Top 5: Free Agents the Flyers Likely Pursue in 2023

At one point, the 2023 free agent market was looking to be the deepest in recent years, but now that all the big fish have re-signed with their teams, it leaves behind a very underwhelming class to pick from this summer. The Flyers need top centers, a young scoring winger, and a top right-handed defenseman and exactly zero of any of those holes can be filled during 2023 free agency. Though there may be a few players out there that will pique the interest of a team desperate for on-ice results next season no matter how small.

Number 5: Luke Schenn (RHD)

Could a reunion with an old friend be in the works this summer? Luke Schenn, now 33, played for the Flyers from 2012 to 2016 and has recently carved out a little niche as a veteran depth defenseman won two Cups with Tampa Bay. Justin Braun has valiantly served that role for the Flyers over the last few years, but at 36 years old, he jus can’t contribute in the same meaningful capacity he used to. Schenn would be a fine number six and worthwhile seventh man. There could be quite a bit of overhaul the defense undergoes this summer, so it could just boil down to if the Flyers need a cheap stop-gap defenseman for a season while they look for a real long-term solution down the road. Worst case they could always flip Schenn at the trade deadline if things go south from the rest of the roster.

Number 4: Damon Severson (RHD)

28-year-old Devils defenseman Damon Severson is the de facto big fish in the right-handed defensemen market which means by default the Flyers may sniff around. Some have compared him to Rasmus Ristolainen in the past -and not gonna lie there’s a sick intrigue of having two Ristolainens on the same team- He’s be a much better upgrade than someone like Luke Schenn, but not the bonafide upgrade the Flyers desperately need at RHD, thus it may not make the most sense to spend the little funds they’ll have available on him, but if they do go spending, Severson could very well be their man.

Number 3: J.T. Compher (C)

There’s virtually no center market this season after Dylan Larkin and Bo Horvat re-signed with their respective clubs. Jonathan Toews and Ryan O’Reilly are the two biggest names left, and neither make any sense for the Flyers to pursue. Compher may be the top of the “best of the rest” category, but may not necessarily be in the price range for the Flyers. He’s 27 years old on an expiring $3.5 million contract and in the middle of a career season with the Avalanche with 16 goals and 50 points through 75 games. He’d be an upgrade to the weak group down the middle the Flyers are currently working with, but much like Severson, does it make sense to spend big on a player that isn’t going to shake things up to the desired level these days?

Number 2: Nick Foligno (LW)

Even though Nick Foligno will turn 36 shortly after the 2023-24 season starts, he may be on the Flyers’ radar this summer if they choose to add a few depth pieces. He’s no stranger to John Tortorella; he was the captain of the Blue Jackets during the entirety of Torts’ run as coach. Considering the Flyers aren’t going to name a captain again next season, Foligno could be the depth leader next season in the name of building a culture. Obviously, the best seasons of his career are in the rearview, but they also happened to occur during his days in Columbus under Torts. Foligno could be an interesting seemingly out-of-left-field name to keep an eye on this summer.

Number 1: Tyler Bertuzzi (LW)

The recently turned 28-year-old Tyler Bertuzzi presents a very intriguing option as a high-risk, high-reward addition to the club. He hit 30 goals last season with the Red Wings and plays a brand of hockey Flyers fans would appreciate, but he’s also never suited up for a full 82-game campaign in his seven NHL seasons. He’s played 45 games split between the Red Wings and Bruins this season, 68 last year and just nine during the 2020-21 season. Do the Flyers take a risk on an injury-prone player given their own recent history with injuries? Maybe, maybe not, but some team is going to land him, and if he stays healthy more often than not could be a sneaky good addition. A top six scoring left wing would be just want the doctor ordered for the Flyers.

By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)

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