Philadelphia Flyers

Philadelphia Flyers: Signing Buy-Low Contracts On Day One

July 1st is easily the busiest day in the NHL, with free agents becoming available to sign contracts with new teams. The Flyers certainly added to that ‘busy’ conception, although not how I had initially expected.

Below I have provided stats and bios on all of the Flyers acquisitions made on July 1st.

Andy Andreoff (1 year @ $750k)

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POS: LW

Age: 28

18-19 Stats: (SYR-AHL) 75 GP-26 G-55 P-150 PIM

Career AHL Stats: 232 GP-56 G-127 P-0.55P/GP-409 PIM

Career NHL Stats: 159 GP-13 G-24 P-0.15 P/GP-214 PIM

Andreoff is a fine depth signing in my opinion. For $750k the Flyers add a grittier two-way forward that can produce in the AHL. Andreoff is unlikely to make the Flyers, although he brings some NHL experience with him that makes him a fine callup option. Nothing more to really say here, depth signing.

Kurtis Gabriel (1 year @ 700K)

POS: RW

Age: 26

18-19 Stats: (NJD) 22 GP-2 G-4 P-59 PIM-7:22 ATOI-37.1 CF%-104.5 PDO

Career NHL Stats: 38 GP-2 G-5 P-0.13 P/GP-98 PIM-6:37 ATOI-35.5 CF%-105.5 PDO

Gabriel is easily the most confusing signing of the day, as the 26 year-old is entering his prime with no real history of strong production or long-term upside. First and foremost, Gabriel is a fighter, probably known most for his fight with then-Blues prospect Vince Dunn in the hallway of a rink in the middle of a game. Gabriel was formerly a Wild prospect and thus has a history with Fletcher, which is likely why he got this deal.

You can watch the fight here:

https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/jpwqg3/on-ice-ahl-brawl-continues-outside-of-locker-room

Nate Prosser (2 years @ $700k per)

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POS: RD

Age: 33

18-19 Stats: (MIN) 15 GP-0 G-0 P-2 PIM-10:13 ATOI-51.1 CF%-101.0 PDO 

Career NHL Stats: 354 GP-10 G-47 P-231 PIM- 13:45 ATOI-45.3 CF%-100.5 PDO

Prosser, another Minnesota connection, is yet another depth signing. Unlike Gabriel and Andreoff however, Prosser may spend significant time in the NHL, given that he is a right-handed defender. Prosser’s analytics are not amazing, but better than expected given his depth role. He possesses an adequate ability to move the puck (pass, rush, etc) and has nailed a solid shutdown play style. This is fine for a depth signing, especially at a league-wide weakness.

Jean-Francois Berube (1 year @$700K)

POS: G

Age: 27

18-19 Stats: (CLE-AHL) 43 GP-21 W-.896 SV%-3.01 GAA

Career AHL Stats: 168 GP-99 W-.909 SV%-2.48 GAA

Career NHL Stats: 34 GP-9 W-.898 SV%-3.39 GAA

The Berube signing was one I was initially fine with, but upon further research into his numbers, I’m a little concerned. Berube’s best AHL stats came in a 5 game stint with Bridgeport in 2016, where he posted an impressive .960 SV% and 4 wins. Moreover, his best NHL stats came in 7 games with the New York Islanders, also in 2016, where he posted a .914 SV% and 3 wins. This means that he is going to be 4 years, and 3 organizations, removed from his career best AHL and NHL numbers. Surely, with the plethora of solid free agent goaltenders out there, the Flyers signed Berube to strictly be ECHL depth, right?

