Contract talks between the Philadelphia Flyers and Ryan White broke down, leading to his departure and the arrival of Dale Weise and Boyd Gordon
Most fans and experts in the orbit of the Philadelphia Flyers largely assumed that it was just a formality that the Flyers would sign the pending unrestricted free agent Ryan White. After the season was over, White was quite open about his desire to stay. Furthermore, as of last night, the 2 sides were seemingly close to a deal.
How quickly things change.
As the opening bell sounded for free agency and many big names went as expected in a matter of minutes, the Flyers’ name was being attached to a deal for free agent Dale Weise. That one was not expected nor speculated about.
The Philadelphia Flyers ultimately signed Weise to a 4-year contract at an annual cap hit of $2.35 million. Before the ink was even dry on that contract, the writing was on the wall for Ryan White. Many of the skills Weise brings are similar to White’s contributions, but Weise does it better.
Indeed, Weise contract values tells you the Flyers don’t see him as a straight replacement for White. White was an $800,000 player for the Flyers last year, and likely due for only a modest raise this offseason. The Flyers and White were close to a deal, but at some point this morning Hextall looked elsewhere.
In this case, the Flyers built on White’s rugged, two-way game, but upgraded. While White is coming off a career year with 11 goals, the Flyers will look for 10-20 goals from Weise every year in this contract. The Flyers aren’t giving him 4 years at $2+ million plus to skate on the 4th line as White did.
While Weise is like an upgraded White, the real replacement for White’s 4th line spot was the Flyers second signing of the day, Boyd Gordon.
Gordon is not as physical as White, but he is a pure defensive forward and penalty killer. While Weise will bounce around the top-9, Gordon will skate on the 4th line, kill penalties, take faceoffs, and earn a White-like $950,000 this season.
White didn’t take long to recognize that he was no longer needed in Philadelphia. His departure from the Philadelphia Flyers is now official, having signed a 1 year, $1 million deal in Arizona.
It’s a shame that White had to walk away from a situation that he liked, and where he won a lot of fans in Philadelphia. It really shows that free agency is a bonanza for a lucky few NHL players, while it’s a cruel game for the dirty peasant masses of the league.
Ryan White perhaps thought his 11-goal season would be a breakout for him and earn him a few more dollars, but he didn’t have as much leverage as he hoped. Fortunately for a player as determined as he is, he will likely keep finding interested NHL teams and cheering fans for at least a few more seasons.