7 Potential UFAs The Flyers Can Actually Afford

Flyers, Chuck Fletcher (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Flyers, Chuck Fletcher (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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It’s no secret that one of Philadelphia’s biggest weaknesses last year was the defense playing in front of goalies Carter Hart and backup Martin Jones, as well as how they were coached. There were also injuries throughout the year to the Flyers’ defense, most notably to veteran Ryan Ellis, who the Flyers acquired last summer. Ellis only played four games during the 2021-22 NHL season due to a “multilayered” injury to the defenseman’s pelvic region and there’s still not a definite timetable for his return as the 2022-23 regular season approaches.

With Philadelphia’s top 6 defensemen seeming weak defensively and battered with injuries to key defenders, even with the newly acquired South Jersey native Tony DeAngelo, signing a big-bodied blue-liner like Nikita Zadorov could be a necessary move if Ellis cannot return early—or at all—this season. Zadorov would surely solidify Philadelphia’s 3rd pairing that is currently projected to be Cam York and Nick Seeler while Ellis is out for the future. He would likely cost around $4M per year so this is surely a move Fletcher should only make if Ellis is unable to return and feels the Flyers simply cannot compete by using Seeler or a prospect for that final slot in the defense.