It may be the dog days of summer, but the Philadelphia Flyers’ front office remains hard at work.
Over the last two weeks, three more restricted free agents have been brought under contract. Assistant coach Rocky Thompson also officially joined John Tortorella’s staff.
Here are the details of the latest signings.
Owen Tippett Inks Two-Year Deal
Let’s start with Owen Tippett. On Friday, the club announced that the 23-year-old had signed a new two-year deal. It carries a cap hit of $1.5 million per season.
It’s the first one-way contract for Tippett, who was selected 10th overall by the Florida Panthers in the 2017 draft. Listed at 6’1″ and 207 pounds, he was the key asset that came to Philadelphia when Claude Giroux was moved at the trade deadline last March.
In real money, Tippett will earn $1.25 million this season and $1.75 in 2023-24. At the end of this deal, he’ll be a restricted free agent without arbitration rights.
Last season, Tippett logged four goals and seven points in 21 games with the Flyers. He averaged 15:12 of ice time per game. Earlier in the year, he put up six goals and 14 points in 42 games with Florida. A spring assignment with the Charlotte Checkers of the AHL saw him tally six goals and 18 points in just 12 games.
Tippett would require waivers to be assigned to the AHL next season. He’s an asset that the organization values, and showed promise after joining the Flyers. He should have an inside track on one of John Tortorella’s opening-night lineup spots.
Even before the demanding new coach was hired, Tippett said he’d spend this offseason working on his tenacity.
“There are some areas I can be harder to play against in the offensive zone and be stronger on pucks,” he said at the end of the season. “I think the most important part is being more consistent in those battles and being harder to play against.”
Laczynski Re-Ups For Two Years
Earlier in the week, the club announced that winger Tanner Laczynski has also signed a new two-year contract.
It’s a two-way deal in the 2022-23 season, which will pay the league minimum of $750,000 at the NHL level and $125,000 in the AHL. In 2023-24, the contract becomes one-way. That base salary will be $775,000.
Now 25, Laczynski is a scrappy forward who was drafted out of the USHL in the sixth round out in 2016. After spending four years at Ohio State University, he signed his first contract with Philadelphia on March 23, 2020.
That was less than two weeks after the NHL paused its 2019-20 season due to Covid-19. And when games did resume, injuries slowed Laczynski’s professional development. First, there was a core-muscle injury. Next, surgeries on both his hips.
Now healthy, he has finally been able to train properly and get stronger during this offseason.
So far, Laczynski has 13 goals and 27 points in 42 games with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms over the past two seasons. He has suited up for six games with the Flyers, but is still looking for his first NHL point.
As his contract suggests, Laczynski remains waiver exempt for one more season. If the Flyers can stay healthy through preseason — and that’s a big ‘if’ — it’s likely that Laczynski will start the year back in Allentown.
For him, that’s not a bad thing. His top priority should be showing that he can stay healthy for a full year. Once that’s established, he can focus on what he can bring to his team.
Laczynski will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of this contract.
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Isaac Ratcliffe Commits To One Year
The Flyers had high hopes for 6’6″ winger Isaac Ratcliffe when they drafted him 35th overall from the Guelph Storm of the OHL back in 2017.
Pairing a mean streak with a pair of soft hands, Ratcliffe scored 41 goals in his draft-plus-one year, then 50 in 2018-19. He added another 30 points in 24 games as he and Nick Suzuki led Guelph to the OHL championship.
But as he made the transition to the pro game, the offense didn’t come as easily. Ratcliffe managed just 15 points in 53 games as a rookie with the Phantoms, then was limited to 22 games in the 2020-21 season.
Last year, Ratcliffe’s game began to take shape. He put up 28 points in 59 games in Lehigh Valley and chipped in 61 penalty minutes. He also earned a 10-game call-up with the Flyers. Starting in late January, he put up a goal and three assists to go along with 16 hits and eight blocked shots.
Like Tippett, Ratcliffe is a 23-year-old who would require waivers to be assigned to the AHL. His contract also provides plenty of incentive for him to grab an NHL roster spot. It’s a two-way deal which will pay him $813, 750 at the NHL level and just $70,000 in the AHL.
Some promising NHL stars have already come out of the later rounds of the 2017 draft. That list includes sniper Jason Robertson from the Dallas Stars, who was selected four picks after Ratcliffe at No. 39.
Like many of his young teammates, 2022-23 could be the make-or-break season for Ratcliffe’s NHL career. With the Flyers in a state of transition, he should get every opportunity to succeed.
Brink Joins Farabee On Injured List
One young winger who will not be competing for a job at camp is Bobby Brink.
After turning pro in April, the right winger out of the University of Denver suffered a torn labrum in his hip during his offseason training. Earlier this week, the Flyers confirmed that the 21-year-old has undergone successful surgery. Recovery time is estimated to be five months.
He’s the second Flyers forward to be hit by a significant injury while training on his own this summer. In late June, Joel Farabee underwent disc replacement surgery in his cervical region. His recovery timeline is estimated to be three to four months, which would put him back on the ice during preseason, at the earliest.
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