With the recent departure of Ivan Provorov, Danny Briere and the Flyers are seemingly poised to put Cam York on the pedestal to see if he can develop into the number one defenseman that Provorov wasn’t fully able to obtain. It wasn’t necessarily his fault alone due to the fact that he didn’t always have the right partner to help elevate his game. The Flyers can fix that mistake with providing Cam York with a veteran partner who can elevate him to that next level like we saw Matt Niskanen do with Provorov.
While not all of the downplay is on Provorov, it still stands to reason that he never became the number one guy for the Flyers. Last season, while looking at the team in an overview, the question began to present itself of Ivan Provorov or Cam York. While Briere has made his decision, most likely alongside head coach John Tortorella, it is only fair to go out and find York a veteran to walk him through the rigors of a full NHL season and to become a real pros pro.
Most likely grabbing a right-handed defenseman will be the way to go for the Flyers. Briere doesn’t necessarily need to grab a young player or sign a player to a long-term contract, but there are some players available who will compliment York and vice versa. With York being a puck-moving defenseman, having a defensive defenseman who can stay home and let York activate will be the best option, but there are a few offensive defensemen out there as well who might fit the profile of this team.
Five Defensemen the Flyers Can Sign to Help Cam York
Having been a part of a playoff team after being traded to Minnesota, Klingberg remains without an extension from the Wild. Klingberg could be the Matt Niskanen/Ryan Ellis replacement they have been searching for. While Klingberg took a one year deal this current season to bet on himself, he did not bet on Damon Severson setting the market with his 8 year, 50 million dollar contract.
Last season, Klingberg was seeking a long term contract around 8M AAV. Severson recorded seven goals and 26 assists in 81 games. It’s similar to Klingberg’s 10 goals and 23 assists in 67 games. Though he is 30 years old and has not played a full season since the 2017-18.
Bringing this to the blue line could provide both a spark on the power play but also 5-on-5 play. Having a pro who has been to the Stanley Cup Finals doesn’t hurt. Klingberg would bring leadership and veteran experience to the blue line. Travis Sanheim might also benefit from Klingberg coming here.
Klingberg could come here for two years with an AAV of 5.5-6. This could suit Klingberg’s need for a little consistency and the Flyers aren’t exactly handcuffed for a long-term deal.
When Chuck Fletcher traded Shayne Gostisbehere almost two years ago, he tried to outsmart the league by signing Erik Gustafsson. When that didn’t work out, he tried to patch the hole with Tony DeAngelo, who was coming off of a really good season from Carolina. Obviously, we know how that has turned out. While Gostisbehere isn’t a right-handed defenseman, he would still be a big addition to this team.
The clear solution would be to bring him back. He spent seven seasons with the Flyers before Alain Vigneault and Chuck Fletcher decided that he no longer fit what they wanted out of their roster. Gostisbehere was sent to Arizona along with draft picks in return for…nothing. In his first full season in Arizona, Gostisbehere scored 14 goals and assisted on 37 on a bad team. This last season between Arizona and Carolina, he scored 13 goals and assisted on 28 in 75 games.
Gostisbehere quickly became a fan favorite in Philly because of moments like this. Bringing him home for leadership and personality would prove dividends of the failures of the previous front office and coaching staff. He might also take a hometown discount. 3-4 years, 4.5-5M AAV might be enough to bring him home where he belongs.
Ethan Bear is still 25 years old and has gained some great experience in the NHL. Bear was traded to the Canucks by the Hurricanes for a fifth round pick. The right-handed defenseman earned a lot of respect from the Canucks organization and believes he will be in Vancouver next season. Now being an RFA, the Flyers could make a push for him. Bear fits the timeline for the rebuild and profile of the type of player Tortorella loves.
Vancouver had a lot of injuries throughout the season, forcing them to call up a lot of their young players from the AHL. While Bear still had a good season, his contract value hasn’t quite gone up past 4M AAV. Putting in an offer sheet for Bear who, scored three goals and assisted on 13 could be a smart move by Briere.
Matt Dumba was a player that I wanted the Flyers to make a move for at the trade deadline. Dumba is a good skater and is good on both ends of the ice. His leadership is a big quality that cannot be understated. Pairing Dumba with York might be a similar situation of Provorov/Niskanen.
Dumba isn’t going to score you a lot of goals, but he will be out there to help shut down opposing top lines. Playing next to York, he would most likely be in more of a defensive defenseman role for this roster. Dumba would also bring a new work ethic to the defensemen already on the roster.
The former sixth overall pick from the 2020 draft is going to be an RFA. The Flyers could pull off a robbery for this young stud by putting in an offer sheet. Anaheim is one of those teams that have been compiling top prospects and picks and have had no success to show for it. They are the West Coast Sabres.
The Flyers could put an offer sheet in for Drysdale and the worst thing that could happen is that the Ducks match their offer. Drysdale only played eight games this last season. This could bring his value down a tiny bit, but could work in the Flyers favor.
Drysdale’s 2021 season put him on the radar for the league. With four goals and 28 assists, Drysdale has a bright future for this league. One the Flyers could try to poach if they have the desire too. Potentially moving the 22nd pick for the rights to sign him might be worth it for the Flyers getting an NHL ready player who can potentially speed up the timeline to eventually become a top defenseman.