The Philadelphia Flyers are historically known for not managing the salary cap well since its installation in 2005, and Chuck Fletcher’s tenure as general manager did nothing to lessen those claims. Though now that he’s out of the picture and Danny Briere has preached a rebuild, it presents a chance for the organization to shed some money and be much smarter with their spending moving forward.
The NHL salary cap currently sits at $82.5 million, and is expected to rise to $83.5 million. There has been rumors that it could potentially grow more than just $1 million, but with Gary Bettman at the helm, it is unlikely significant growth takes place at this point.
Even though the team is filled with some undesirable contracts, their overall cap situation isn’t as quite bad as you’d imagine. So let’s breakdown where the Flyers stand financially before summer begins.
They’ve got $25,440,357 committed to eight forwards (Hayes, Konecny, Farabee, Laughton, Deslauriers, Tippett, Allison and Laczynski) plus the returns of Sean Couturier and Cam Atkinson from IR, which adds a combined $13,625,000 to the pool.
Hayden Hodgson is technically signed to a one-way deal as well, but his $800,000 cap hit doesn’t meet the $1.075 million qualification to count against the NHL cap if he stays in the minors.
The Flyers have two unrestricted free agent forwards in James Van Riemsdyk and Brendan Lemieux and three restricted free agents in Kieffer Bellows, Noah Cates and Morgan Frost. Cates and Frost are likely the only two that get re-sign amongst them.
Currently, the Flyers have $23,875,000 invested in five defensemen (Provorov, Ristolainen, DeAngelo, Sanheim and Seeler) plus the $6,250,000 cap of Ryan Ellis, whom they have to dance with until he can be placed on LTIR when the 2023-24 season starts.
They just re-signed Egor Zamula to a one-year, one-way deal worth $775,000, though at this point it is unclear whether or not he’ll make the NHL roster. Like Hodgson, his deal wouldn’t eat into the main roster cap if he indeed starts in the AHL.
They also have one restricted free agent to re-sign, that being Cam York.
The Flyers should enjoy cheap goaltending while they can, because it’s the last year they’ll get to. They’ve got just $4,754,000 invested between Carter Hart and Felix Sandstrom.
Cap Penalties- $1,854,166
The Flyers do have some penalties to deal with including the buyout of Oskar Lindblom clocking it at $666,667 and the cap overages from the 2022-23 season which totaled $1,187,500.
If the cap rises to $83.5 million, that means the Flyers have $7,701,477 in available cap space before any re-signing or trades take place. With Ryan Ellis’ cap eventually winding up back on LTIR, it increases that number to $13,951,477. They’ve got the ability to go 10% over the cap during the summer, which is $8,350,000 so Ellis’ cap it at least accounted for one way or another during the summer.
Working the Cap
The three big in-house names they’ll have to deal with, Cam York, Noah Cates and Morgan Frost will all get more money than originally expected, but still won’t be bank-breaking numbers. A safe projection is probably $7-9 million in combined salary, with all three expected to be in the $2 – $3 million range.
All eyes will be on Danny Briere and his attempt at a rebuild, which should theoretically mean there is a bit of money being shed this summer, with the two expected targets being Kevin Hayes and Tony DeAngelo. If they ditch DeAngelo and his $5 million cap hit in full and replace him with Ronnie Attard (who is coming off his entry-level contract but will re-sign for less than $1) that’s four million in savings by itself. Dealing Hayes has been an interesting storyline leading up to the summer, based on the fact he has three years left at a $7.1 million cap hit and his play does not reflect such a high price tag anymore. Even retaining half of his cap, which is worst case scenario for the Flyers, frees up $3,571,429.
That’s a combined $7,571,429 between DeAngelo and Hayes, thrown into the post-LTIR-Ellis pot of $21,522,906. Take away $9 million for the RFA trio, that’s $12,522,906 in expected offseason cap space.
Following the thought process of a rebuild, it means there should be very little spending this summer and the utilization of more entry-level deals and cheaper main roster players. Elliot Desnoyers, Tyson Foerster and Bobby Brink are all still on entry level deals, and players like Olle Lycksell and Ronnie Attard are all expected to re-sign with the team at very cheap cap dollars coming off their ELCs with little to no NHL experience among them.
Having at least half a dozen potential players on $1 million or less contracts helps offset the costs of Couturier’s return, the Sanheim extension and a bumper if they fail to move Kevin Hayes or Tony DeAngelo.
All in all, the Flyers aren’t in as bad a shape as it seems on the surface. If Briere ends up being serious about a rebuild and isn’t afraid to shed some money, they could be in even better situations moving forward and be financially ready whenever “go time” rolls around and they can pursue that potential game-changing player. That’s at least the hope anyway.
By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)