Flyers Add Depth Players To NHL & AHL Rosters

Dec 18, 2021; Seattle, Washington, USA; Edmonton Oilers center Cooper Marody (65) is pictured before a game against the Seattle Kraken at Climate Pledge Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Brashear-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 18, 2021; Seattle, Washington, USA; Edmonton Oilers center Cooper Marody (65) is pictured before a game against the Seattle Kraken at Climate Pledge Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Brashear-USA TODAY Sports /

With day one of free agency in the books for the Philadelphia Flyers, they signed a total of seven players. The big moves came in the four year deal to Nicolas Deslauriers and the one year deal to Justin Braun. There was no big free agency splash in the form of Johnny Gaudreau.

Speaking to the media, Chuck Fletcher seemingly confirmed that the team was never really in on Gaudreau to begin with. He cited their lack of cap space as the main reason they couldn’t bring in some of the bigger names on the market.

Not like they haven’t had plenty of time to find some cap space. But that’s an issue for another time. The Flyers couldn’t find a way to dump any of their bigger contracts, thus leading to many minimal moves as free agency opened.

Most of the moves will help the Lehigh Valley Phantoms after they struggled most of last season. Some may also have an impact on the Flyers roster depending on their performance in training camp.

So aside from Deslauriers and Braun, here are the other five players that the Flyers signed in free agency.

Cooper Marody: Two Year, $762.5K

Originally drafted by the Flyers in sixth round in 2015, Marody has spent the last four years in the Oilers organization. Edmonton acquired his rights from Philadelphia in 2018 and subsequently signed him to his entry-level contract.

He has only appeared in seven career NHL games and has not yet registered a point. He has been a big part of the Bakersfield Condors roster in the AHL. In 182 games, Marody has posted 67 goals and 175 points. He is coming off an over point-per-game season with 55 points (21G – 34A) in 52 games.

The Michigan product will certainly help bolster the Phantoms forward core and could potentially be a call up option if injuries plague the Flyers roster once again.

Adam Brooks: Two Year, $762.5K

Brooks spend the last season between the NHL and AHL with Montreal, Vegas, and Winnipeg. He appeared in a total of 25 NHL games, recording two goals and one assist.

A five-year AHL veteran, Brooks has posted 42 goals and 95 points in 169 games. A fourth round pick of the Leafs in 2016, Brooks hasn’t been able to come close to the offensive numbers he put up in juniors with the Regina Pats. Of course, juniors is much different than the NHL/AHL. But the numbers have dwindled heavily over the last few years.

Nonetheless, Brooks will certainly be a veteran presence for some of the younger Phantoms forwards.

Louis Belpedio: One Year, $750K

Moving over to the defensive end, the Phantoms will be getting one who knows how to put the puck into the net. Belpedio is coming off a career year with the Laval Rocket, the Canadiens AHL affiliate.

He posted 11 goals and 30 points in 69 games. He added two goals and 10 points in 15 postseason games. Belpedio has appeared in four career NHL games, all for the Minnesota Wild, grabbing two assists in his NHL debut in 2018. He became the first Wild player in franchise history to have a multi-point game in his debut.

Kevin Connauton: Two Year, $762.5K

The Flyers decided to bring back another familiar face in Connauton. Philadelphia originally claimed the defenseman on waivers from the Panthers last December. He appeared in 13 games for Florida, recording no points, before he was claimed.

He recorded his first goal of the season, adding two assists in 26 games for Philadelphia. He will likely fill in as depth on the Flyers roster, similar to the role he played in his short stint last season.

Troy Grosenick: One Year, $750K

Grosenick also has a chance to make the Flyers roster as he will compete with Samuel Ersson and Felix Sandstorm for the backup role behind Carter Hart. With Ivan Fedotov stuck in Russia, the competition is wide open for that spot.

Grosenick has spent the majority of his career in the minor leagues for the Sharks, Predators, Kings, and Bruins. His most recent stint in the NHL came during the 2020-21 season with Los Angeles. He posted a 3.00 GAA and a .922 SV% in two games.

He was most recently in the AHL with the Providence Bruins. There he recorded a 2.00 GAA and a .933 SV%. He also had three shutouts. He recorded a 1.68 GAA and a .939 SV% in two postseason contests.

With the Flyers lack of cap space, making a big splash was nearly impossible without moving out one or two big contracts. So instead, the team decided to add depth to their roster, mostly in the form of AHL players. Among the five other additions, Connauton by far has the most NHL experience. The other four have combined just over 40 career games.

There’s going to be plenty of competition as some of the Flyers younger players will have their opportunity to make the team. It could very well be a make or break year for more than a few of them. And the team desperately needs some of their youth to make an impact.

While Fletcher believes this team will be competitive next season, it’s truly hard to believe they’ve set themselves up to make that happen. With major injuries to Sean Couturier, Kevin Hayes and Ryan Ellis last season, there is no guarantee all three will bounce back. In fact, there is an even greater that the latter  won’t even play this season. Though, having to LTIR Ellis will certainly open up plenty of cap space.

Add in injuries to Joel Farabee and Bobby Brink this off-season and the Flyers already look like they’ll have trouble putting a competitive team on the ice.