Tyler Wotherspoon (2 years @ 700K per)

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POS: LD

Age: 26

18-19 Stats: (SAN-AHL) 70 GP-4 G-22 P-0.31 P/GP-28 PIM

Career AHL Stats: 355 GP-22 G-120 P-0.34 P/GP-146 PIM

Career NHL Stats: 30 GP-0 G-5 P-0.17 P/GP-4 PIM-13:36 ATOI-45.9 CF%-95.5 PDO

Wotherspoon, a former 2nd round pick of the Flames, is known for his heavy defensive play style. Much like Prosser, Wotherspoon can move the puck fairly well, although it’s not a focus of his game. At 26, Wotherspoon is about as good as he’s gonna get, a two-way depth defender with below average analytics. I think that Wotherspoon will do fine in a depth role for a few NHL games here and there, expect some solid production and playing time in the AHL.

Kyle Criscuolo (1 year @ $700k)

POS: C

Age: 27

18-19 Stats: (ROC-AHL) 43 GP-6 G-20 P-0.47 P/GP-14 PIM

Career AHL Stats: 174 GP-38 G-95 P-0.55 P/GP-62 PIM

Career NHL Stats: 9GP-0 G-0 P-47.0 CF%-88.2 PDO-8:01 ATOI-4 PIM-46.3 FO%

This signing is not exactly inspiring. Criscuolo is 2 seasons removed from a solid 34 point/ 51 game season (0.67 P/GP) with the Rochester Americans of the AHL. This past season however was less than ideal, as the New Jersey native posted just 20 points in 43 games (0/47 P/GP). At 27, this past season was really one where he needed to prove his value to the Sabres organization, who gave him a 9 game stint the year prior. Unfortunately for Criscuolo, injuries and inconsistent play hit his NHL chances fast and hard. Solid when healthy, Criscuolo certainly helps add depth to a rather weak centre core (Please God sign Marcus Johansson I’m begging you).

Chris Bigras (2 years @ $700K)

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POS: LD

Age: 24

18-19 Stats: (HFD-AHL) 52 GP-3 G-22 P-0.42 P/GP-36 PIM

Career AHL Stats: 179 GP-17 G-83 P-0.46 P/GP-103 PIM

Career NHL Stats: 46 GP-1 G-4 P-0.09 P/GP-42.7 CF%-99.6 PDO-13:31 ATOI-18 PIM

Personally, I really like this signing. I was a big fan of Bigras when he was with the Avalanche, the team that drafted him 32nd overall in 2013. The Ontario native plays a fast-paced, aggressive shut down role. Bigras has solid puck moving ability and defensive awareness that make him an interesting bet at 24. Bigras is creeping out of prospect territory and will really have to impress to earn a full time NHL spot, thus, Bigras will likely add a coveted defensive presence in Lehigh Valley.

Andy Welinski (1 year @ $750K)

POS: RD

Age: 26

18-19 Stats: (ANA) 26 GP-1 G-4 P-0.15 P/GP-49.4 CF%-98.8 PDO-16:02 ATOI-8 PIM

Career NHL Stats: 33 GP-1 G-6 P-0.18 P/GP-47.6 CF%-99.4 PDO-16:04 ATOI-8 PIM

Welinski is another solid depth signing. At 26 years old, he’s as good as he’s going to get as a depth defender. Welinski can really move the puck and has solid passing ability, which make him extremely versatile as a right-handed defenseman. There’s really not much else to say here other than that it’s a solid depth move.

Conclusion

The Flyers decided to add some much needed depth over the traditional overpayment of mediocre players, which is nice to see. I would like to see the Flyers nab a Ryan Dzingel, Marcus Johansson, or Ben Hutton on July 2nd, but with both Konecny and Provorov still unsigned it seems unlikely.

Stats and other info retrieved from http://www.sportsforcaster.com, http://www.tsn.ca, http://www.nhl.com, http://www.hockey-reference.com, http://www.eliteprospects.com, and http://www.vice.com 

Featured Image Photo Credit – Nikos Michals

 

 

 

 

Philadelphia Flyers Re-sign Brian Elliott

On June 26th, the Philadelphia Flyers and goaltender Brian Elliott reached an agreement on a new contract. With this signing, the Flyers look to open up the goaltending situation moving forward.

Is It a Good Move?

