2021 Free Agency: Five Forwards The Flyers Should Consider Signing

Jan 18, 2018; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Toronto Maple Leafs center Zach Hyman (11) carries the puck against Philadelphia Flyers center Sean Couturier (14) during the first period at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 18, 2018; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Toronto Maple Leafs center Zach Hyman (11) carries the puck against Philadelphia Flyers center Sean Couturier (14) during the first period at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports /
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So far in this three-piece free agency series, we’ve looked at five goaltending options and five defensive options the Philadelphia Flyers should be in on when July 28th comes around for the beginning of the NHL’s free agency period. Today we’ll close out by examining five forwards in free agency they should have their eye on as well.

The Flyers’ goal scoring numbers took an obvious decline this past season. Their power play percentage wasn’t where it should have been with the personnel they have, and their standings in total goals for and goals per game each dropped eight spots from last season from 7th to 15th in the NHL in each respective category. It’s no secret that Philadelphia’s offense remained inconsistent as the season wore on and they’ll definitely be in the market to give their forward group a new look for the 2021-22 season.

We’ll also try to list players that are somewhat in the realm of possibility that Philadelphia could lure here, so while Alex Ovechkin and Gabriel Landeskog would be fantastic pieces to add in free agency, they probably aren’t signing with the Flyers and will likely remain with their respective clubs in Washington and Colorado.


Hall has had an up and down 2020-21 season. He did not have a very impressive run with the Buffalo Sabres in the first half of the season, only posting two goals and 17 assists for 19 points in 37 games with the cellar-dwelling Sabres.

After his trade to the Boston Bruins at the deadline, Hall has really stepped up his game and has enjoyed a small renaissance with his new team. He scored eight goals and six assists for 14 points in 16 games with Boston. That brought his regular season totals across the board to 10 goals and 23 assists for 33 points in 53 games.

Hall also scored two goals and an assist in Boston’s first round playoff series as his Bruins recently disposed of the Washington Capitals in five games in the opening round.

Of course, playing on a team that’s much more talented and well-rounded than the Sabres factors in a bit to Hall’s resurgence. However, this is also a player that’s just three seasons removed from a Hart Trophy as league MVP, so it’s not like he just decided to become good in Boston all of a sudden either.

80 percent of Hall’s goals (8 of 10) have come at even-strength, which is a department the Flyers ranked 12th in the league in this past season. That’s three spots below their ninth-place finish in even-strength scoring in 2019-20 and Hall could provide the Flyers with an extra boost there.

Since Hall entered the league in 2010-11, the only current Flyers with more points than Hall’s 596 from then to now are Claude Giroux (784) and Jake Voracek (650). James van Riemsdyk’s 489 points in that span stands as the most behind Hall among current Flyers.

Hall saw a slight decrease in ice time after his trade from Buffalo to Boston. The Sabres deployed Hall for 18:41 a game while the Bruins iced him for 15:58 a game in the regular season. Part of that is due to the amount of firepower that Boston has in their lineup that takes a bit of the workload off of Hall’s shoulders, and so far Hall has been a more productive player partially because of that as well.

One area the Flyers need major help in is on their power play. Philadelphia’s power play clicked at a dismal 19.2% clip, only good enough for a tie for 17th in the league with the Montreal Canadiens. 66 of Hall’s 228 career goals have been scored on the man advantage, which is almost a 29% rate.

Hall only has scored one power play goal this season and only has seven in his last three seasons, but he did have 13 during his MVP season in 2017-18 and he has played on some pretty bad teams the last few years. So maybe a change of scenery and playing with the likes of Giroux and Voracek on a power play unit could benefit both sides as well.

Hall’s advanced metrics have fared well this season too. At even-strength, his Corsi-For % is at 56.5 on the year and his PDO sits at 97.4, but he amassed a staggering 109.4 PDO in his regular season stint with the Bruins after the trade. That was obviously a bit lucky but also shows the outrageous gap in skill between Buffalo and Boston as well that Hall has played with and the impact it has had on his game. Boston’s even-strength save percentage with Hall on the ice is also a firm .973, compared to Buffalo’s measly .868 when Hall was on the ice at even-strength for the Sabres.

With the Seattle Kraken’s expansion draft looming this summer as well, the Flyers could potentially run the risk of losing Jake Voracek or James van Riemsdyk, two forwards who provide tremendous offense for the Flyers but have been speculated to be among the players who could be left unprotected by general manager Chuck Fletcher due to their high salary cap hits. Losing one of those two would leave a big hole in Philadelphia’s top-six forward group and a player like Taylor Hall could slide in and help the team fill that gap should the Kraken select one of them.

Hall is one of the most prized possessions to be had during this upcoming free agency period, and if the Bruins cannot come to an agreement with Hall before July 28th, the Flyers should be all in on the winger who can provide a major boost to their underperforming forward group alongside one of Sean Couturier or Kevin Hayes.