Bargain Free Agents Philadelphia Flyers Should Chase in 2014 Offseason
The Philadelphia Flyers made nice strides this season.
After missing the postseason altogether a year ago, the Orange and Black rebounded this year in finishing third in the Metropolitan Division before pushing a legitimate Stanley Cup contender (New York Rangers) to the brink in a seven-game opening-round series.
But the Flyers are still a few pieces away from overtaking the Eastern Conference's elite.
With newly appointed GM Ron Hextall at the helm, Philadelphia will have the chance to find some of those missing pieces this summer in free agency. The Flyers are annually at or near the salary cap, and as such, they will need to be looking for good values this offseason.
Here's a look at several bargain free agents the Philadelphia Flyers should pursue this summer.
Adam Hall, F
2013-14 Regular Season Statistics: 80 Games, 4 Goals, 5 Assists, 9 Points
2013-14 Salary Cap Hit: $600,000
Flyers Should be Interested Because: Hall jerseys may not be flying off the shelves at the Wells Fargo Center, but the Flyers would be foolish to let this versatile role player slip away.
At 6'3", 213 pounds, Hall is a physical fourth-line center who paced all Philadelphia centers in faceoff percentage during both the regular season and playoffs. He takes hits to make plays, isn't afraid to get physical on the forecheck and is ready and willing to drop the gloves when necessary.
Stanley Cup champions are built around players like Hall who know their role and contribute accordingly. He should be in for a modest raise, but Hall's salary should still easily fit within the Flyers' budget next season.
Jussi Jokinen, F
2013-14 Regular Season Statistics: 81 Games, 21 Goals, 36 Assists, 57 Points
2013-14 Salary Cap Hit: $3 million
Flyers Should be Interested Because: After producing just 13 goals in 43 games last season, Jokinen responded with 21 conversions in 81 regular season outings this year and enters Tuesday's postseason action tied for second among all playoff goal scorers.
A 31-year-old forward with good speed, Jokinen can produce his own offense on the wing and is a proven finisher when lined up with quality set-up men.
Lee Stempniak, F
2013-14 Regular Season Statistics: 73 Games, 12 Goals, 22 Assists, 34 Points
2013-14 Salary Cap Hit: $2.5 million
Flyers Should be Interested Because: Like Jokinen, Stempniak may prove to be a cap casualty for the Penguins.
Acquired at the trade deadline for Pittsburgh's playoff push, the nine-year veteran managed four goals and 11 points in 21 games with the Pens in notching double-digit goals for the eighth time in his NHL career.
A speedy, jack-of-all-trades winger, Stempniak is exactly the kind of versatile winger the Flyers will be looking for to replace unrestricted free agent Steve Downie.
Daniel Winnik, F
2013-14 Regular Season Statistics: 76 Games, 6 Goals, 24 Assists, 30 Points
2013-14 Salary Cap Hit: $1.8 million
Flyers Should be Interested Because: Coming off a career-high 30 points, Winnik is poised to hit the free-agent market with some momentum.
With Anaheim looking to lock up restricted free agents Mathieu Perreault, Jakob Silfverberg, Devante Smith-Pelly and Sami Vatanen this summer, Winnik will likely be on the move and could fit in nicely in Philadelphia.
At 6'2", 213 pounds, he's a hulking winger who would complement the kind of physical, in-your-face style of play the Flyers implement. He's shown an ability to remain disciplined at the same time, though. In 124 games over the last two seasons, Winnik has compiled just 39 combined penalty minutes.
Clayton Stoner, D
2013-14 Regular Season Statistics: 63 Games, 1 Goal, 4 Assists, 5 Points
2013-14 Salary Cap Hit: $1.05 million
Flyers Should be Interested Because: He may not be a household name, but Stoner would be a solid depth addition on the back end for the Orange and Black.
After five points and 84 penalty minutes during the regular year, the 6'4", 213-pound blueliner has elevated his game in the playoffs, having already tallied a goal, an assist, 26 minutes in penalties and a plus-two rating in 12 postseason outings entering Tuesday's action.
At just 29 years old and with only four NHL campaigns under his belt, Stoner has room to develop and could do just that on Philadelphia's third defensive pair.
The Minnesota Wild already have six defensemen signed for next season and will likely use their free agent dollars to bolster their forward corps.
Anton Stralman, D
2013-14 Regular Season Statistics: 81 Games, 1 Goal, 12 Assists, 13 Points
2013-14 Salary Cap Hit: $1.7 million
Flyers Should be Interested Because: After their opening-round postseason clash, the Flyers know first hand just how steady Stralman is in his own end.
In seven head-to-head playoff showdowns, the seven-year pro posted a plus or even rating in all seven meetings and logged his highest ice-time total of the series in decisive Game 7. In fact, entering Tuesday's action, Stralman had notched a plus or even rating in all but one of New York's postseason outings.
Never the flashiest blueliner, he's still capable offensively, having chipped in five assists in 13 playoff contests after a 13-point regular season campaign.
With Benoit Pouliot set to become an unrestricted free agent and Derick Brassard, Mats Zuccarello and Chris Kreider all on the verge of restricted free agency, the Rangers will have other offseason priorities this summer.
Evgeni Nabokov, G
2013-14 Regular Season Statistics: 40 Games, 15-14-8, 2.74 Goals-Against Average, .905 Save Percentage
2013-14 Salary Cap Hit: $3.25 million
Flyers Should be Interested Because: Nabokov's days of being an NHL squad's No. 1 netminder are behind him. But that doesn't mean he can't still be a capable backup when called upon.
After acquiring the negotiating rights to Jaroslav Halak from the Washington Capitals, the New York Islanders appear done with Nabokov. Meanwhile, the Flyers are in the market for a backup to Steve Mason with Ray Emery likely to receive a raise via free agency this summer.
Nabokov boasts 758 career NHL starts on his resume, including 84 playoff starts, but has enjoyed postseason hockey just once over the last four seasons. The veteran netminder won't make nearly as much as he did last season and likely would be willing to take even less to have a legitimate chance at returning to the playoffs.
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