Per CapFriendly, the Flyers re-signed the 34 year-old Elliott to a 1 year, $2 million extension. The Canadian net-minder recorded a .907 SV% and a 2.96 GAA in a injury-plagued 26 game 2018-19 campaign. Initially, this deal seems like an overpayment, as Elliott struggled mightily following a midseason injury. Elliott’s struggle and injury concern led to the trade of prospect goalie Anthony Stolarz for ailing tendy Cam Talbot in February. Talbot, who seems set on signing with the Flames come July 1st, continued to struggle in limited time, with the Flyers.

Talbot is 1 of 3 UFA goalies on the Flyers roster, the others being veteran AHLer Mike McKenna and the oft-injured Michal Neuvirth. McKenna was not exactly a threat to steal an NHL spot from any other Flyers goalies, as the 36 year-old seems destined for retirement. Neuvirth, who was once a formidable opponent in the net, has struggled to stay healthy and consistent recently, and thus seems destined for either Europe or a career-rehab project.

All 3 options were significantly worse than Elliott, and thus the Flyers were kind of backed into a corner, as it is unlikely that the Flyers could add UFAs Semyon Varlamov or Sergei Brobrovsky on short term commitments.

Trade options are a topic for a whole other article, but when it is publicly known that the Florida Panthers are actively shopping James Reimer, who I consider a top bounce back candidate, and a player to buy low on, at least trying to work on deal would make sense, right?

Regardless of these hypotheticals, Elliott did accept a cheap deal that allows the Flyers to be more flexible in negotiations with key RFAs Travis Konecny and Ivan Provorov as well as high-priority UFAs. Thus, Elliott’s signing is probably for the best, especially considering the expectations placed on Carter Hart.

Stats and other info retrieved from http://www.capfriendly.com and hockey-reference.com

Featured Image Credit: Dinur Blum

Philadelphia Flyers

Philadelphia Flyers: Reviewing the Draft

Over this past weekend, the Philadelphia Flyers made 7 selections in the 2019 NHL entry draft, all of which I will be reviewing today. Below, I will provide profiles on each of the prospects selected, and how they compare to other notable prospects selected.

Round 1-Pick 14-D Cam York USNTDP

The Flyers kicked off the draft making a odd move, trading the 11th overall selection to Arizona for the 14th and 45th selections. The deal made sense in theory, as the Flyers gained a fairly-early 2nd round pick for moving down just 3 spots. In practice though, the deal looks rough, but before we touch on what the Yotes got and what the Flyers did not, we have to talk about Cam York.

Projected to go 12th overall to Minnesota in Kyle Periera’s mock draft, York can be described as an ideal two-way defender. York has tremendous offensive skills, which allowed the American defender to post 65 points in just 63 games with the USNTDP. York’s impressive skating skills and keen awareness combine to make a formidable defensive force. Overall, York projects to be a solid top 4 defender, and with his given skills, perfectly fits the needs of the Flyers.

That being said, the Flyers missed out on some top-10 talent when they took York ahead of Alex Newhook, Cole Caufield, Arthur Kaliyev, Peyton Krebs, and traded the pick that became Victor Soderstrom.

Newhook and Caulfield are both excellent skating forwards who posses dominant offensive skills, with Newhook being more a playmaker & Caufield being more of a sniper. Kaliyev, who I wanted the Flyers to take at 11, is a very strong offensive player who is excellent at scoring goals. Krebs, a high scoring power forward, was originally slated to go 5-10 but fell due to injury concerns.

Then there’s Soderstrom. The Swedish RHD was, in my opinion, the 2nd best defender in the draft. This is largely due to Soderstrom’s excellent skill set, as he provides a strong physical presence in the defensive zone and has solid, albeit developing, passing ability. I believe that with the right development, Soderstrom has what it takes to be a future top 2 defender, and passing on that potential is simply inexcusable.

