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)
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)
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:
Nate Prosser (2 years @ $700k per)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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.
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 www.sportsforcaster.com, www.tsn.ca, www.nhl.com, www.hockey-reference.com, www.eliteprospects.com, and www.vice.com
Featured Image Photo Credit – Nikos Michals