VOORHEES, N.J. — Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher classified Tuesday as a "pretty important day" for the contract negotiations of Ivan Provorov and Travis Konecny.
Both restricted free agents remain unsigned with training camp set to begin Friday morning. At around 11 a.m., Fletcher said he expected to speak with the representation of both Provorov and Konecny on Tuesday.
"We're getting to a point where we need to see some progress if they're going to be here on Friday on the ice," Fletcher said.
How positive is he that deals can get done before camp opens?
"That's hard to say," Fletcher said. "I've been through so many of these. I've been in situations where you seem like you're a long way away and it comes together very quickly and then there are other times it seems like you're right there and you can't get to the finish line.
"So I don't think I'm positive or negative. I still think there's an opportunity to get both of these guys signed and in camp."
On Monday, Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski re-signed on a three-year, $15 million contract. It was significant in a few ways. Firstly, the bridge deal for the 22-year-old Werenski opened some eyes. What will be the preference for Provorov's camp and the Flyers? We'll see. Secondly, Werenski's $5 million average annual value should give both sides a much better idea of the market (see story).
You'd think a longer-term deal would be the goal for Provorov's agent Mark Gandler (see story). Has the 22-year-old already proven himself? Provorov has been handed the responsibilities of a No. 1 defenseman and hasn't missed a game over the past two seasons. Among all NHL blueliners during that span, he has played the 11th-most minutes per night (24:38), the ninth-most shorthanded minutes (449:51) and has scored the 18th-most goals (24).
Now that Werenski has a $5 million AAV, Provorov's camp could shoot for $6 million.
"I think we're open to either — shorter or longer with Ivan, just whatever makes sense," Fletcher said. "Werenski is a very good young defenseman and a very comparable player to Ivan, so it certainly sheds some light on where the market is. But we're not wed to a shorter-term deal. If something makes sense in a long-term deal, we'll explore that."
Konecny, an important 22-year-old forward, is coming off back-to-back 24-goal seasons and has 30-goal potential. His role will continue to grow in 2019-20. Proving himself over a bridge deal might make the most sense for Konecny and could lead to a larger payday down the road (see story).
Tuesday was an important day. Friday is a big one, too, and quickly approaching.
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