 season, Hagg was in and out of the lineup for Alain Vigneault in 2019-20.
Chuck Fletcher on Robert Hagg two-year contract signed yesterday, said it got done in 2 phone calls. "It's a market-value contract, it's a fair contract. He's a kid that earned that contract and deserved that contract."
— Adam Kimelman (@NHLAdamK) September 29, 2020
The big 25-year-old Swede was drafted in the second round by the Flyers in 2013. He finished the year with three goals and 13 points in 49 games, averaging 15:36 of ice time.
In the playoffs, Hagg dressed for 12 of the Flyers’ 16 postseason games, but played 11 of the last 12 games. Known more for his fierce hitting and fearless shot-blocking, Hagg also chipped in three assists in the playoffs.
Chris Stewart Becomes Player Development Coach
One day after officially putting a bow on his NHL career, Chris Stewart was named a player development coach by the Flyers.
The veteran power forward, who was originally drafted in the first round by the Colorado Avalanche back in 2006, retired at age 32.
Last fall, he was signed to a pro tryout contract by the Flyers. He only got into 16 games, recording one assist. His impact on the organization extended beyond his in-game contributions.
“I’ve known Chris for a long time and have admired the way he plays the game, but also how he conducts himself off the ice as a true professional and leader in the locker room,” Fletcher said. “He will be a valuable asset to help mentor our young players and shape their future as Flyers.”
Before signing Stewart in Philadelphia, Fletcher also acquired him at the 2015 trade deadline, when he was general manager of the Minnesota Wild. Fletcher also brought Stewart back as an unrestricted free agent at the beginning of the 2016-17 season.
Stewart had spent the 2018-19 season playing in Britain’s EIHL before coming back to the NHL to finish out his career with the Flyers.
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According to CapFriendly, the Flyers now have 18 of 23 roster spots filled for next season. About $4.7 million in available salary-cap space remains.
Two young players are still in need of new deals. Defenseman Philippe Myers, 23, had a bit of a coming-out party during the playoffs. Former second-overall pick Nolan Patrick, 22, didn’t play at all during the 2019-20 season as he dealt with migraine disorder. Fletcher has said that he’s hopeful that Patrick will be back to full health once the 2020-21 season begins.
Fletcher will also need to make decisions on whether or not to bring back any of his unrestricted free agents. Tyler Pitlick, at 28, might have the inside track. He’s a versatile forward who was moved up and down the lineup by Vigneault, and who was reasonably inexpensive at just $1 million last season.
While speaking with reporters on Tuesday, assistant general manager Brent Flahr also highlighted three new additions who he hopes will fight for jobs at forward when the new season begins.
Wade Allison is a soon-to-be 23-year-old winger who just completed four years at Western Michigan University. Tanner Laczynski, also 23, is a center who just finished four years at Ohio State. He also won a gold medal with Team USA at the 2017 World Junior Championship. Finally, Linus Sandin is the 24-year-old brother of Maple Leafs’ defense prospect Rasmus Sandin. He’s an undrafted right wing who was signed as a free agent in late April and is currently on loan back to his Swedish team, HV71.
“They’re physically more mature than typically players that are coming out of junior that are 19-, 20-years-old,” Flahr said. “Their mindset coming to camp is to make the team. Whether they’re ready for that, it’s up to them and their performance. At the same time, we expect them to help and challenge the internal competition. In reality I would say, I would assume that each of them are going to play games this year. Hopefully one of them grabs it and makes the best of their opportunity.”