With the stagnant salary cap, teams will have a much tougher time going out and signing a big-name free agent.
For the Flyers, who are unlikely to target any high-level free agents this offseason, they’ll be looking at their homegrown talent to come in and fill their needs.
While it may not be as exciting as the idea of slotting Alex Pietrangelo next to Ivan Provorov on the team’s top pairing for the foreseeable future, it’s unrealistic given the need to sign pending free agents.
Young talent like Phil Myers and Nolan Patrick have restricted free agents this offseason and there is still the inevitable contract extension looming for Carter Hart.
With the Flyers likely losing a few depth pieces this upcoming offseason, let’s look at some potential in-house options that could replace them.
Nate Thompson and Derek Grant are two players that could find themselves playing elsewhere this season, leaving two holes to fill in the Flyers forward group.
The 20-year old winger already saw plenty of ice-time this past season, playing In 52 games during the regular season and appearing in 12 playoff games. Farabee definitely impressed notching 21 points (5 in the playoffs) while getting plenty of key minutes on the second line and top powerplay.
Though he was already a large part of the Flyers team last season, with Thompson and Grant potentially signing elsewhere, Farabee won’t have to worry about being scratched like he was at times during the playoffs.
Arguably their top forward prospect, Frost would be the most likely to benefit from Nate Thompson’s potential departure.
Frost appeared in 20 games, tallying 7 points for the Flyers this year. He showed plenty of skill with the puck this season and could be primed to step into the Flyers lineup as a 3C, letting Scott Laughton go back to his usual spot as the team’s fourth-line center.
Currently, the biggest unknown on the Flyers’ roster, the former second-overall pick in 2017 will be a restricted free agent this offseason. After missing an entire season with migraines, his future has been up in the air for over a full year.
But after recent comments from Chuck Fletcher, it seems like Patrick will be back next season and expected to play a part in the Flyers’ future.
With his size and skill Patrick would be the most ideal candidate to slot in at the third center position. We just need to find out if he’s actually ready to get back on the ice.
Robert Hagg and Justin Braun will both be free agents this offseason. I’d expect that Hagg (RFA) re-signs, but Braun could definitely find himself somewhere else next season. While he wasn’t bad, the 32-year old certainly was exposed at times during the playoffs.
While almost all of the Flyers’ defensive prospects have been elevated to the Flyers lineup, they still have some options to choose from.
Though not as talked about as Provorov, Sanheim, or Myers as a defensive prospect, Friedman has the potential to be a key part of the Flyers’ young defensive core very soon.
Playing in 7 games over the past two seasons, the Bowling Green product hasn’t gotten the chance to prove himself just yet but his production in the AHL as a top-pairing defenseman shows that he could be a good third-pairing guy in the pros.
Much like Phil Myers, Zamula has seemingly come out of nowhere to turn himself into one of the Flyers’ top defensive prospects.
The 20-year old has become a very good offensive d-man with the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen, posting 84 points over his last 89 games.
At 6’3″, he’s already got the size for the NHL and has been a standout in the Flyers’ training camp in recent years.
If there’s one area where it looks like the Flyers will look to free agency, it’s for a backup goaltender.
With prospects Kirill Ustimenko and Felix Sandstrom combining for six AHL games over their careers, it doesn’t look like they’ll be with the Flyers anytime soon.
Over in Sweden, 2018 fifth-round pick Samuel Ersson posted an incredible season in 2018 in Sweden’s second-highest league, Hockey Allsvenskan with a .933 save percentage but regressed in his first season in the SHL.
Overall, the Flyers’ goaltending prospects look bare after Carter Hart’s promotion to the NHL and it looks like either Brian Elliott will be brought back for another year or they go out and sign another vet to back up Hart.
Featured Image: Yong Kim/Philadelphia Inquirer