The Flyers organization is about to embark on a big few weeks. It starts with the teams protected list that they must submit to the league for the Seattle Kraken expansion draft. They then will see which member of their roster gets poached. The front office then prepares for the NHL Draft and afterwards free agency starts. But the Flyers have a lot of question marks, and none bigger than defense.
The two big names available will be Seth Jones of the Columbus Blue Jackets, and Dougie Hamilton of the Carolina Hurricanes. Hamilton is an unrestricted free agent. If the Flyers want, they can simply go out and sign him. Its worth noting that while extremely talented, Hamilton is set to be on his 4th team. Jones however is a different story.
Jones has one year left on his deal at $5.4 million. After that he becomes an unrestricted free agent. The Columbus Blue Jackets, who are looking at a rebuild, have made Jones available on the trade market. Names like Travis Konecny and Joel Farabee have been bandied about in possible trade scenarios. Maybe a guy like Nolan Patrick would entice the Blue Jackets. But no one has questioned what Jones wants.
On his “31 Thoughts” Podcast NHL insider Elliotte Friedman spontaneously brought up the possibility of Jones and a Flyers union. And it was a little eye opening.
“Im not so sure that Philly will be able to pull off a Seth Jones deal. Its not even that the ask is huge, I wonder if hes willing to commit to them. I think there are a couple of places he would consider signing long term NOW, but I’m not sure Philly is one of them. I just heard that the big question is ‘would Jones sign in Philly?’ And I dont think the Flyers are that interested in doing this if they dont think (Jones) will.”
Thats a little jarring as Philly has always been a destination location for top free agents. While the Flyers havent hoisted a cup since the 70’s, its always been a place that free agents view as a team who can compete for a cup. And to hear that one of the better defensemen in the game is saying “yea…not so sure about that place.”
People are pointing to Kevin Hayes, whos agent said similarly but there is a big difference. Hayes was a pending UFA. His agent was trying to up his offer. Maybe Jones’ agent is doing the same thing, who knows. But the optics arent great. It might give you a hint of the leagues view of the Flyers chances for competing as legitimate contenders.