How Have the Flyers' Metro Rivals Done in Free Agency?

While the Flyers are tight on cash, how about the rest of the Metro? How have they fared in free agency thus far?
St Louis Blues v Boston Bruins
St Louis Blues v Boston Bruins / Richard T Gagnon/GettyImages

We know that the Flyers are pretty much hamstrung when it comes to free agency this year, just like the last two or three years. That doesn't mean that the rest of the division is napping. Nope, they are restocking for yet another year at a Stanley Cup run. The last time that a Metro Division team appeared in the Stanley Cup Finals was when the Caps won it all in 2018.

After the first few days of a very active free agency period, many of the Flyers' divisional rivals have been beefing up. Some, because of cap issues, aren't doing too much. One team lost and gained a lot, so it's not clear yet where they will be come October. Let's take a quick peek at how the other Metro teams are doing.

Pittsburgh Penguins

The Penguins started up just before free agency began with the acquisition of Kevin Hayes. Hayes was bought out by the Blues after a ho-hum season. If any Flyers fans don't like Hayes, his joining the Pens is not going to help his cause. This is a far cry from their acquisition of Erik Karlsson last year.

The Pens have slightly more money than Philly, but that hinders their cause greatly. They made an offer for Vladimir Tarasenko, but he opted to sign in Detroit instead. They lured Sebastian Aho (no, not the good one), away from the Islanders to help on defense. Other than that, most of what they have done have been depth signings: Anthony Beauvillier, Jimmy Huntington, Nathan Clurman, Emil Bemstrom, Matt Grzelcyk, Mac Hollowell, and Ryan Shea. This also comes on the heels of them trading Reilly Smith to the Rangers for draft picks. In short, this is an old team getting older and their old guys are overpaid. For Flyers fans, this is a wonderful thing.

New York Rangers

The Rangers have been mostly quiet. After making a deep run in the playoffs again, they are looking to come back in the fall with pretty much the same squad that pounded everyone around this past season. They did make a trade for Reilly Smith, which will add a youthful sniper to their already deep team. The team also made a few depth-piece signings with Casey Fitzgerald and Benoit-Olivier Groulx.

In short, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. The Rangers are good. They are tough. And while they are $8 million under the cap now, they have a lot of free agents to look at next year. They may also be prepping for Leon Draisaitl to become a free agent and try to lure him to the Big Apple.

New Jersey Devils

After taking a huge step forward in 2022-23 to become one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference, surprisingly, the Devils had an injury-prone season combined with some of their younger stars not playing as well. As a result, the team has loaded up this year. They signed defender Brett Pesce to a six-year deal to patrol the blueline. They also signed Brenden Dillon, and Mike Hardman while bringing back Tomas Tatar and Stefan Noesen. On the plus side, they missed out on trying to bring in Steven Stamkos.

Pesce on this team for six years is a nightmare for Flyers fans. This brings them one of the best possible defenders on the market to amplify their young scoring forwards. This could greatly help them get back into playoff contention. Not good.

Carolina Hurricanes

This team has had the roughest offseason since the Columbus Blue Jackets lost Sergei Bobrovsky, Artemi Panarin, and Matt Duchene all in the same season. Pesce went to NJ and Brady Skeji, the team's other defender, went to Tampa. Reliable scoring forward Teuvo Teravainen returned to Chicago. Jake Guentzel, the player they traded a first-round pick, a bevy of prospects, and Ryan Bunting for netted them a third-round pick when it was clear they couldn't re-sign him and they traded him to Tampa. Ouch.

Skeji and Pesce have been replaced by two former Flyers: Sean Walker and Shayne Gostisbehere. If Walker can stay healthy, he and Gostisbehere could become a fearsome duo as Walker's defensive skills can overcome Gostisbehere's liabilities. They also added Riley Stillman to their defensive corps.

The Canes also signed forwards Jack Roslovic, William Carrier, and Tyson Jost and re-signed forward Jordan Martinook. They missed out on Stamkos. They did lose a lot of star power and will probably not be the class of the division this upcoming season. However, they should still be competitive and near the top of the division, likely earning a playoff spot.

New York Islanders

The Islanders made many of their big moves at the trade deadline in the 2022-23 season. Still, they were somewhat active. They signed winger Anthony Duclair to a four-year deal and re-signed
defenseman Mike Reilly to a one-year deal. They also added depth forwards Marc Gatcomb and Fredrik Karlström. However, they did lose forward Cal Clutterbuck.

The Isles are the Isles, they are good roughly every other year. They have made the playoffs the past two seasons. They are probably getting ready for their downward shift.

Washington Capitals

The Caps missed the playoffs two years ago and just barely made it this year after the Flyers collapsed. They have been very, very active so far. Before the free agency period began, they traded defender Nick Jensen for Ottawa's Jakob Chychrun. They flipped goalie Darcy Kemper to Los Angeles for Pierre Luc Dubois and then traded a draft pick for Calgary's Andrew Mangiapane.

They weren't finished yet. They also signed Taylor Raddish, Luke Philip, and Spencer Smallman, and re-signed Connor McMichael. All of this has been done to help Alex Ovechkin get one more chance at a Stanley Cup. The consequence of all of these moves is that they are now $13 million over the cap. Maybe this is why they bought CapFriendly to learn how to better manage their salary cap. However, only the Caps could purchase a FREE service found online that is based on FREE public information.

This is an aging, but talented team. However, the cap is going to screw them over big time. How Washington figures out how to fix this will be fun to watch.

Columbus Blue Jackets

In case you forgot, CBJ is still in the division. After "winning" free agency two years ago when they acquired Johnny Gaudreau, the Blue Jackets have proudly been one of the NHL's worst teams. Outside of signing center Sean Monahan to a five-year deal, they've done nothing but add a few minor two-way depth pieces. Nothing really to note. In short, look for Columbus to remain as one of the division's bottom teams.


After two years of watching some of their Metro Division rivals rise in a non-stop arms race to get better and outdo each other, this season, the teams have calmed down somewhat as most are cash-strapped. The Devils made probably the best moves while the Canes are trying to replace key players they lost. Most everyone else made depth signings as most of the prize-free agents seemed to head to Nashville or Tampa this year.

Still, none of this makes the Flyers' job next season any easier. At least you can count on the Jackets to end up at the bottom. After that, we'll have to see.