Round 2-Pick 34-F Bobby Brink USHL

If there was a reason to not be upset about the trade with the Coyotes, it’s the Bobby Brink selection. Slated to go 17th overall by our very own Kyle Pereira, Brink fell like a rock in the draft. Although it was not easy to ensure the Flyers would get the 1st-round talent, as the Flyers first had to make another trade.

The Flyers traded the #45 pick (Egor Afanasyev) and the #65 pick (Alex Campbell) to the Nashville Predators for the 35th overall pick, which was of course, Bobby Brink.

Brink can be considered a solid combination of several top prospects, as Brink has dazzling hands like Newhook, an excellent shot like Kaliyev, and offensive awareness of Caulfield. I believe that Brink has the potential to be an excellent top-6 producer, and is a steal in the 2nd round.

At this point in the draft, Albin Grewe and Jackson LaCombe were the only other available players that I was truly interested in at pick 35.

Round 3-Pick 72-D Ronald Attard USHL

Attard is a solid bet in the 3rd round, although there are some prominent red flags. The over-aged defender dominated the USHL with 30 goals and 34 assists for 64 points in just 48 games (1.33 P/GP).

The RHD is known for his aggressive two-way game, with excellent defensive awareness (lane-blocking, interception skills) and fantastic scoring ability (can really rush the puck).

Despite the promising scoring and play style, Attard’s overage title and commitment to the NCAA make his development troubling. Flyers fans likely won’t see Attard until he is roughly 23 or 24 years of age, when he’s done his tour at West Michigan U. The Flyers also won’t know how Attard will preform at the NCAA level, therefore there is certainly a possibility that Attard will have little value before he even plays a professional hockey game.

At this point, Albin Grewe, Pavel Dorofeyev, Graeme Clark, Mikhail Vukojevic, Mikko Kokkonen, Anttoni Honka and *Deep Inhale* Ilya Konovalov were all available. All of which are great prospects, but some (Grewe, Honka, and Konovalov) have significantly higher potential than Attard.

Round 4-Pick 103-D Mason Millman OHL

Millman, in my opinion is a solid pick, especially considering the other selections made in the 4th round. The 17-year old defender is known for his slick puck moving skills and offensive awareness. oddly enough, Millman has a questionable shot that is very inconsistent in terms of strength and speed, no matter the position. Defensive reliability is almost non-existent, although Millman has good pacing and will get better with age.

Although Millman was not on my draft radar when I made my mock draft, I am fairly happy with this pick. That being said, I would have selected Oshawa’s Danil Antropov here, although he didn’t get drafted at all, so maybe I’m missing something.

Round 6-Pick 165-F Egor Serdyuk QMJHL

Serdyuk is not exactly an ideal pick here, although it’s very rare to get those in the 6th round. As a QMJHL rookie, Serdyuk impressed in terms of production, scoring 25 goals and 65 points in 63 games (1.03 P/GP), but upon further examination, he leaves a lot the be desired.

Kyle Pereira who did excellent research for me here, concluded that Serdyuk has some serious skating and pacing issues. The Russian forward also struggles at forechecking, which plays into a rather weak, evasive game. That being said, he has solid passing ability and promising offensive awareness.

Despite some apparent concerns, Serdyuk’s advanced numbers are rather great. Prospect-stats.com have a fantastic scale that displays the player’s analytics in 4 separate zones. Shown below are Serdyuk’s advanced stats, most of which are in the ‘green’ or positive zones.

screenshot of prospect-stats.com

Round 6-Pick 169-G Roddy Ross WHL

Going into the draft, I never knew that Roddy Ross was a human being that existed, and exiting the draft, I was a big fan. The 18 year-old net minder made a midseason jump from the AJHL to the WHL and recorded an impressive .919 SV% and a 2.76 GAA in 25 games with the Seattle Thunderbirds. 25 games is a rather small sample size, but his stats are far from unsurprising. Earlier in the season, Ross posted a .920 SV% in 22 games in the AJHL and last season (2017-18), Ross recorded a .940 SV% in 22 games in the SMHL as a 17 year-old.

