Chuck Fletcher is in the process of identifying which players will be part of the Flyers' future moving forward, and those who aren’t.
Versatile winger Michael Raffl is one of the Flyers the new executive VP and GM wants to keep around.
The Flyers and Raffl agreed on a two-year, $3.2 million extension Tuesday, roughly a 32 percent pay cut from the three-year, $7.05 million contract that expires at the end of this season.
Why isn't Raffl worth more?
For starters, Raffl has played the full 82-game slate only once in his six seasons with the Flyers. He has also seen a significant dip in ice time this season, averaging 11:38 through 61 games played and has been utilized primarily in a bottom-six role.
When Raffl signed his current three-year contract in February of 2016, he was more of an offensive contributor coming off a career-high 21 goals playing alongside Claude Giroux.
In the proceeding three years, Raffl, now 30, has scored just 27 goals, including a career-low six this season.
You can also argue that Raffl doesn’t always play with a high motor consistently.
Flyers still get a bargain
However, you won’t find many veterans who bring the versatility of Raffl, capable of playing both left and right wing while contributing on the penalty kill, and he doesn’t hurt a team with undisciplined penalties.
He’s also a big-body forward with a penchant for playing physically, winning board battles, while using his size to carve out space in front of the net. For a player listed at 6-foot, 200 pounds, Raffl plays bigger than his size at times.
Raffl is also a good locker room presence known to have a loose sense of humor, bringing a lighthearted approach. His signing fills a depth role, and according to Cap Friendly, the Flyers now have 14 players under contract with roughly $31 million in cap space to work with.
If the Flyers plan on being active in free agency, they also need some lower-tiered salaries to provide the necessary space. Give Fletcher credit for ridding the organization of Dale Weise’s lengthy contract, while signing Raffl to a modest two-year deal through 2021.
Clearly, there was a comfort level with Raffl, who chose comfortability with the organization, as opposed to testing his value on the market.
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