Each day until July 1, the day NHL free agency begins, NBC Sports Philadelphia's John Boruk, Tom Dougherty and Jordan Hall will analyze some of the league's impending free agents and project their likelihood of signing with the Flyers.
Over time, general manager Ron Hextall has freed his club from its salary cap dungeon, setting the Flyers up with greater financial flexibility this offseason. The team has $21.7 million in cap space, according to CapFriendly.com.
As the Flyers look to take a step forward in 2018-19, free agency will provide Hextall an avenue to fill specific holes and supplement his mix of veterans and youth. While the team hasn't been major players on the market under Hextall in the past, the GM indicated earlier this month the Flyers could be active this summer.
Hextall said the Flyers wouldn't entertain a seven-year contract on a free agent, but he expressed a desire to add a veteran or two depending on the term.
With that said, let's look at some possible fits and how/if they make sense for the Flyers.
Last team: Red Wings
2017-18 cap hit: $6 million
There are a couple of elements to Green’s game that could benefit the Flyers. For one, he’s right handed, which is a scarcity in the NHL, and secondly, he still has a nasty slap shot that would be beneficial to the Flyers' second power-play unit.
Those attributes would be welcomed additions on the Flyers' blue line, but there are health concerns worth addressing. Green underwent surgery back in March on his spine, an injury that dates back to last season. Teams were aware of this issue, which is why the Red Wings were unable to deal Green at the trade deadline.
Interestingly, Green recently bought a home in Washington D.C., where he spent the first 10 seasons of his career.
Ideally, he would love to reunite with the Capitals in which the Stanley Cup champions could broker a deal on a hometown discount, but the defenseman would also prefer to stay in the Eastern Conference and somewhere close to home. Perhaps a two-hour train ride up I-95 wouldn’t be a bad alternative.
Knowing how inefficient the Red Wings were defensively the past few years, I was still somewhat surprised to see that the 32-year-old Green has averaged over 22 minutes in each of the past two seasons. Coming to Philadelphia, Green’s ice time would fall somewhere in the 17-19 minute range.
If Hextall is looking for even more offensive pop out of his blue line, then Green is a worthy option but only with a clean bill of health. A two-year contract in the $3-4 million annual range for a defenseman who’s good for eight to 10 goals and 35 points.
The Flyers want right-handed defensemen and the market just isn’t there for them this summer. With John Carlson re-signing in Washington, Green is the top dog available.
Green isn’t quite the blueliner he was years ago when he was with the Capitals but still posts respectable numbers. In 66 games last season with Detroit, he scored eight goals and 33 points.
As the top righty on the market and considering he’s a puck-mover with plenty of experience, I suspect the Flyers will have interest. There are injury concerns there as a neck surgery ended his 2017-18 season, and I’m not a big fan of defensemen not known for playing defense.
Two other factors come in to play for me. One, the only asset Green has that the Flyers don’t currently have is that he is a right-handed shot. While it’s a major plus, his game is too similar to Shayne Gostisbehere and Travis Sanheim. Second, the price tag. He won’t get another long-term deal, but with how thin the market is, he could get close to his previous cap hit. Pass.
But we’ll always have Mike Green and his Vespa.
For a couple of reasons, I don't love the idea, nor do I see it happening, either.
Firstly, the addition of Green would likely block Sanheim's opportunity to see greater minutes and more power-play time. The 2018-19 season could be a chance for the 22-year-old's offensive ability to really show; we saw flashes last year and bigger ones should be on the way.
Secondly, Hextall will want more of an established defenseman known for being responsible in his own zone, one that can shore up some weaknesses the Flyers may have on the back end. The Flyers don't exactly need help offensively with their D-men, and that's Green's M.O., not to mention he brings health concerns and turns 33 years old in October.