Ross’ stats are simply fantastic for a 6th round pick, and I truly believe that he is a great prospect that can cement himself as one of the best goalie prospects in the Flyers system and maybe even the league.

Round 7-Pick 196-F Bryce Brodzinski HS

The brother of LA Kings forward Johnny Brodzinski, Bryce looks like a genuinely fantastic pick in the 7th round. The 18 year-old winger posted a hysterical 76 points in 23 games as captain of Blaine County High School. Did the scoring stop there? Absolutely not! Brodzinski also recorded 17 points in just 19 games in the USHL.

Personally, I really like this pick, like, really, like this pick. Why? Well it’s pretty hard not to like a player who averages 3.30 P/GP.

Conclusion

Overall, the draft went well in my opinion. Although I feel that the the 1st round trade down & section were a missed opportunity, I also believe that the Flyers made solid selections all-around.

Stats and other info retrieved from http://www.eliteprospects.com, http://www.nhl.com, http://www.ohlwriters.me, http://www.puck77.com, http://www.prospectstransactions.com, and http://www.prospect-stats.com

Featured Image Photo Credit – Nikos Michals

 

 

 

 

 

Philadelphia Flyers

Philadelphia Flyers Acquire Justin Braun

Per Capfriendly, the Philadelphia Flyers have acquired defender Justin Braun from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for a 2019 2nd Round Pick and a 2020 3rd Round Selection.

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What do the Flyers Get?

Justin Braun, 32, is a right-shooting defender known for his defensive abilities. Originally drafted 201st overall by the Sharks in 2007, Braun has spent his entire 9 year NHL career with the Californian club.

In 607 career NHL games, the Minnesota native has recorded 24 goals and 130 assists for 154 points. During this span, Braun has averaged a 50.2 CF%, a 99.7 PDO rating and 19:56 TOI. Braun has a fitting defensive reputation, as he starts 56.8% of his shifts in the defensive zone.

Despite his career-long reputation of solid defensive play, which is a major need of the Flyers, Braun is a risky acquisition from Philly’s point of view. Coming off a poor year (78GP-2G-14A-16P-49.7CF%-96.9PDO), Braun is exiting his prime. Moreover, the Flyers gave up two picks for the aging D-man, one being the 41st overall selection in the upcoming 2019 entry draft, a pick that could be used to select potential steals Samuel Fagemo, Jackson LaCombe, or Nolan Foote.

What do the Sharks Get?

Trading Braun, who has one-year left at $3.8 million, gives the cap-starved Sharks some much-needed space. The Sharks also add two picks, something not many could have predicted for Braun. In my opinion, the return is fantastic for San Jose, getting a 2nd and 3rd round pick for a declining defender with one year left is most definitely a win.

Deal Judgement

The Flyers give up a little too much for a declining asset that may or may not help the Flyers’ weak defensive situation. They could have forced the cap crunch Sharks to cave a bit and take a lessor combination of picks or possibly paid with just the second rounder rather than depleting assets as they’ve done.  

Statistics retrieved from hockey-reference.com and capfriendly.com 

Featured Image Photo Credit – Nikos Michals

 

 

Is Pettersson A Lock For The Calder? Who Else Could Win?

One of the most perplexing aspects of every NHL season is rookies, more specifically the race for the Calder Trophy. And, this season is no different, with a variety of strong candidates making convincing arguments for the title of best rookie.

Goalies

Jordan Binnington-G St. Louis Blues

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Binnington, a third round pick  of the Blues (88th overall) in 2011, shone bright for St. Louis as an unexpected late-bloomer. The 25 year-old net-minder posted 24 wins, 5 shutouts, a .927 SV% and a 1.89 GAA in 32 games this season. Binnington’s great performance is widely acknowledged to have saved to Blues season.

Although Binnington is quite good, I wouldn’t necessarily hand him the Calder, mainly due to his importance to the Blues, which means a Hart trophy may be more appropriate.

