When the list of players came out who had filed for arbitration, Noah Cates was on the list. Rarely to teams need to have a neutral party settle on a salary and that was the case once again. Just a few days after filing, the Philadelphia Flyers have signed Cates to a two-year deal with a cap hit of $2.625M.
With this contract, Cates will still remain a restricted free agent at its conclusion. He will also be eligible for arbitration again if it comes down to it. The discussion of a short or long term contract came up at the end of this past season. It looks like both sides agreed to sort of a bridge deal, but with a hefty increase in salary. The pay rise is certainly earned after what Cates proved he can do. He made $925K on his original two-year deal when he first signed with the Flyers. With the cap expected to rise in the next few years, Cates could be setting himself up for an even bigger pay day down the road.
And Cates did get some Selke love when the ballots were released. It’s impressive to see a young player instantly earning some respect around the league. 15th place may not seem like much, but it shows that Cates did get his name out there as someone who could be a shut-down defender during his career.
The offense was there at the beginning as well. Cates debuted at the end of the 2021-22 season. Appearing in 16 games, he posted five goals and nine points overall. He had three multi-point games, including the first two-goal game of his career. And that was just a small sample size. In a full 82-game season, Cates had 13 goals and 38 points. On the surface, that may not seem like a ton. But it’s the amount of trust he earned to be put into tough situations that makes things look even better.
He was also moved from the wing to center during his first full season, which isn’t an easy transition for a player just coming in. Having a strong relationship with the coaching staff can help with that transition.
"”As my role developed, [Tortorella] would talk to me a little bit more about playing center, playing against top lines, different things like that. It was a great relationship, I can’t complain about any opportunities I’ve gotten this year. All the coaches were great about it. Helping me learn or, like I said, giving me those opportunities. It’s really developed into a great relationship with all the coaches.”"
With a new contract under his belt those opportunities are likely to continue coming. And with a rebuild, Cates has a chance to show the team that he is ready to be one of the young players they build around. The two-hear deal shows the Flyers have faith. Now it’s up to Cates to prove them right.