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Ryan Johansen Injury Is Bad News for Flyers



Ryan Johansen
The Philadelphia Flyers' wallet will soon explain why the Ryan Johansen injury is bad news. (Photo: AP)

When the Philadelphia Flyers acquired Ryan Johansen in the Sean Walker trade on March 6, they were not aware that he was injured. And, to be fair, why would they have been? Johansen last played for the Colorado Avalanche on March 4, getting his usual allotment of third or fourth line minutes.

The Flyers subsequently waived Johansen upon the completion of the trade, and because of his large contract, Johansen passed through waivers without issue. The bad news for the Flyers is, now that Johansen apparently has a hip injury, they will be saddled with that contract next year, too, unless Johansen recovers.

The 31-year-old is in the penultimate year of an eight-year, $64 million contract he signed with the Nashville Predators back in 2017, and has a cap hit of $8 million. The Flyers are only on the hook for $4 million, as the Predators retained 50% of Johansen’s salary when they traded him to Colorado this past summer.

Because Johansen is buried in the AHL, Johansen’s cap hit on the Flyers drops to just $2.85 million for this season and next.

However, if Johansen does not recover by the end of the season, the Flyers will be unable to buy him out because of his status as an injured player. This means that the Flyers cannot give themselves extra wiggle room to help facilitate retained salary transactions as they did in the Noah Hanifin trade, for example.

It also means that, between Johansen and Cal Petersen, the Flyers are paying two players a combined $6.7 million to play in the AHL. Then there’s the Kevin Hayes retained salary trade and Tony DeAngelo buyout, which add another combined $5.238 million to the equation. Do the math, and you get nearly $13 million against the cap that the Flyers simply cannot use to do anything product.

Owen Tippett’s contract extension kicks in next season, cutting into the Flyers’ cap with a $4.7 million raise. Bobby Brink is due for an extension, and unless Alexei Kolosov can step in and be the guy right away, the Flyers won’t have a reliable backup goalie under contract, either.

The money adds up quickly, and unless the Flyers find a solution to this Ryan Johansen injury debacle, they’ll quickly find themselves up against the cap wall next year with little room to acquire assets.

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