With July 1st just hours away, NHL free agency rumors are swirling. They’re mostly around one player: John Tavares.
Tavares is undoubtedly the top free agent available this offseason, and he’s getting most of the headlines. He met with several teams over the past week to determine where he would sign, but the Philadelphia Flyers weren’t among them. It wasn’t for a lack of trying, however.
Tavares likely had a specific set of requirements for each team he considered, and unfortunately the Flyers didn’t check enough boxes for him. Maybe he wants to be the guy, not behind someone like Claude Giroux. Maybe it was strictly about location or divisional rivals of his former team, the New York Islanders. Whatever the case was, the Flyers wanted in and Tavares didn’t feel the same way.
Many fans and analysts had chastised Hextall and the Flyers for not pursuing Tavares, but this should clear things up a bit. If Tavares didn’t want to come here, there’s only so much they can do.
You can assume that Hextall and the Flyers shifted their focus to other free agent targets, or perhaps trade possibilities. Among those free agents could be Paul Stastny, the best center in the free agent class outside of Tavares. They could also look at veteran forwards James van Riemsdyk or Tyler Bozak if they want one of the “top” guys, or someone like Riley Nash or Derek Ryan if they want a depth center to fill in the gaps.
Hextall has over $21 million in cap space to work with this offseason and is looking to add a forward and defenseman. With free agency opening tomorrow, it won’t be too long before we find out.
(Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)
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