Carter Hart-G Philadelphia Flyers

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Hart entered the season as one of the best prospects in hockey, and finished as an established NHL goaltender. After struggling in the AHL to start the year, a desperate call up turned Hart into the Flyers best goalie. In 31 games with the Flyers, the 20 year-old posted 16 wins, a .917 SV% and a 2.83 GAA. Although these totals are far less impressive than Binnington’s, Hart is 5 years younger, and was playing his first season of professional hockey.

Personally, I wouldn’t give Hart the Calder either, but he deserves massive credit for his performance this season.

MacKenzie Blackwood-G New Jersey Devils

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In a season of few upsides for the New Jersey Devils, fans can take solace in Mackenzie Blackwood’s performance. Far-and-away the best statistical net-minder to suit up for the Devils this season, Blackwood posted a .918 SV% and a 2.61 GAA in 23 games played, 10 of which were wins.

Although Blackwood impressed, and should get Devils fans excited for the near-future in goal, he couldn’t stop the bleeding in New Jersey that Hart and Binnington could in Philadelphia and St. Louis respectively. Thus, Blackwood isn’t exactly a contender for the Calder.

Defenders

Rasmus Dahlin-D Buffalo Sabres

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2018’s 1st overall pick did not disappoint in his debut season. Totaling 44 points in 82 games, Dahlin filled a big hole on Buffalo’s back-end and played an unexpectedly large role on an up-and-coming Sabres squad.

In those 82 games, Dahlin registered a 52.7 CF%, a 98.5 PDO rating and 14 GC (goals created), all while starting 58.9% of his shifts in the offensive zone.

Dahlin certainly has a chance to win the Calder, as he is easily the best rookie defender in the league, but other candidates make a better impression.

Miro Heiskanen-D Dallas Stars

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Heiskanen, drafted 3rd overall in 2017, dazzled fans with his silky smooth skating and offensive prowess. The Finnish defender scored 12 goals and 33 points in 82 games with the stars this season. Heiskanen averaged a 50.9 CF %, a 97.8 PDO rating and recorded 12 GC, all while playing 23:07 ATOI.

These stats are very impressive for Heiskanen, and earned him an all-star appearance. Despite this, I wouldn’t necessarily give him the Calder either, as he was outperformed by other candidates.

Forwards

Elias Pettersson-F Vancouver Canucks

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Easily the most the most talked about rookie this season, Pettersson dominated in almost every game he played. The Swedish sensation potted 28 goals and 66 points, 44 of which were 5v5, in 71 games for the Canucks this season, but his impact goes far deeper than production. Registering a 51.4 CF%, a 100.0 PDO rating while starting an astonishing 70.5% of his shifts in the offensive zone. also, not to be forgotten, Pettersson was responsible for the creation of 26 goals (GC) while averaging 18:14 ATOI.

It is very hard to argue against Pettersson for the Calder, although there are other worthy candidates.

Andreas Johnsson-F Toronto Maple Leafs

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Johnsson, a 24 year-old Swede, was selected in the 7th round by the Leafs in 2013. A star in the SHL, Johnsson had to work through lots of adversity to reach the NHL level, battling through asthma just to make the Marlies.

This season, he scored 20 goals and 43 points in 73 games with the Leafs this season. Johnsson recorded a 54.1 CF% and a 102.8 PDO rating. It’s safe to say that Johnsson over-performed a bit, but that doesn’t make his rookie season any less special. Johnsson has incredible worth to the Leafs, as he really clicked every where he played, especially with number one centre Auston Matthews.

Although Johnsson was really good for the Leafs, he isn’t exactly on the level of Pettersson, or Dahlin as a matter of fact.

My Pick For The Calder

It seems like a no-brainer at this point, but Elias Pettersson is my pick for the 2019 Calder trophy. His electrifying play and influence really stood out among rookies this season, and thus he is deserving of the Calder.

Statistics retrieved from hockey-reference.com, nhl.com, and quanthocky.com