Well, it’s that dreaded time of year again in Flyers land. They’re out of the playoffs, little news has come out lately about the team, and a big story line could easily be the status of the players’ golf handicaps. BUT, we have a little added excitement other than free agency and the draft this summer (don’t worry those blogs will come). TODAY we’re looking at whom the Flyers will be protecting in the expansion draft.
Now for a quick refresher, the expansion draft rules are pretty simple for our boys. They can go one of two routes: protect 7 forwards, 3 defensemen and a goalie, or 8 skaters total and a goalie. Now, why anyone would choose the latter is beyond me, but I guess if a team is stacked on the back end, they’ll want to keep them. Anyway, this is my initial list of players the Flyers will protect. Let me preface this by saying I don’t think this is who they SHOULD protect, but who they will.
The decision to protect Carter Hart is brutally obvious, so I won’t elaborate on that too much. It’s the skaters where things get interesting. On the blue line, you really only have one guarantee and that’s Ivan Provorov. Even though he didn’t have a spectacular year this past season, he’s still far and away the best defenseman on the team. I think Gostisbehere stays simply because of his scoring ability. Yes, I know they waived him, but it was a cap move not a performance move. From February on, he was sneakily one of the top scoring defenseman in the league, and the Flyers need all the offensive help they can get when giving up the most goals per game.
After Provy and Ghost, it’s anyone’s guess really. I decided to put down Sanheim because even though Phil Myers is a right handed shot, Sanheim is a slightly better defenseman. Don’t get me wrong, they both sucked this past year, but Sanheim sucked ever so slightly less. They could easily choose to protect Myers though, because without him there’s no right handed defenseman in the top 4.
Next we get to forwards and I’m going to address the two weird picks I have there first. Number 1, Scott Laughton. Why on earth would the Flyers waste a protection spot on Scott Laughton? Well, they just resigned him to a 5 year $15 million contract. I don’t exactly see a scenario where a team resigns a guy on trade deadline day, and then leaves him unprotected in the expansion draft. He’s a great third line, borderline second line player, and maybe Seattle would want that from the Flyers. Who knows really?
The second controversial one I have on there is obviously Nolan Patrick. I have him on there because I think this upcoming year is the year where the Flyers decide if NoPat is staying with this team. He obviously underperformed in his first two years, and had it not been for the migraine issues, he would likely be gone or left unprotected. However, due to him playing his first full season after sitting out an entire year with migraine issues, I think they’re giving him a pass for his below average performance this past year. This upcoming season will be the make or break for NoPat’s time in Philly, and I hope to God he has a standout season.
The other forwards being protected really don’t need much explanation. Sean Couturier is the best player on the Flyers, while Claude Giroux and Joel Farabee are close behind him. Travis Konecny, even though he had a bad year, is still a dynamic two way player and the best chirper in the NHL. Finally, JVR had a wonderful year offensively, often carrying the team on the scoreboard. While leaving him unprotected would be an easy way to free up $7 million in cap space, I think his performance warrants a protected spot.
So there you have it folks. How wrong do you think I am? Let us know @Morning_Skate on Twitter and Instagram, or let me know personally @henrymette on Twitter and @henry_mette on Instagram.
One last thing, LET’S GO FLYERS!