(John L. Russell / AP)
Last season, Sam Gagner filled the role of swing middle six forward, with his time in the organization not being close his career norm in terms of scoring, the Flyers need to look to fill his slot as a middle six scoring winger.
Internal options include Nick Cousins and Scott Laughton, however, external options via the UFA market exist as well. One option who will likely come cheap and on a one year deal is Brad Richards.
Via Own the Puck
Richards isn’t all that different than Sam Gagner in terms of possession impact but he’s slightly ahead in goal production and overall scoring. In short, Richards is a marginal upgrade who serves the purpose needed.
Per Cap Friendly, Richards made 2M and 3M for Chicago and Detroit each of the last two seasons. If he’s willing to take 1.5 on a one year deal, the Flyers could use 4.5M on Brayden Schenn and keep the remaining RFA’s for less than 1M each. This, assuming TJ Brennan and Jordan Weal sneak through waivers, would leave the Flyers with some cap space to work with. Assuming Cousins and Manning each get 1M on 1 year deals, the Flyers would have 1M in cap space for injury callups assuming no one else gets traded.
This would leave the following potential Flyers forward combos assuming Richards comes in:
The Richards signing adds flexibility, especially if Scott Laughton has any lingering effects from the incident that left him on a stretcher during the playoffs. It also gives the Flyers the flexibility to trade Laughton or Cousins if that’s the required price to get a team to take the albatross contract of Andrew MacDonald.
Of course, if the Flyers trust Laughton’s health and Cousins ability as a third line center, there’s no reason to sign Richards. That said, if the Flyers organization sees a specific need for a middle six forward and PP specialist, Brad Richards would certainly fill that need.