If you’re a regular Brotherly Puck reader, you know we’ve been on the hunt for a big game addition or two for the Flyers this offseason. Whether it be Alex DeBrincat, David Pastrnak, Johnny Gaudreau or others, if they truly intend on landing a big fish, it means they’re going to have to get creative elsewhere in the lineup to get the most bang for their limited buck. There are some players out there that would be perfect under-the-radar additions to the team, whether it be pending restricted free agents who may not have a home on their current team, or diamond in the rough veterans, these are the best under-the-radar additions the Flyers could make this summer.
Number 5: Oliver Kylington
Kylington has taken the long road to the NHL so far in his career. Originally listed sixth on NHL Central Scouting’s list of International skaters, he wasn’t drafted until the end of the second round, 60th overall in 2015. Ever since he has been bouncing between the AHL and NHL, though did manage to find some level of success during 2021-22 when he posted nine goals and 31 points in 78 games on a stacked Flames team. Now a pending restricted free agent at 25 years old, he may be one of the cap casualties in Calgary as they attempt to re-sign a handful of other star players.
Kylington has experience playing both the right and left side of the defense, though is a natural lefty, and possesses decent skating and a potential offensive upside. He was used sparingly on the Flames’ powerplay, but for a team like the Flyers who need a jolt from the point on the man advantage, Kylington could be a cheap player to acquire and re-sign as a high-reward type of player.
Number 4: Dylan Strome
Much like Kylington, Strome entered the 2015 draft with plenty of hype, but has just never reached his ceiling in the NHL. He had a bit of a breakout year in 2021-22, posting 22 goals and 48 points in 69 games, mainly rebounding later in the year after the dismissal of head coach Jeremy Colliton, who had Strome in the dog house for most of their tenure in Chicago. Now a 25-year-old restricted free agent on a team who is actively ready to see off members of their roster in favor of a rebuild, Strome poses an intriguing option for a team like the Flyers who need some serious help down the middle. He may not be the bonafide star they’re truly looking for, but rather a dependable 3C with a decent ceiling.
Number 3: Josh Manson
In the seemingly never ending hunt for a proven right-handed defenseman, the Flyers may turn their attention to Josh Manson, who was acquired by the Avalanche at the 2022 NHL trade deadline. He turns 31 right before the 2022-23 season starts and his best days are more than likely behind him, but he is a solid, physical stay-at-home defenseman that would fit in nicely in Philly. The Flyers are in need of a top RHD due to the unknown status of Ryan Ellis, which at this point Manson probably can’t fill for an 82-game schedule, but he’d be a great option for their third pair to ride shotgun alongside Cam York.
Number 2: Jesse Puljujarvi
Jesse Puljujarvi is a polarizing figure to the Oilers’ faithful. He hasn’t exactly lived up to the hype of his fourth overall pick status from 2016 and now that his current contract is up and he’s a pending restricted free agent, rumors of a possible deal have began to swirl. He had the best season offensively of his career in 2021-22, recording 14 goals and 36 points in 65 games, which seems relatively disappointing on a powerhouse like the Oilers. Even though his offensive prowess might never be overly impressive, he is a solid pair of middle six hands and isn’t going to make egregious mistakes on a shift-by-shift basis. He could be an interesting addition to a roster than features new coach John Tortorella, who may be able to shape him into one of the more well rounded wingers in the game today.
Number 1: Ethan Bear
The Flyers are going to have to once again enter the market for a right-handed defenseman thanks to Ryan Ellis and his injury, but there’s one guy whose name recently emerged on the potential trade market that would make a ton of sense for the club and that’s 25-year-old Ethan Bear. He played down the lineup during his first season with the Carolina Hurricanes, but he’s got quite the track record logging big minutes dating back to his days in Edmonton. He played a whopping 1,560 minutes of ice time during 2019-20 in just 71 games. A guy familiar with playing a depth role but can also step up and eat big minutes when necessary is exactly what the Flyers need on their right side and should be inquiring about his availability when it comes to acquiring his rights and signing him to an extension.
By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)
photo credit: nhl.com