During last week’s podcast, we discussed some of the players that the Flyers might try to re-sign once free agency hits in the offseason. The big names are Steve Mason and Brayden Schenn, although Erik Gustafsson, Tye McGinn, Michael Raffl are also in the RFA camp. Steve Downie and Adam Hall will be UFAs.
Brayden Schenn is the most curious name of the bunch. He got off to a great start this season, scoring 7 goals before Thanksgiving, but has gone a little cold since. The Flyers can’t decide if he’s a center or a winger. Is he the budding superstar the Flyers traded Mike Richards for? We still don’t know. Schenn is only 22 years old and is still developing. For that reason, I believe the Flyers should be able to get him at a fairly reasonable rate for a couple more years.
Brayden is making $870,000 AAV at the end of his current deal. A comparable player on his own team is Sean Couturier. Couturier just turned 21. He’s already a defensive force, and working on his offensive game. He’s actually fourth on the team in points this season with 16, just behind Brayden Schenn, who has 18. Coming off of an offensively disappointing sophomore season (he’s already passed last season in points), Couturier signed a two-year extension in the offseason for $1.75 million a season.
There’s also winger Matt Read, who signed a three year extension with a cap hit of $3.625 million a season. Read has a few years on Schenn (he’s 27), and he’s a tad behind him this season in the scoring department with 15 points (9 goals, 6 assists), but he’s also a more complete player. His versatility is a tremendous asset, as he can play anywhere in the lineup and in all situations. Schenn doesn’t play on the penalty kill at all.
Brayden Schenn will most likely fall somewhere in the middle, between Couturier and Read. The team has big expectations for him offensively, and he seems to be trending upwards towards that role. He’s been paired with Vincent Lecavalier quite a bit and the team has even tried him on the top line at times. They consider him a top six forward. Throw in the fact that he’s a restricted free agent, where Read was unrestricted, and I would expect his cap hit under a new deal to be around $2.5 million a season.
That is, unless they trade him.
ABLE TO GET KANE?
The Fourth Period wrote a piece on Winnipeg Jets winger Evander Kane’s availability last week, and named the Flyers as one of the inquiring teams.
The Flyers and Jets have been scouting each other for some time, prompting speculation that talks have been enhancing.
Flyers assistant GM Ron Hextall recently took in a Jets game in New York, while the Jets have a scout scheduled to watch tonight’s game between the Habs and Flyers in Philly.
Kane’s been involved in rumors since day 1 in Winnipeg, and the Flyers could use some improved top line scoring, so there is a match. However, do the Jets really want to trade the talented young forward? And for that matter, do the Flyers want to give up a lot for a guy who is producing less than Brayden Schenn this season, and only produced 6 points better than Schenn last season?
Kane carries a $5.25 million cap hit with him. The cap hit for Schenn and Read combined is far less than that this year, and will probably be only slightly north of that next year. This is a huge factor for a team that is constantly near the salary cap ceiling.
I’m not saying that I don’t want Evander Kane on this team, but if the price is Brayden Schenn, Matt Read, a prospect and a draft pick as that Fourth Period piece speculates, then no thanks.
I wrote quite a bit about Steve Mason’s next contract the other week. Not too much has changed regarding that situation, although there was a lovely tidbit from Ed Snider in an ESPN.com piece by Craig Custance last week:
“He’s been incredible,” Flyers owner Ed Snider told ESPN The Magazine on Tuesday. “He should have a great record because he’s kept us in games we lost. We could have lost by four or five goals and [were] in the game all the way to the end. He’s done an incredible job for us. We’re thrilled to have him.”
Snider has been burned before by giving big money and term to a goalie. He was asked if recent history would scare him off from doing it again.
“No,” he said, then smiled. “We never learn from our mistakes.”
Oh Ed, you rapscallion. If the Flyers had a family crest, their house motto would be “We never learn from our mistakes.” Ed Snider is George Bluth from Arrested Development.
Mason’s numbers have actually started to fall back to Earth a little bit since the initial contract speculation began (although they’re still stellar). It would probably be in the Flyers’ best interest to see where those numbers are at come season’s end, rather than jumping into something while the Mummers are packing up their gear. But, you know our Flyers. When they like a guy, they make sure he stays in orange and black.