Flyers Free Agency Could Be More About RFAs
The free agency negotiation period has been open since Sunday and it is generally a time of speculation more than anything. Any reports of signings likely will not start to surface until the weekend and cannot become official until Monday.
For the Flyers, this free agency period may be less about new additions and more about re-signing restricted free agents instead. With notable contracts awaiting Ivan Provorov and Travis Konecny and approximately $17 million in cap space available, the Flyers focus has to be on retaining these players within the cap that they have available.
It makes for a very different approach to free agency than expected. When the 2018-19 season ended, the belief was that the Flyers would try to get deals done with their own free agents first, then attack the trade market and free agency with the remaining cap space. Instead, Chuck Fletcher got active early, worked several trades to acquire players for next season.
Is it possible the Flyers are done making new additions? That could be the case.
The Flyers still have to re-sign Provorov, Konecny and Scott Laughton. They still have to add a third-line winger. They still need a viable backup goalie.
They may choose to keep the third-line winger position open for a training camp competition, where prospects like Morgan Frost are likely to at least get a long look. As for the goalie, the Flyers could choose to re-sign Cam Talbot or Brian Elliott to be the backup to Carter Hart or explore the trade and free agent markets.
But there is a distinct possibility that July 1 will come and go with no activity from the Flyers. The restricted free agent signings could come way down the road in late July or even early August. The training camp battle would have to wait until September. The backup goalie situation could be resolved before July 1 if Talbot or Elliott re-signs.
It could make for a rather boring week. That said, getting deals done with Provorov and Konecny should not be overlooked and should remain of great importance. If that is the extent of the Flyers free agency activity, so be it.
There is always a chance that there is something more than what is on the surface for the Flyers as free agency begins. Maybe there is another target out there that the Flyers are considering. Maybe there is another trade in the works.
The Flyers have already been the most active team on the trade front this offseason. They acquired pending free agent Kevin Hayes from Winnipeg and then signed him to a seven-year deal. They traded Radko Gudas to Washington for Matt Niskanen. They traded two draft picks for Justin Braun. They traded Ryan Hartman -- who is now an unrestricted free agent after not receiving a qualifying offer -- to Dallas for Tyler Pitlick.
They even made three deals at the NHL Draft, moving back in the first round to acquire an additional second-round pick, trading that second-round pick and a third to move up in the second round and swapping this season’s seventh-round pick for next season’s seventh-round pick with Montreal -- the third straight season that has happened.
It would not be a surprise if there was something bigger and of greater significance still to come.
But perhaps the possibility everyone should prepare for is the possibility that not much happens this weekend. The Flyers are not going to have a deal done with Provorov. It’s unlikely they will have a deal done with Konecny unless things take a big step forward. They may not have a definitive third-line winger by the end of the weekend. At minimum, they may have a new backup goalie. But that could be it.
After several weeks of activity, all the wheeling and dealing happening over the last two weeks, the weekend where free agency opens may not be all that eventful.
Kevin Durso is Flyers insider for 97.3 ESPN and Flyers editor for SportsTalkPhilly.com. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.