After taking care of some business ahead of a potential arbitration hearing and signing defenseman Travis Sanheim to a new deal, the Philadelphia Flyers probably aren’t done making roster decisions. Getting the Sanheim deal done was key for Flyers’ blue line, but his new deal — one that comes in at a cost of $4.675 million for the next two seasons — means that the Flyers will have to get below the salary cap ceiling.
Josh Erickson of Pro Hockey Rumors astutely points out that the Flyers are roughly $650,000 over the salary-cap upper limit. It’s not a huge amount of money and exceeding the cap is allowed during the offseason. That said, in order to be cap compliant by the time the 2021-22 NHL season begins, the Flyers have some work to do. The key here is that the Flyers can’t put a 23-man roster together as it stands and while they could play with fewer than 23 players, that’s not an ideal situation to be in.
There are a couple of options. First, the Flyers can demote a one or two waiver-eligible players to the AHL — Tanner Laczynski, Jackson Cates and Morgan Frost are candidates — or they can make an additional trade to free up some money, giving the team more than just a couple hundred thousand as a cushion.
Among the most likely trade candidates are James van Riemsdyk and Travis Konecny. Both have been mentioned in possible trade scenarios in the past and it would make sense if both of their names popped up again as the Flyers try to come up with a financial solution.
Which Player Is More Likely to Be Moved?
When it come to Konecny, he’s had a bit of an off-and-on relationship with Flyers’ head coach Alain Vigneault. No one should be shocked if he’s the move the Flyers try and make a priority. At the same time, he’s younger and carries a $5.5 million cap hit for the next four seasons. He’s locked in with team control, doesn’t hold any trade protection as part of his contract and he’s been a productive player over the past four seasons. There would be interest if he were to become available.
van Riemsdyk is a bit more interesting a trade to consider. He’s more expensive ($7 million per season), but he’s got only two years left on his current deal and his cost will go down as he’s 32. He’s not necessarily going to hit you a home run with his on-ice production, but he’s been a consistent offensive threat for many years and you know what you’re going to get for the money.
It’s not a lock that either player is dealt. However, based on how active the Flyers have been this offseason and how much general manager Chuck Fletcher seems to be investing in a quick turnaround, more deals and some significant trades shouldn’t come as a surprise should they occur.
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