Taylor Leier

Flyers' Danick Martel accepts qualifying offer; team re-signs Taylor Leier and Tyrell Goulbourne

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Flyers' Danick Martel accepts qualifying offer; team re-signs Taylor Leier and Tyrell Goulbourne

Updated: 9:44 p.m.

Three young forwards will all be staying in the Flyers organization, at least for one more year.

Sunday, the team announced that Danick Martel accepted his qualifying offer on a one-year contract, and that restricted free agents Taylor Leier and Tyrell Goulbourne signed one-year deals.

Restricted free agent goalie Anthony Stolarz has also accepted his qualifying offer of $761,250, according to a report from John Hoven. Stolarz, 24, played in just one game for the Phantoms in the 2017-18 season after undergoing surgery on a meniscus tear last summer. A second-round pick by the Flyers in the 2012 draft, Stolarz went 18-9 and posted a 2.92 goals against average with Lehigh Valley in 2016-17.

Though the team didn't include any salary details, Martel's deal is reportedly a two-way contract worth $715,000.

The 23-year-old Martel made his NHL debut last season, finishing with no points and six shots over four games. He scored a career-best 25 goals for Lehigh Valley.

With Leier, the Flyers avoided a possible arbitration hearing. According to CapFriendly, Leier's contract is a one-way deal for $720,000. Leier's hearing was scheduled for Aug. 3. The team also earlier avoided a hearing with Alex Lyon, their other player who filed for arbitration, signing the goalie to a two-year deal.

A fourth-round selection in 2012, Leier had one goal and four assists in 39 regular-season games with the Flyers as a rookie.

Goulbourne, who made his NHL debut on Jan. 6, appeared in nine regular-season contests, with 15 hits.

If Stolarz is indeed back in the fold, Robert Hagg would be the team's only remaining restricted free agent. 

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Flyers restricted free agents Taylor Leier, Alex Lyon file for salary arbitration

Flyers restricted free agents Taylor Leier, Alex Lyon file for salary arbitration

Taylor Leier and Alex Lyon were two of 44 NHL players to file for salary arbitration Thursday night, per a release by the NHLPA.

Leier and Lyon are two of the Flyers' seven restricted free agents this offseason. The others are Robert Hagg, Anthony Stolarz, Danick Martel, Tyrell Goulbourne and Reece Willcox.

The deadline for player-elected arbitration was 5 p.m. Eastern Time Thursday. The deadline for club-elected arbitration is 5 p.m. Eastern Time Friday.

By electing for arbitration, both players and the Flyers are set for hearings with an independent arbitrator to settle on a salary. General manager Ron Hextall and the representation for Leier and Lyon can continue to negotiate and possibly strike a deal before a hearing is had. Arbitration hearings are held from July 20 to Aug. 4 in Toronto.

The last Flyer to elect for arbitration was Brayden Schenn in the summer of 2016. The two parties avoided it by agreeing to a four-year deal the morning of the hearing. The Flyers also avoided a hearing with Michael Del Zotto in 2015.

Leier, a 24-year-old winger, played in 21 of the Flyers' first 23 games last season and seemed to have found his niche on the fourth line while compiling the team's fifth-most minutes on the penalty kill. However, he played just 18 games the rest of the season and finished with one goal, four assists and a minus-7 rating. The last game he appeared in was March 4 as he lost his role and was a healthy scratch all playoffs.

Last summer, Leier, a 2012 fourth-round pick, re-signed on a one-year deal and made $806,558 in 2017-18.

Lyon, a 25-year-old goalie, impressed when he was called upon by the Flyers for 11 games last season in which he went 4-2-1 with a 2.75 goals-against average and .905 save percentage. He was excellent during the AHL playoffs, putting up a 1.98 goals-against average and .944 save percentage over 11 games for the Phantoms, including a remarkable 94-save performance in a five-overtime victory.

The Yale product was signed by the Flyers as a college free agent in April 2016. Last summer, he also signed a one-year deal while making $874,125 in 2017-18.

Lyon will fight for a roster spot in a busy crowd of goalies, featuring Brian Elliott, Michal Neuvirth, Carter Hart and Stolarz. Earlier this week, Hextall said by AHL rules the Flyers can keep three netminders with Lehigh Valley, where things may be overly crowded with Lyon, Hart and Stolarz.

