Not long ago the NHL’s Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly stated that the salary cap was likely on the rise to about $74 million. That suited teams like the Flyers, Blackhawks, Penguins, and other to-the-Cap spenders just fine. As of a few days ago though, Daly has changed his tune. He was quoted as saying that the cap will remain “relatively flat”.
There are bits of good news to take away from this situation. For one thing teams like the Penguins, Blackhawks, etc. were operating on a budget that assumed a rising cap, now they will have to struggle to get underneath a stagnant one. A few more players who were not available a week ago are now fair game. Sadly the Flyers aren’t in any position to take advantage of those teams. They are however, in good position to re-sign their own restricted free agents.
There’s a very real chance this team goes ahead with nearly the same team we saw in 2015-16. Ideally they would have had that extra $3 million to look for some help, but now (barring trades moving salary) any bigger names will be out of reach.
I recently wrote a piece on UFA forwards who might be available to the Flyers on economical deals, and finding players like those is now going to become even more important.
Assuming a Completely Stagnant $71.4 Million Salary Cap: Projected Roster
Projected 2016/17 Flyers Roster: CapFriendly.com
There you have it; the 2016/17 Philadelphia Flyers (link to CapFriendly.com team page).
Moves made in the above roster: Umberger buy out, Lecavalier retires, re-sign Schenn, Cousins, Gudas. Provorov makes the team. McDonald, and Leier are here as place-fillers for cheap bottom six fillers. Mike Santorelli is an affordable free agent forward who can move up and down the line-up and provide some decent production. Signing a guy like Santorelli would be a much better idea than bringing back possession black hole Ryan White.
The above line up would give the team about $1.11 million in salary cap space.. not really much to work with for the upcoming season. Daly stated the salary cap would remain “relatively flat”, so their could mercifully be another ~$1 million. Even with that Hextall still wouldn’t have the dollars to make a move on a major piece, but might find room for a player worth around $3 million.
The upside to this is the expiring contracts of Streit, Schultz, Del Zotto, Mason, and Neuvirth; $17.1 million up for grabs in the next off-season. Surely only Del Zotto, and 1 of Mason/Neuvirth will be re-signed leaving $7-8 million to be re-distributed. Next year the Flyers might be able to be real buyers.