Flyers

If you could pick only one, which UFA re-signs with Flyers?

Flyers

Now that the offseason is in full swing for the Flyers, it's time to look ahead to 2020-21. While there is still uncertainty of when the season will officially commence, the Flyers have a few internal contract situations that need to be looked at.

Aside from the number of restricted free agents that need new contracts, there are also soon-to-be unrestricted free agents that open up a fairly interesting debate.

On the latest Flyers Talk podcast, NBC Sports Philadelphia's Jordan Hall and myself started looking at the situation and an unexpected question was sprung.

If you could pick only one, which UFA would you like to see re-signed with the Flyers?

Currently, there are five players who will be entering free agency — Justin Braun, Brian Elliott, Derek Grant, Tyler Pitlick and Nate Thompson.

It turned out to be an incredibly difficult argument.

Truthfully, both Grant and Thompson displayed poor performances and wound up doing more harm than good down the long stretch.

The Braun experiment should also come to an end. While he had great moments throughout the season, his inconsistency overshadowed the work and isn't worth a new contract — especially when the Flyers have depth for days defensively.

It's often forgotten that Elliott had signed only a one-year contract extension with the Flyers in the previous offseason.

He's done just about everything you could ask of a backup goalie and the duo of him and Carter Hart became one of the most dynamic tandems in the NHL.

 

While there are goaltenders coming up in the system — Kirill Ustimenko and Felix Sandstrom — they've just barely begun in the AHL, having played just a combined six games last season with the Flyers' farm team. It doesn't look like they'll be ready for a bit longer, so the need for a backup is important.

The Flyers probably couldn't do much better than Elliott if they went out to look in free agency. It might be worth locking him up, though the veteran goaltender might be able to secure a better contract elsewhere, given his success in 2019-20.

This is where the question gets difficult.

Mainly because Pitlick has been a phenomenal bottom-six player and one of the most consistent on the team. He collected 20 points (eight goals, 12 assists) through 63 games, but it wasn't just his point production that helped him stand out.

Pitlick was one of the most aggressive players every time he hit the ice for a shift and was never afraid to drive play. Whether he was out against an opponent's top or bottom line, there was a level of fearlessness that the Flyers could benefit from.

While there are many up-and-coming prospects, in addition to the return Oskar Lindblom and hopefully Nolan Patrick — it never hurts to add just a little bit more experience.

Pitlick was a low-risk addition last offseason, not to mention his contract was extremely cap-friendly at just $1 million. He found a way to become a strong asset to the Flyers and one that Chuck Fletcher and company should consider re-signing.

During the podcast Thursday night, I was set on Pitlick. Today, I'm convinced it should be Elliott. Tomorrow, my mind will probably change on the matter yet again.

Luckily, the Flyers have an opportunity to keep them both if the cards are played correctly, but it's interesting to evaluate the value that each player holds on the roster.