Neuvirth, on the final year of his deal, and Stolarz could be trade candidates the rest of this summer.

"I'd rather have too many goalies than too few," Hextall said Monday. "If something makes sense and we can make something happen, we'd at least look at it. We saw it last year. All of a sudden, a couple goalies go down and you're scrambling for goalies. If we start with five, we start with five. Not a perfect situation, but again, I’d rather start with five than with three."

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Analyzing Flyers' free-agent class, Part 1

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Analyzing Flyers' free-agent class, Part 1

While the hockey world awaits July 1 and the start of free agency, the Flyers are still looking to get their own house in order as they make the crucial financial decisions with a handful of restricted and unrestricted free agents. The organization has between now and the June 25 deadline to make qualifying offers to their RFAs.

We break down the Flyers’ free agents and their futures moving forward with Part 1 of our two-part series:

Valtteri Filppula (UFA)
Filppula simply doesn’t have the speed to keep up with the league’s younger, more skilled forwards. However, he proved he can still be a valuable asset on a penalty kill, a mentor to younger players and capable of that occasional big game (Game 5 vs. Penguins).

Comparable player: Tomas Plekanec, Maple Leafs
You have to think these two players will be watching to see what the other does when free agency starts on July 1. Both are in their mid-30s and play a very defensively-responsible game, while their offense has receded significantly over the past few years. Interested teams would be looking at both players as third or even fourth-line checking forwards.

Outlook: I’d be really surprised if the Flyers lock up Filppula before free agency starts. Filppula will be looking for a multi-year contract, which in all likelihood would be the last contract he signs. The Flyers can afford to wait out the situation and sign him to a more team-friendly one-year deal that would be at a 50-75 percent reduction over his most recent $5 million cap hit. 

Robert Hagg (RFA)
Hagg surprised many by earning a full-time role with the Flyers straight out of camp. A bruising defenseman who’s a good complement to a more offensive-minded blueliner, although he can be sneaky offensively as well. Hagg’s game tailed off over the second half of the season, but as a rookie, that’s not uncommon. Expect Hagg to bounce back in Year 2. 

Comparable player: Derek Forbort, Kings
Forbort plays a similar game to Hagg, although not quite as punishing with his checks and hits along the boards. Over the past two seasons, Forbort averaged just over 20 minutes per game for the Kings, who have considerably more depth on their blue line. Forbort signed a two-year RFA deal after seeing action in 14 games as a rookie.  

Outlook: General manager Ron Hextall would like to lock up Hagg for at least two seasons around the $1.25-1.5 million range and keep him under club control as a restricted free agent. You have to think Hagg’s agent would also like a short-term bridge, which would give his client a chance to prove his worth and then cash in with a more lucrative deal next season or in 2020.   

Taylor Leier (RFA) 
Leier showed potential as a valuable fourth-line forward who brings quickness and skill to the bottom six. Leier needs to develop into a more reliable penalty killer and provide that consistent jolt of energy he showed in the first 20-25 games of the season while maintaining defensive responsibilities.

Comparable player: Tomas Hyka, Golden Knights
Drafted two rounds after Leier in 2012, Hyka went unsigned by the Kings before he eventually latched on with the Golden Knights. Both Leier and Hyka are smaller, energy guys still looking to prove they belong in the NHL.

Outlook: Under club control, look for the Flyers to offer Leier a short-term contract with the expectation that he takes the next step in his development as an NHL regular.

Alex Lyon (RFA)
Lyon can take pride in his first two pro seasons coming out of Yale. He progressed from 2016-17 to this past season and gave the Flyers some decent play in net over his 11 appearances following injuries to Brian Elliott and Michal Neuvirth. Lyon wasn’t rattled when he was called upon at a moment’s notice to join the Flyers in a pinch this past season.   

Comparable player: Garret Sparks, Maple Leafs
Interestingly, these two AHL goalies battled each other in the Eastern Conference Finals. While Sparks didn’t take the collegiate route that Lyon did, the Leafs have shown patience with the 24-year-old netminder who has played just 17 games with the Maple Leafs in 2015-16. He will have earned between $575K-675K in the three years after signing his entry-level contract.  

Outlook: Somehow, I find a way to keep Lyon in the organization on a two-year, two-way deal around $750K annually. Lyon understands his role and how he fits in. He’s perfect as a backup to Carter Hart, who I expect to start the season with the Phantoms.