Flyers Sign Derrick Pouliot, But Will Need Bigger Moves

Flyers Grab Pouliot But Grant Signs with Ducks, Pitlick With Coyotes

The NHL teams were busy today with over 50 signings throughout the league.  The Flyers were not shut out coming to terms with depth defender Derrick Pouliot.  If the name sound familiar it maybe from the time he spent with arch-rival Pittsburgh.  He was a first round pick of the Pens and was part of their organization until October of 2017 when he was traded to Vancouver.

Pouliot was thought of as offensive defensemen as a prospect and is considered a fair puck mover and dressed for the Blues twice last season. In Vancover, the last team that gave him significant time in the NHL,  he was said to be prone to mental mistakes and was considered a fringe bottom pair player.  Canucks fans did not seem to worry about him leaving.

Pouliot is likely a depth move by Chuck Fletcher, and will likely be a player the Flyers would call up for short term injuries with little worry about him being claimed off waivers.  A depth signing is not in itself a surprise, the fact that Pouliot is not from Minnesota is. I would guess in terms of making the club out of camp he would fall behind Morin, Friedman, Zamula and even Wyatte.

More than Pouliot, the real story is the massive amount of signings league wide and the underlying condition of the free agent market.  Former Flyer Derek Grant went back to the Ducks for three years at 1.5 million a season. Tyler Pitlick left Philly for the Coyotes, receiving two years at 1.75 million a season.  Well deserved.  Pitlick will be missed, Grant probably will not be.

Mid range players being snapped up so quickly showed the manic state of the market.  Todays activity has substantially cut down the available depth in the market.  The Flyers may look forward depth, like the recently waived Tyler Johnson, but so many internal forwards on the cusp, it seems unlikely, plus Wayne Simmonds signed with Toronto.

The situation on defense is a little more vexing.  The void left by Matt Niskanen will not be filled by Kevin Shattenkirk, Kevan Miller, Justin Schultz or Matt Benning, as they were all signed, decimating the market for value priced RHD. Alex Pietrangelo and Sami Vatanen are both still on the market.  Pietrangelo is likely little more than fantasy for the Flyers, but with the Blues signing Krug it is certain he will not be back in St. Louis.  If we could move JVR we would have space for Pietrangelo, giving us a super top pair.  But Vatanen is the more reasonable target.

Vatanen may be waiting for the market to be set, though the Krug signing may have done just that.  Vatanen had a down season for the hapless Devils before being shipped off to Carolina for players and a third round pick.  Vatenen played in seven games in the bubble for the Canes averaging over 18 minutes a night.  Vatanen has struggled with injuries, but if healthy would upgrade the Flyers defense.

There are still some players to be had to fill Niskanen’s spot, but at the rate teams are signing players it won’t last long.