The Philadelphia Flyers and a necessity for defensemen go together like peanut butter and jelly. While the left side of the defense seems set in stone with Ivan Provorov, Travis Sanheim and Cam York, the right side is in limbo as only Rasmus Ristolainen is the healthy player under contract. Ryan Ellis’ fate is still unknown and there’s no third pair right-handed defenseman signed as of yet. That means the Flyers will once again have to trawl through the defense market to fill out their roster for the 2022-23 season.
Number 5: Tyson Barrie
On a recent episode of Brotherly Pod, Anthony SanFilippo mentioned 31-year-old Edmonton Oilers defenseman Tyson Barrie as a potential acquisition for the Flyers. Last summer, we talked about what an unsavory addition he would be, inflating his numbers making a reputation on the Connor McDavid-led powerplay, but a PP QB is a need the Flyers have right now. He’s got two years left at a $4.5 million cap hit. He could help produce offense from the point, which is much needed, but his lackluster defensive play raises red flags on a team that isn’t exactly stable in their own end.
Number 4: Jan Rutta
It’s no secret the defensive market in free agency is atrocious this year, so the pickings will be slim when it comes to right-handed defenseman. 32-year-old Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Jan Rutta may be of interest to the Flyers if they are looking for a sturdy depth guy. He’s not going to produce a ton of points, he recorded a career high of 18 in 2021-22, but he is going to be a fine, physical depth defenseman who won’t make any egregious on a shift-by-shift basis. It could be just the type of player that will fit in well with new head coach John Tortorella’s system.
Number 3: Jeff Petry
Rumor has it the Flyers were all in on Petry at the trade deadline, but the deal never ended up happening, so you would have to think they would still have interest during the offseason when the financial aspect of the deal is easier to navigate. Petry, now 34, has three years left on his current deal at a $6.25 million cap hit, which is a brutal deal unless Montreal would retain quite a bit of that money. It just doesn’t seem like a fit for the Flyers at this time, but where there’s smoke there’s fire.
Number 2: Ethan Bear
Even though bear is a pending restricted free agent with the Carolina Hurricanes, it appears he could be on the way out as he has been given permission to seek out a trade. The 25-year-old is coming off a deal that paid him $2 million a season, and his next contract will probably be in the $3.5 million range, a number the Flyers can afford. He has experience playing up and down the defense, racking up a whopping 1,560 minutes of TOI during 2019-20 in Edmonton., though played a reduced role during the 2021-22 season with the Canes. He’d be the perfect swing guy for the Flyers that can play on the third pair if Ellis is healthy, and can be elevated to top pair minutes if he is not.
Number 1: Matt Dumba
GM Chuck Fletcher is no stranger to Matt Dumba, he drafted him seventh overall in 2012. We already scoped him out as a potential target during 2023 free agency, but a deal may need to happen much sooner than that if Ryan Ellis can’t play. He has one year left on his deal with a $6 million cap hit, a 28-year-old RHD who has plenty of experience playing in the top four. They would need to acquire him via trade this year, but it would mean they get the opportunity to negotiate with him for a potential extension next summer, and if he doesn’t work out, they’re not committed to him for a long period of time. He may not be the perfect number two defenseman, but he may be the best fit they’re going to find this offseason in their financial bracket.
By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)
photo credit: nsjonline.com