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Egor Zamula Will Dictate Flyers’ Offseason Plans

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Egor Zamula played in 66 games for the Flyers this season, scoring five goals and 21 points. (Photo: AP)

The Philadelphia Flyers are going to have some decisions to make on defense this offseason, and right now, all roads run through Egor Zamula.

Flyers general manager Danny Briere already said that Denis Gurianov and Marc Staal are “some of the obvious ones” in terms of players who will not return to the team in 2024.

Zamula was splitting time with Staal early in the 2023-24 season before Staal went down with a broken rib. Zamula eventually solidified his place in the lineup, for the most part, while Staal rotated in for injuries or as a seventh defenseman. The rest is history.

At 24 years old, the 6-foot-3 defenseman will be a restricted free agent this summer. Have the Flyers seen enough from Zamula to bring him back as a permanent fixture of the team’s blueline? He’ll surely receive a qualifying offer at least, but remember, Zamula is no longer waivers exempt, so if the Flyers assign him to the AHL, he could be out of the organization a day later.

Taking things one step further, if the Flyers feel comfortable enough with Zamula’s growth, they would have no need to bring back, or bring in, players like Staal or Erik Johnson. If Briere and Co. do want to go that route, their options on the free agent market will be limited.

Veterans like Alec Martinez, Brendan Smith, or Marco Scandella might make sense, but there’s no guarantee that the former two continue their careers as NHL players. Scandella, meanwhile, might be more apt to join a contender as a rotational piece rather than a rebuilder.

If not, the Flyers could then begin to integrate some of their other young defensemen behind Zamula, such as Emil Andrae or perhaps Adam Ginning, if he elects to stay in North America. Ginning, too, is a restricted free agent this summer.

Wherever the Flyers go on defense this summer, it will almost assuredly be decided by what they see in Zamula.

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