Offseason Over? How Flyers Compare to Metropolitan Division Rivals

Offseason Over? How Flyers Compare to Metropolitan Division Rivals

Due to their dire salary cap situation, the Philadelphia Flyers’ offseason has been a less rosy one than usual.

By comparison, some Metropolitan Division rivals have beefed up their rosters in preparation for the much-improved 2024-25 season, while other teams, like the Flyers, have remained stagnant.

Now that the first week of the NHL season is over, how do the Flyers compare to their biggest foes?

Let’s start with what happened in Philadelphia and then move on to the division.

The Flyers’ biggest addition this offseason, by far, was Matvei Michkov, the 19-year-old Russian phenom drafted seventh overall in the 2023 NHL Draft. Michkov wasn’t scheduled to arrive on Broad Street until 2026, but rumors out of Russia have opened up the possibility he could land in Philadelphia sooner.

The Flyers, SKA St. Petersburg and other parties involved kept the whole thing under wraps until we got to where we are now: just a few days after Michkov signed his entry-level contract.

Michkov, as young and inexperienced at the NHL level as he is, will likely be the most impactful offseason move the Flyers make. Other transactions include the re-signing of young winger Bobby Brink and emerging defenseman Egor Zamula, as well as the return of veteran defensive end Erik Johnson.

The organization also brought back Adam Ginning and extended Garnet Hathaway’s contract, though Hathaway was already under contract for this season and Ginning is expected to begin the season in the AHL barring something unforeseen.

Brink and Zamula are expected to take bigger steps forward and assume permanent roles in the NHL lineup, while Johnson, the veteran player, will rotate as needed.

With the exception of Michkov, the Flyers return with a lineup that has been largely unchanged since the end of the 2023-24 season.

No team in the NHL has made more progress this offseason than the New Jersey Devils.

The Devils, a team that was expected to contend for the Stanley Cup last season but failed miserably, have had all of their needs met in a matter of weeks. Yes, all of their needs.

Star goalkeeper Jacob Markstrom ensures the team feels comfortable between the posts, while experienced forwards Stefan Noesen and Tomas Tatar return to Newark for their second stint, providing experience and depth to round out the top nine.

Stalwarts Brenden Dillon and Brett Pesce will serve as complementary pieces to the Devils’ two young stars on the backfield, Luke Hughes and Simon Nemec. From there, Johnathan Kovacevic and Nick DeSimone will battle it out for the No. 7 defenseman spot.

Finally, speedster Paul Cotter will replace Alex Holtz, the former sharpshooter who was selected first overall in the draft and drafted in New Jersey’s bottom six for aeternitas.

Once the Devils are able to re-sign young Dawson Mercer, their offseason business is complete. On paper, this is probably the best team the Devils have had in two decades.

The phone lines in Washington, DC, were also red hot as the Washington Capitals made numerous deals this offseason in a desperate attempt to stay competitive and extend the life of aging superstar Alex Ovechkin.

The biggest change was the replacement of Darcy Kuemper by Pierre-Luc Dubois, but the arrival of players like Andrew Mangiapane, Brandon Duhaime, Logan Thompson and Taylor Raddysh cannot go unnoticed.

Oh, and the Capitals traded that Jakob Chychrun.

How well Washington does this season will largely depend on Ovechkin. The good news for them is that this is the most complete supporting cast Ovechkin has had in three years or more.

The Carolina Hurricanes lost more players than anything else, but Eric Tulsky did manage to acquire some analytical gems and depth in his short time as NHL general manager. Notably, former Flyers defensemen Sean Walker and Shayne Gostisbehere, but Jack Roslovic and William Carrier are also notable additions.

Standout forwards Jack Drury, Martin Necas and Seth Jarvis are all unsigned restricted free agents, and Tulsky will have to find a way to fix that with less than $12 million in salary cap space to work with.

In the Big Apple, the New York Rangers have accomplished virtually nothing this offseason.

Disgruntled captain Jacob Trouba remains on the list, while the only additions to the Rangers’ roster come in the form of Benoit-Olivier Groulx, Casey Fitzgerald and Sam Carrick. Barclay Goodrow was questionably sent to San Jose, but the Rangers have done nothing with the resulting cap space other than throw a dart at Reilly Smith.

Oh, and Ryan Lindgren and Braden Schneider, two of their best defenders, are restricted free agents. Did Chris Drury forget to set an alarm for July 1st?

It’s no surprise that the Columbus Blue Jackets haven’t been very active this offseason, but they need to tie up some loose ends quickly.

For starters, the Blue Jackets have just five NHL defensemen under contract through the 2024-25 season, unless the plan is to finally insert top prospect David Jiricek into the lineup. Burgeoning forwards Kirill Marchenko, Cole Sillinger and Kent Johnson are all in need of new contracts as well.

Oh, and they don’t even have a head coach yet.

The New York Islanders also had a mediocre offseason, although it was a smart move to bring in Anthony Duclair for a $3.5 million salary cap hit.

Ruslan Iskhakov is leaving for the KHL, Oliver Wahlstrom has opted for arbitration and Simon Holmstrom is waiting for a new contract. All three players are 24 years younger.

Other than signing KHL star Maxim Tsyplakov, that’s about it. Lou Lamoriello style.

And last but certainly not least, the Pittsburgh Penguins signed Sebastian Aho this offseason. Just not the one you’re thinking of.

Sidney Crosby is reportedly set to extend his contract in the coming weeks or days. He likely made his decision when he heard that former Flyers forward Kevin Hayes was coming to town.

Anthony Beauvillier, Blake Lizotte and Matt Grzelcyk are nice additions, but the Penguins’ core of gray hairs remains largely intact, with the exception of Jake Guentzel. And they traded Reilly Smith to the Rangers for draft picks, not a player(s).

That said, the Flyers should finish somewhere in the middle of the Metropolitan Division if a few things work out in their favor. The two biggest concerns are how Sam Ersson and Ivan Fedotov hold up as a duo, and whether the Flyers remain a below-average offensive team.

Michkov will help, but can he lift the Flyers from 26th in the league in goals scored to 16th or 17th?

The Kites should The Penguins, the Islanders and the Blue Jackets can outshine them, but nothing is guaranteed in this division. Far from it.

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