Flyers acquire Niskanen
On Friday morning the Flyers acquired defenseman Matt Niskanen from the Washington Capitals in exchange for defenseman Radko Gudas with the Flyers retained 30% of Gudas’ contract.
Niskanen, 32, is a 12 year NHL veteran with 881 career games to his rèsumè. He won the Stanley Cup with the Capitals in 2018. Gudas, 29, is a seven year vet with 416 NHL games under his belt.
This move did boggle the minds of some fans, as Niskanen is making $5.75 million for another two years while Gudas in in the last year of a deal that pays him $2.34 million.
At this point, the move seems like an attempt by Chuck Fletcher to change the culture of the team by bringing in a veteran defenseman to help teach the very young blue line. It is hard to tell what impact this trade will have moving forward, but it seems like a piece of a bigger puzzle. Time will tell if Niskanen meshes with his new teammates.
After what feels like an eternity, Andrew MacDonald is no longer a Philadelphia Flyer. On Saturday, the opening day of the first buyout window, the Flyers put MacDonald on waivers for the purpose of a buyout and Sunday at noon he cleared said waivers.
While we wish all the best to Andrew MacDonald, who is a great human being, he was a less-than-stellar hockey player. Finally finding some semblance of credibility on the third pair this past season, it wasn’t enough to save his job as Phil Myers and Samuel Morin have both shown NHL potential. The Flyers will pay MacDonald $1.16 million in 2019-20 and $1.91 million in 2020-21.
so long old friend.
Kevin Hayes’ Contract
Late Tuesday night the Flyers signed forward Kevin Hayes to a seven-year, $50 million contract, which breaks down to $7.14 million a season. The Flyers acquired his rights in early June from the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for a 2019 fifth round pick. Hayes, 27, is 6’5 and 216 pounds and brings a strong two-way game to the Flyers. He is a five year NHL veteran with 381 games under his belt. The 2018-19 season was a career year for Hayes, who posted 19 goals and 55 points split between the Rangers and Jets.
Flyers Acquire Braun
The Flyers continued to tinker with their blue line when they acquired Justin Braun from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for a 2019 second round pick and a 2020 third round pick. Braun, 32, is a veteran of 607 NHL games during his nine year NHL career. He is on the last year of a deal that pays him $3.8 million this season. After already acquiring Matt Niskanen, this move gives the Flyers plenty of options for their defense as they currently have nine bodies on the blue line.
After years of begging the Flyers to make any moves, they certainly made some big changes very quickly. The Flyers roster is undoubtedly better heading into the 2019-20 season than it was at the conclusion of last season, so this is certainly a plus. With Braun only having one year left on his deal, and Niskanen having two, it doesn’t hurt the team long term. The Hayes contract, however, is pretty ugly. At 27, there isn’t a whole lot of time for Hayes to develop into a true superstar and with a seven year deal, they could be stuck with it if Hayes were to take a step back.
With Konecny, Sanheim, and Provorov still due contract this summer, Myers, Lindblom, and Patrick next summer, and Hart, Farabee, Frost the summer after that, tying up cap space long term seems like a really bad idea. The fear is salary cap for next season is already at least a million dollars lower than expected, so it is hard to say for sure that the cap will increase at all, let alone substantially.
To me, it is just as important for the Flyers to swap out depth players as it is adding a big gun to the equation. Swapping Gudas and MacDonald for Niskanen and Braun is a huge improvement no matter what you think of the individual trades themselves. This also means Robert Hagg could be the odd man out on the blue line, another big win for the Flyers. The Hayes signing is fine now, but has the potential to look pretty bad if Hayes were to tailspin and fail to live up to that second line center role.
There was a very Holmgren-esqe feeling to this offseason already and the draft or free agency hasn’t happened yet. With very little cap room left to play with taking into account the potential contracts of Konecny, Sanheim, and Provorov, the Flyers are probably done making moves, but given the wild west feeling Fletcher has brought to the organization, who knows what Chucky Two Trades has left up his sleeve.
By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)