The Philadelphia Flyers continue to take care of offseason business, with an eye toward their AHL farm team.
On Monday, general manager Chuck Fletcher announced that the club has re-signed two restricted free-agent forwards. German Rubtsov and Linus Sandin each received one-year, two-way contract extensions.
DONE DEALS: We have re-signed forwards German Rubstov and Linus Sandin to one-year, two way contracts.
— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) June 14, 2021
According to CapFriendly, both deals pay $750,000 at the NHL level and $125,000 in the American Hockey League. Sandin’s deal also carries a guaranteed minimum salary of $200,000 for the year, while Rubtsov’s guarantee is $100,000.
Chances are, both players will be earmarked for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, at least to start next season.
Rubtsov, 23, was a first-round pick by the Flyers back in 2016. A center who hails from Russia, he relocated to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League partway through the 2016-17 season. In 2018, Rubtsov won both the QMJHL championship and the Memorial Cup with the Acadie-Bathurst Titan.
After turning 20 that summer, Rubtsov then moved up to the American League. He was limited to just 14 games in his first pro season, then played 42 games with the Lehigh Phantoms in 2019-20, as well as getting limited minutes in four NHL appearances with the Flyers.
This season, due to Covid-19, the Flyers lent Rubtsov to Sochi HC in the KHL. There, he tallied three goals and 11 points in 46 games.
When Rubtsov returns to Pennsylvania in September, he’ll have been away from the organization for a whopping 18 months. And while he was the top player selected by the Flyers at 22nd in 2016, he has now been surpassed in NHL experience by five other Flyers from his draft class: Carter Hart (48th overall, 101 games), Connor Bunnaman (109th overall, 39 games), Carsen Twarynski (82nd overall, 22 games), Wade Allison (52nd overall, 14 games) and Tanner Lacynski (169th overall, 5 games).
Rubtsov has his work cut out for him if he hopes to get himself back onto a path toward the NHL next season.
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As for Linus Sandin, the undrafted Swedish winger was signed by the Flyers as a free agent in April of 2020, during the Covid-19 shutdown. The older brother of Toronto Maple Leafs first-rounder Rasmus Sandin, Linus is a solid winger, listed at 6’1″ and 209 pounds. He came up through the famed Modo program before eventually making the jump to Sweden’s top league.
Last fall, while North American hockey was shut down, Sandin returned to his most recent Swedish club, HV71. There, he put up 10 points in 20 games. He joined the Flyers for training camp, then was assigned to the Phantoms in January. He put up another 10 points in his first 26 AHL games. Sandin also spent a few days on the Flyers’ taxi squad in April, but did not get into any NHL game action.
Other Orders Of Business
Higher up the depth chart, Fletcher has made it clear that he hopes to make some significant roster changes this offseason. In a normal year, he’d be putting the finishing touches on his draft list right now. This year, everything’s pushed back by a little over a month. Protected lists for the Seattle expansion draft must be submitted by July 17, for the draft on the 21st. Then, the entry draft is set for July 23-24 — virtually, once again — and free agency opens on July 28.
The Flyers’ list of impending unrestricted free agents is fairly limited. Sam Morin, the 2013 first-rounder, hits that status as he approaches his 26th birthday in July, with just 29 NHL games played. Goaltenders Brian Elliott and Alex Lyon are also both pending UFAs.
But even with Rubtsov, Sandin, and goaltender Felix Sandstrom all re-signed, the Flyers still have a few tricky restricted free agents who are in need new deals. Travis Sanheim has arbitration rights. Carter Hart, Nolan Patrick, Bunnaman and Twarynski do not.
Forward David Kase is also an RFA with arbitration rights. But he has elected to return to play in his homeland. Last month, Czech club HC Sparta Praha announced that it had inked the 24-year-old to a two-year contract.
Drafted by the Flyers in the fifth round in 2015, Kase split last season between Karlovy Vary HC, in the Czech League, and the Flyers organization. He played one game with the big club in February, spent a little time on the taxi squad, and put up nine points in 19 games with the Phantoms.