Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Updated Contract Statuses, Depth Chart 7/3

With Monday's acquisition of center Kris Newbury, plus the news that four Adirondack Phantoms players received qualifying offers and two more didn't, this seems like as good a time as any to update the contract chart. Here's how everything stands at this hour, days shy of NHL free agency:

Player Name 2012-13 Contract Type 2013-14 Contract Status
Jason Akeson (RW) NHL SIGNED
Brandon Alderson (W) ATO SIGNED - NHL
Mark Alt (D) ATO SIGNED - NHL
Rob Bordson (LW/C) AHL SIGNED - AHL
Brian Boucher (G) NHL UFA
Marc-Andre Bourdon (D) NHL SIGNED
Tyler Brown (LW) NHL SIGNED
Nick Cousins (C) NHL SIGNED
Jeff Dimmen (D) AHL SIGNED - ASIA*
Cullen Eddy (D) NHL SIGNED
Zack FitzGerald (LW/D) AHL UFA
Kyle Flanagan (C) ATO SIGNED - NHL
Erik Gustafsson (D) NHL QUALIFIED RFA
Shane Harper (RW) NHL TRADED - NYI
Cal Heeter (G) NHL SIGNED
Ben Holmstrom (RW) NHL SIGNED
Tyler Hostetter (D) NHL SIGNED
Andrew Johnston (F) NHL SIGNED
Blake Kessel (D) NHL NOW UFA
Matt Konan (D) NHL SIGNED
David Laliberte (LW) AHL UFA
Oliver Lauridsen (D) NHL QUALIFIED RFA
Andreas Lilja (D) NHL SIGNED - SWEDEN
Brandon Manning (D) NHL QUALIFIED RFA
Matt Mangene (F) NHL SIGNED
Derek Mathers (RW) NHL SIGNED
Tye McGinn (LW) NHL SIGNED
Scott Munroe (G) AHL SIGNED - SWEDEN
Marcel Noebels (LW/C) NHL SIGNED
Garrett Roe (C) AHL UFA
Jon Sim (LW/RW) AHL UFA
Ian Slater (LW/C) AHL UFA
Danny Syvret (D) NHL TRADED - NYR
Mitch Wahl (C) NHL NOW UFA
Eric Wellwood (F) NHL QUALIFIED RFA

*Thanks to @JoshJanet for the tip. This went through a couple weeks ago, but I missed it.

One thing that immediately jumps off the page from that chart is that there's a pretty solid core of Phantoms who are under contract for next season. There are 18 players who have played for the team before already signed to contracts, plus an additional four players who received qualifying offers.

The Phantoms also have goalie Carsen Chubak under contract for next season, while the Flyers have signed defenseman Maxim Lamarche and forwards Michael Raffl and Peter Straka. Add in Newbury and you're now looking at some 28 players who are candidates for positions in Glens Falls. Here's another few tables, which include everyone the Flyers or Phantoms have under contract for next year.

NHL LOCKS

LW C RW
HARTNELL GIROUX VORACEK
B. SCHENN LECAVALIER SIMMONDS
TALBOT COUTURIER READ
ROSEHILL HALL RINALDO

DDG
TIMONENSTREITMASON
L. SCHENNMESZAROSEMERY
GROSSMANNCOBURN
PRONGER*GERVAIS


NHL BUBBLE

LW C RW
McGINN LAUGHTON AKESON
RAFFL NEWBURY HOLMSTROM

DD
GUSTAFSSONBOURDON*
LAURIDSEN

PHANTOMS

LWCRW
NOEBELSFLANAGANSTRAKA
MANGENEBORDSONALDERSON
BROWNCOUSINSMATHERS
WELLWOOD*JOHNSTON

DDG
MANNINGKONANDANIS
LAMARCHE EDDYHEETER
ALTHOSTETTERCHUBAK

*Injured
AHL CONTRACT 
Qualified, but needs to be formally signed.


A couple of things. The wings are fluid, since the Flyers have a lot of centers that are also capable of playing on the wings. Take that as you will. Right away, though, you realize that there aren't that many spots up for grabs in Philadelphia's training camp this year. I'd say that eight of their top nine forward spots are set, and you're probably looking for two additional forwards to make the big club. That's where the NHL bubble table comes into play. I'd like to think that McGinn will take one of the spots, based on how well he played when he was down here, but the team said some pretty glowing things about Raffl when they signed him. They think he could be NHL ready. We'll just have to see.

Laughton is an impressive kid who the Flyers like a lot. I think he gets another spot up top. Then you could take the rest of those players from the bubble table and add them to the Phantoms. The exception is Laughton, who is either going to the NHL or juniors this season. But if Akeson, Newbury and Holmstrom all come down, I think that doesn't look like a bad group of forwards. Still a little bit on the younger side, but it's clear that's been the Flyers preference over the past few seasons.

UPDATES: The Flyers re-signed Adam Hall Thursday, he's been added to the "NHL Locks" table. That's a good signing for the bottom six, and it now makes securing a spot out of training camp much more difficult for the bubble players. They're now competing for one roster spot, maybe two. They also added one-time Phantom (literally, he played one game here) Ray Emery to play goaltender. Later Friday, they signed former Oklahoma City Baron Yann Danis to a contract. That's a big deal.

What does that say about the free agency prospects? Well, if the Flyers are in the market for a couple of depth players to round out their AHL roster, that will take away ice time from some of their younger prospects. And there are a lot of kids -- as you can see from the tables -- that they're trying to develop this year. There are benefits to signing some veterans, though, and you can see that the Flyers turned a bit of a corner when they brought aboard Jon Sim and David Laliberte in the second half of the season. I think that they could really stand to benefit from another veteran winger come Friday.

The reality is, though, there aren't a lot of roster spots available within the organization at forward.

I still think Erik Gustafsson, who is eligible for waivers, has probably played his last game in Glens Falls, unless you account for a conditioning assignment. But Manning and Lauridsen are exempt from waivers, so they've got a pretty good chance to return. Wellwood will have some work to do to get back into game shape once he returns from that Achillies injury, estimated to be in January. He's also eligible for waivers, according to CapGeek, but his situation is a little different given that injury.

They're also probably going to have to trade one of Braydon Coburn or Andrej Meszaros up top to give themselves some salary cap relief, which would increase Gustafsson's chances of sticking in the NHL. Defensive depth really isn't this organization's strength. They could really benefit from picking up one or two guys through free agency when that opens. Some of the best available at the AHL level are Andre Benoit, Bobby Sanguinetti and Nate Guenin, a former Flyers prospect who had a career season with Norfolk. Nick Holden also had a really good season with the Springfield Falcons.

They're still sort of young at goalie, too. They need to sign an NHL back-up, but it probably wouldn't hurt to have another Scott Munroe in the fold. A guy who wouldn't mind being the back-up to Heeter, but would be able to make a spot start or two in the NHL if the Flyers absolutely needed him to. EDIT: Danis fits that bill. But if you include Laughton, and the four qualifying offers, they're already at 49 contracts. (Updated to include Thursday afternoon's Hall signing and Friday afternoon's addition of Ray Emery from Chicago and Danis). They don't have a lot of room to spare. If Laughton goes back to juniors, his contract doesn't count. They also have goalie Anthony Stolarz under contract, but he'll probably go back to juniors as well. Accordingly, I haven't included him in the 50-contract calculations.

Jonathan Bombulie of The (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.) Citizens' Voice and myself hope to have the list of the top AHL free agents live online later this afternoon, or tomorrow at the latest. We ranked the top 300 and did a brief bio on the rest of them. I'll be sure to Tweet out a link to that when it's live online.

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