Everyone can breathe a sigh of relief.
Philadelphia Flyers unrestricted free agents Valtteri Filppula and Brandon Manning will both not be returning to the Flyers. Ron Hextall confirmed on Sunday afternoon that the Flyers would be “moving on” from Filppula, and Manning signed a two-year contract with the Chicago Blackhawks as free agency opened.
Filppula had 41 points in 101 games with the Flyers. He disappointed last season after being acquired at the 2017 trade deadline.
Manning did post a nice message on his twitter account on Sunday morning, thanking the fans for all of the support they showed during his time in Philadelphia.
Manning played 207 games over the course of six seasons with the Flyers, most of them coming in the past three years. He had 43 points as a Flyer.
Bringing back either of these free agents was a fear of many fans, so we can all enjoy the James van Riemsdyk signing a little bit more now. The Flyers improved both by signing a great free agent, and via addition by subtraction.
Hextall and the Flyers will look at internal options to fill their roster. However, a trade should not be ruled out. They have been named among teams as an option for Artemi Panarin, there are a few centers on the trade block (namely Ryan O’Reilly), and a few defensemen (hello, Erik Karlsson) as well.
Even if the Flyers don’t pull off a trade, their internal options are strong. Scott Laughton is a solid third-line or good fourth-line center. Morgan Frost has a chance to make the team, though it might be a longshot. Mikhail Vorobyev or Mike Vecchione could continue moving up the ranks and join the Flyers as well.
On the defensive front, Travis Sanheim should have a roster spot locked up. Ivan Provorov, Shayne Gostisbehere, Travis Sanheim, Radko Gudas, Robert Hagg, and Andrew MacDonald are a decent group of six with Philippe Myers potentially joining them.
Hextall made the big splash in free agency and is moving on to better options internally. Things are continuing to look up for the coming season.
Photos by Heather Barry/Sons of Penn
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