Flyers 2018 free-agent target: D Calvin de Haan

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Flyers 2018 free-agent target: D Calvin de Haan

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

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.

Calvin de Haan

Age: 27
Position: D
Height: 6-1
Weight: 197
Last team: Islanders
2017-18 cap hit: $1.9 million
de Haan is that other unrestricted free agent on the island. Like John Tavares, de Haan is 27 years old as he enters unrestricted free agency. Who is de Haan and what would he bring to the Flyers? 

First, he’s a positionally sound left-handed defenseman and reliable in his own end. He's only been a minus player once in his career and even more impressively, he’s an aggregate plus-26 over the past two seasons. 

What immediately comes to mind is how he sacrifices his body to block just about any shot that comes his way. In that aspect, he’s one of the most fearless players in the NHL and he’ll even throw his body around to deliver the occasional bone-numbing hit.

But there’s a red flag as it pertains to his injury history. de Haan has played the full 82-game slate only once over the past five seasons, and in those other four injury-plagued seasons, he’s averaged just 55 games. He enters the 2018-19 season coming off shoulder surgery so how much commitment do you make to an injury-prone defenseman who lays his body on the line on a nightly basis?

I like de Haan, but he’s not that much-needed right-handed defenseman the Flyers covet. The position here is a contract no longer than four years and not exceeding $5 million annually, which is what the Flyers are currently paying former Islander Andrew MacDonald, who will be entering Year 5 of a six-year pact.

We keep seeing de Haan’s named attached to the Flyers loosely in reports so if there’s smoke, there has to be a little bit of fire. Hextall would like to add a second-pair defenseman and de Haan fits that profile. The dream would be a right-handed D-man and de Haan is not that.

But de Haan is a solid puck-moving blueliner who was limited to just 33 games last season because of a shoulder injury. There doesn’t appear to be a shortage of suitors for the Islanders defenseman, who reportedly has about 10 teams interested in him. de Haan doesn’t compile a ton of points but is considered to be a smooth-skater with a good first pass.

The Flyers currently have six defensemen on their roster for next season and an argument could be made that bringing in another defenseman either A) takes a lineup spot away from a kid or B) pushes Andrew MacDonald or Radko Gudas into a potential seventh-defenseman role. The preferred scenario there is B. The Flyers will likely bring in another defender, though, and if it’s de Haan, they could do a lot worse.

de Haan went from his best NHL season to his most difficult.

After playing all 82 regular-season games for the first time in his career during 2017-18 and setting personal bests in goals (five), assists (20), points (25) and plus/minus (plus-15), the 2009 first-round pick was limited to just 33 contests in 2017-18.

Still, there's a lot to like if you're the Flyers.

The lefty shot clearly doesn't light up the scoreboard, but that's not what the Flyers need. They need a reliable source on the back end and de Haan fits that bill. He's known for his smooth skating ability and first pass, which will only help the Flyers in their coverage and zone exits — it's all about being steady.

Even better, de Haan will come at a reasonable price and he's only 27 years old. The reward here far outweighs the risk and I'd like to see the Flyers consider it.

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Sights and scenes from Flyers' 2019-20 'Meet the Team' day for fans

Sights and scenes from Flyers' 2019-20 'Meet the Team' day for fans

Before welcoming the rival Penguins to the Wells Fargo Center on Tuesday night, the Flyers hosted their fans Sunday for the annual "Meet the Team" event.

The day consists of season ticket holders getting to meet their favorite players, take pictures, ask for autographs and skate on the Wells Fargo Center ice.

Following Tuesday's game, the Flyers go on their NHL-mandated bye week from Jan. 22-30.

So Sunday gave the fans a timely up-close-and-personal look at their 2019-20 Flyers before the extended break.

Here are some sights and scenes from the event:

(Zack Hill/Philadelphia Flyers)

(Zack Hill/Philadelphia Flyers)

(Zack Hill/Philadelphia Flyers)

(Zack Hill/Philadelphia Flyers)

(Zack Hill/Philadelphia Flyers)

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Bring on the nostalgia as Flyers 80s night takes you back in time

AP Images/NBC Sports Philadelphia

Bring on the nostalgia as Flyers 80s night takes you back in time

Couldn't make it out to 80s night at the Wells Fargo Center? Fret not. The wonderful existence of social media will allow you to feel the nostalgia of the decade.

Or at least what it would have been like ... since I was born in '97.

The Flyers hosted the Kings Saturday night and pulled out a 4-1 victory (see observations). Aside from the exciting performance from the orange and black on the ice, what the Flyers were able to put together off the ice made for a perfect event … if you liked the 80s, teased hair, neon colors and parachute pants, of course.

To kick things off, the Flyers and their in-arena host Andrea Helfrich released videos leading up to puck drop with some of the biggest hits and games of the decade.

While Justin Braun didn't seem too thrilled with the game choices, Michael Raffl was having a field day.

We even got to hear Jakub Voracek and Kevin Hayes jam out to two iconic songs and has us wondering if there are any other videos of the team singing and if so, send them our way.

Side note — is anyone else jealous of Hayes' vocal range?

Of course, one of the most exciting parts of a theme night has to be the attire ... and everyone was joining in on the fun.

And c'mon. Gritty dressed as Mr. T? I pity the fools who don't like this kind of content.

The Flyers outdid themselves with the graphics tonight, too. From the in-arena content, to social media — it certainly made everyone wish that every night could be 80's night.


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