The Philadelphia Flyers will lose a player in the Expansion Draft on Wednesday night. That’s what we know. What we don’t know is which player it might be and the impact that it will have.
The Seattle Kraken have a few high-profile Flyers to choose from in Jakub Voracek, James van Riemsdyk, and Shayne Gostisbehere. There are also a few off-the-board options, but we’ll get to those later.
Flyers Expansion Draft: Top three exposed players
The Flyers have three big-ticket players available to Seattle in the Expansion Draft. Let’s take a closer look at all three of them.
Cap Hit: $8.25 M
Expiry: UFA (2024)
Role: Top-six forward
As time goes on, it’s looking more and more likely that Jakub Voracek will end up in a Seattle Kraken sweater. The Flyers are looking to move Voracek this offseason and the veteran forward understands the situation. There have even been whispers of the Flyers sweetening the deal to make sure the Kraken take Voracek.
If Seattle takes Voracek, the Flyers will be without one of their most consistent top-six forwards over the past decade. Voracek still has some good years left in the tank as well. He tied for the team lead with 43 points (nine goals, 34 assists) in 53 games last season. The playmaking winger may still have a few years left in the tank –– quite possibly through the end of his current contract ––, but his cap hit may be hard to swallow.
Voracek’s $8.25 million cap hit will be good to get off of the Flyers’ books, however. They currently have over $9 million in cap space and would jump up to over $17 million if Voracek gets selected. That would open up tons of possibilities for the Flyers to make further moves this offseason.
If Seattle doesn’t take Voracek, that’s fine too. The Flyers may still look to trade him –– possibly for Vladimir Tarasenko if he stays with the Blues –– this offseason. If they can move him, great. If not, they’ll have another year of production out of Voracek and could look to move him during the season or next offseason again if they need a change.
Cap Hit: $7 M
Expiry: UFA (2023)
Role: Top-six forward
James van Riemsdyk has been pencilled in as Seattle’s selection from the Flyers since their franchise was announced. The veteran forward is still a productive goalscorer and has a reasonable contract all things considered. His contract is a year shorter than Voracek’s and JVR is just over $1 million cheaper. The American winger could be a good presence in the Kraken’s top six and on the power play.
If Seattle takes JVR, the Flyers will be in a similar position to the Voracek situation detailed above. The Flyers will have over $16 million in cap space to make more moves this offseason. James van Riemsdyk tied with Voracek for the team lead with 43 points (17 goals, 26 assists) in 56 games last season. The Flyers will miss his goalscoring and power-play production, but it’ll open up that cap space and a spot in the top-six for someone like Wade Allison or an outside addition.
As with Voracek, JVR being on the Flyers roster next season wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. The Flyers may also look to trade JVR if Seattle doesn’t take him.
Cap Hit: $4.5 M
Expiry: UFA (2023)
Role: Bottom-four defenseman
Shayne Gostisbehere has been overlooked by some regarding the Expansion Draft. If Seattle doesn’t want to commit $7 (or $8.25) million to a forward, Gostisbehere’s contract is much more manageable. He also brings a unique skillset on the blue line that some teams covet. He can be the puck-moving defenseman on a pair with a more responsible defensive partner. He’s also a great power-play quarterback.
If Seattle takes Gostisbehere, the Flyers may be caught a bit off guard. However, it won’t throw them off course. They’d still clear some cap space ($4.5 million) and it’d open up a roster spot on the blue line.
The elephant in the draft room is Dave Hakstol. Hakstol and Gostisbehere butted heads in Philadelphia, but perhaps a few years of growth by both parties could change things. Gostisbehere has battled through adversity without a problem in recent years and Hakstol had a few years to grow in Toronto as well.
There is a very good chance that Seattle ends up with one of these three players. Chuck Fletcher and the Flyers may throw a draft pick Seattle’s way to nudge them toward a certain player.
If the Flyers do lose one of these three, it’ll open up the door even more for another big move this summer. Trading for Ryan Ellis got the ball rolling and Chuck Fletcher is only getting started.
Photo: Heather Barry Images
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