How John Carlson's extension with Capitals impacts Flyers

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How John Carlson's extension with Capitals impacts Flyers

John Carlson was never going to be a Philadelphia Flyer. Now it's official.

The Washington Capitals on Sunday night re-signed Carlson to an eight-year, $64 million contract extension with an annual average value of $8 million.

Carlson was able to begin speaking with potential suitors beginning at 12 a.m. Sunday morning, and according to a report, teams had begun lining up to speak with him.

For starters, it takes the big fish in the defensemen aisle off the market. While the Flyers did not have a realistic chance at signing Carlson, it doesn't mean that the veteran defenseman's contract does not have an impact on the orange and black.

[From NBC Sports Washington: Carlson agrees to stay with Capitals]

It also keeps Carlson in the Metropolitan Division. The Caps, who won their first Stanley Cup this season, now have most of their core signed through 2019-20. The only item left on their grocery list is a head coach, and it's the only vacancy left.

There was a point during the 2017-18 season the Flyers were leading the Metropolitan Division but ultimately finished in third place. The Capitals won the divisional crown for their third straight season, and they're easily the frontrunner for it again in 2018-19.

Had Carlson left, it would have left the Capitals a huge hole to fill this summer and one that doesn't have any replacement-level alternatives.

Carlson led all NHL defensemen in scoring during the regular season (68 points) and playoffs (20) in 2017-18. He had points in four of the Capitals' five Cup games against the Vegas. Add in that he's a righty shot, he was irreplaceable with the options the Capitals had.

Which brings us the options and the Flyers.

Free agency

Carlson headlined an underwhelming free-agent class. We're not counting restricted free agents because no one signs them. The last offer sheet was Ryan O'Reilly in 2013, but Colorado matched. The last one accepted was the Oilers signing Dustin Penner in 2007.

After the NHL draft Saturday, Flyers general manager Ron Hextall reiterated his interest in adding a top-four D-man. He had previously called right-handed defensemen a "big fill."

Despite having about $21.7 million in cap space, Hextall said two weeks ago that "we have money to spend short term." That would have counted the Flyers out on Carlson.

So who's available that could interest the Flyers? Let's begin with the righties.

Mike Green, Red Wings: 32 years old, 33 points and a $6-million AAV in 2017-18.

Kevin Bieksa, Anaheim Ducks: 37 years old, 8 points, $4 million AAV in 2017-18.

Andrej Sustr, Tampa Bay Lightning: 27 years old, 7 points, $1.95 million AAV in 2017-18.

Not exactly an exciting group but a couple of veterans who may tickle Hextall's fancy.

Potential left-handed defensemen:

Calvin De Haan, Islanders: 27 years old, 13 points, $3.3 million AAV in 2017-18.

Ian Cole, Blue Jackets: 29 years old, 20 points, $2.5 million AAV in 2017-18.

John Moore, Devils: 27 years old, 18 points, $1.95 million AAV in 2017-18.

We'll touch more on individual players as we inch closer to when free agency opens Sunday, but the pool isn't exactly deep.

The Provorov factor

On Sunday, the Flyers may sign Ivan Provorov to an extension as the 21-year-old is entering the final year of his entry-level contract. Earlier this month, we made the case as to why it makes sense for the Flyers to extend Provorov this summer (see story). That remains true.

In our case, we used Drew Doughty's eight-year, $56 million contract signed as a 21-year-old in 2011 as an example. With Carlson, we now have another comparable.

Now, this is Carlson's third NHL contract. Provorov's next will be his second. But that's semantics. Carlson's $8 million cap hit seems to be the going rate this summer.

Arizona is reportedly signing Oliver Ekman-Larsson, 26, to an eight-year extension upward of $8 million per, which can't be official until Sunday.

Hextall has often come out on the better side of the contract he's signed. Even the Dale Weise deal wasn't totally bad — the term was the issue. So it's possible we're inflating Provorov's next deal a bit, but the parameters are there.

The going rate for a No. 1 defenseman who can play 25 minutes a night is in between $7 million and $8 million. Provorov is already that for the Flyers.

More on the Flyers

• Flyers' draft shows big year for USA Hockey

• Hextall surprised by Flyers' quiet draft weekend

• With O'Brien, Hextall shows he's 'never' one to be safe

• With Philly ties, Farabee can't wait to help Flyers

• Samuelsson continues family's NHL tradition

Kevin Hayes inspired beer to be released by Yards Brewing Company

Kevin Hayes inspired beer to be released by Yards Brewing Company

There’s no question that Kevin Hayes has assimilated well to Philadelphia.

Since signing a seven-year, $50 million deal this past offseason, the 27-year-old has endeared himself to Flyers fans. From being Gritty’s roommate to his fun nicknames to playing hockey well and helping — hopefully — lead the Flyers back to the playoffs, Hayes has quickly become a fan favorite.

The next logical step: A beer made and named in his honor.

Yards Brewing Company is releasing “Big Hayes-y 13” on Friday.

The beer is a double New England style IPA. For those unfamiliar with the style, New Englands are traditionally known for being juicy and hazy — hence the name — unlike traditional IPAs which have more hoppy bitterness. It's also an ode to Hayes' roots being from Dorchester, Massachusetts, and starring at Boston College.

The Flyers take on the Rangers Friday night so you can drink it while New York second guesses letting Hayes get away. Seems like the perfect beer to suck down while watching Hayes kill penalties and score goals with fantastic cellys.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

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One Flyer was reportedly a hot trade target, but Chuck Fletcher shut it down

One Flyer was reportedly a hot trade target, but Chuck Fletcher shut it down

The suddenly-ascendant Flyers pieced together a somewhat busy trade deadline, acquiring a pair of depth forwards in Derek Grant and Nate Thompson to pad a playoff run, but things could've been much busier if rival executives had their way Monday.

One young Flyers player not named Shayne Gostisbehere was attracting a lot of attention as general managers circled the wagons before the deadline, according to a report from Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman.

That player? Scott Laughton:

Another player I heard a lot of teams liked: Philadelphia’s Scott Laughton.

'Chuck (Fletcher) couldn’t hang up fast enough,' another exec joked.

That's a great quote. I can see Fletcher laughing to himself, and quietly hitting "end call," when Laughton's name came up.

And it makes plenty of sense for Fletcher to shut down Laughton talks, on two fronts — both of which should excite Flyers fans.

For one, Fletcher avoiding temptation at the deadline means he has his eyes on the postseason prize. The Flyers, after Tuesday night's win (see story), are just five points behind Metro-leading Washington, with 19 games left before the playoffs. It would take a serious meltdown to miss the postseason, and it seems Fletcher feels like the Flyers can make noise in April (and May, and maybe even June?) so he stood pat.

Also, and this is probably a little more obvious: Laughton has turned into a young, sought-after talent in the eyes of league execs this season.

It's no secret that the 2019-20 season has been the best of Laughton's young career. He's already tied his career high in goals with 12, he's averaging a point every two games, and he's just 25 years old. The hard-nosed 2012 first-round pick is officially coming into his own this year, and he's still under contract through the end of the 2020-21 season. Really, it's an ideal development for the Flyers.

Is Laughton currently the kind of player who defines your team? Not just yet.

But he's become the kind of player other teams want, which is always a good sign.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

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