VOORHEES, N.J. – He didn’t get a scorer or even a notable upgrade in scoring.
What Ron Hextall did get, however, Friday as free agency opened in the NHL, were two depth forwards.
It won’t do much to help a club that finished 22nd overall in goal production (211), but there was some value in the signings.
Dale Weise will replace Ryan White while Boyd Gordon will lessen Claude Giroux’s responsibilities on the penalty kill, in terms of faceoffs and ice time.
“Dale adds size, speed and some grit and has good hands,” the Flyers general manager said. “He can score some goals.
“We didn’t have the [cap] space to add a top scorer, so we went with depth scoring guys to our top nine. Boyd is more of a role player. Versatile, can play the center or wing. A good penalty killer.”
Hextall said if Gordon, who averaged 2:48 PK time with Arizona, can keep Giroux off the ice for defensive draws and such, it will keep the Flyers’ captain fresher and offer a payback offensively. Gordon won 58 percent of his draws in Arizona.
“It’s going to help on the offensive end of the ice for Giroux,” Hextall said. “It’s one of those little things that played into our decision.”
Weise, who signed a four-year, $9.4 million contract, is a lot like White in terms of tenacity and playing with an edge. He’s played 152 games with both Vancouver and Montreal, but comes here via Chicago.
The 27-year-old became White’s replacement when the Flyers failed to come to terms with his agent, Craig Oster, on Friday morning.
“We’re gonna move on,” Hextall said. “We took a last run at him this morning. Whitey was a good player for us. We couldn’t find common ground.”
Gordon, 32, who is coming to his fifth team, as well, signed a one-year deal worth $950,000.
“It’s the little things when you are trying to win games and the margin of error is so tight,” Hextall said. “It’s hard to score goals. It’s the little things you do that help you win games.
“We feel like Boyd is a real character guy, blocks shots, faceoffs, killing penalties and plays hard every night.”
Going into free agency, Hextall said his priority was to add some goals via a top-nine player. Neither of these players will add 20 goals combined.
“It’s depth,” Hextall said. “We added a guy we feel upgrades one of our lines. That’s important. Dale is capable of scoring goals. He can help chip in and, hopefully, we get more scoring from our top nine.
“We would have loved to add a scorer to our top six, but it just wasn’t there. So we’ll go with what we’ve got. We feel comfortable with what we’ve got. We’ve got flexibility with the cap, and we’ve got multiple call-ups if we decided to go that way once the season starts.”
Hextall said he’ll monitor free agency for the next two weeks to see if a player drops down into a more reasonable cap fit price.
“We’ll monitor the market,” he said. “If something pops up and makes sense, we’ll take a look at it ... We’re probably done.”
Hextall still has to re-sign Brayden Schenn plus leave some money left over for the possibility of both Ivan Provorov or Travis Konecny making the roster out of training camp.
“We’ll start working on that fairly quickly and you know it will get done,” Hextall said of Schenn’s new contract, which should pay him close to $5 million a year.
Provorov and Konecny are “ifs” right now.
“I don’t know how any of that is going to play out,” Hextall said. “Kids come in and sometimes, if kids make the team, you have to find ways to manipulate your roster … Those are things that will play out at camp.”
Hextall has been trying since before the draft to orchestrate a trade or two to gain more cap space. Mark Streit and Matt Read are likely candidates.
“If you add the cap space, you’ve got to fill it prudently,” Hextall said. “So just to have it doesn’t do you a lot of good. Sometimes it’s nice to have the freedom.
“We certainly would have looked a little bit harder today if we had some freedom, but we don’t. So we are where we are, and we’re going to manage it.”
Right now, the Flyers have approximately $8.6 million in cap space, according to generalfanager.com.