Flyers

Flyers re-sign important piece who takes a pay cut to come back

Flyers

The Flyers and Brian Elliott have a good and healthy partnership.

The two liked their situation so much that the Flyers clearly didn't want other backup options and Elliott was willing to take a pay cut for the relationship to continue another year.

On Saturday, the Flyers re-signed Elliott to a one-year, $1.5 million contract. The 35-year-old netminder was set to become an unrestricted free agent next Friday at noon ET, when the NHL free agency period opens.

This is Elliott's third contract with the Flyers. His previous deal was signed last offseason when he inked a one-year, $2 million deal, so Elliott took a $500,000 pay decrease this offseason to stay with the Flyers.

The Flyers highly value the backup position to Carter Hart, the club's 22-year-old starter and future in net. That makes the goaltending tandem and relationship mightily important as Hart continues to grow and learn.

"Me and Moose, we get along really well," Hart said in September. "I love playing with him, he has been a great mentor to me, he’s obviously a veteran goalie in the NHL and has got a lot of experience. He’s taught me a lot, we have a lot of fun playing together, I love playing alongside him.

"I’m very grateful to have played alongside him this year and I hope for next year, as well."

Hart got his wish.

 

After missing time over his first two seasons with the Flyers because of injuries, Elliott stayed healthy in 2019-20 and spelled Hart during two critical junctures.

In the opening month of the season, Hart fell into a mini funk, going 0-3-0 with a 5.92 goals-against average (12 goals on 43 shots). Elliott came in and went 3-0-0 with a 2.02 goals-against average and .933 save percentage over a four-game stretch, surrendering only seven goals on 104 shots.

Then, when Hart missed nine games because of a right lower abdominal strain from January into February, Elliott went 5-1-1 with a 2.06 goals-against average and two shutouts.

“Brian is a quality, veteran goaltender who is also an important part of our leadership group,” Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher said in a statement released by the team Saturday. “His preparation and work ethic are exemplary. With Brian and Carter, we believe we have a strong goaltending duo who have each had success and work very well with each other."

Hart and the Flyers are familiar with Elliott, who is reliable and also familiar with them. They'll all be back together for a big 2020-21 season in which the club is expected to take the next step toward contention.

It's fair to wonder if Elliott could have gotten a two-year offer elsewhere, but obviously the veteran likes his situation in an organization that is building and in a locker room that he knows well.

Alex Lyon is back as the organization's third goalie and the Flyers will continue to develop prospects Kirill Ustimenko and Felix Sandstrom, possibly into a future backup.

The Flyers now have four players set to hit unrestricted free agency: Justin Braun, Tyler Pitlick, Derek Grant and Nate Thompson.

The Flyers have two restricted free agents left to sign to new deals: Philippe Myers and Nolan Patrick, who are not arbitration eligible.

Teams have until Oct. 7 at 5 p.m. ET to submit qualifying offers to their restricted free agents and those offers expire Oct. 18 at 5 p.m. ET.