As many are aware, this past season it was announced that the NHL would be adding a new hockey team into the league, the Las Vegas Golden Knights. This is amazing news for the league. It proves its strength, its popularity, and its efficiency. As well, this is great for Las Vegas. Hopefully this team can make it go from a town that is only seen primarily for its gambling into a true powerhouse of a city. The team will add a new medium to the city, and assuming its popularity, it will thrive in the league, improving the leagues ever-growing popularity. Overall, this team is great news for the league, but could it be bad news for the Flyers?
With this expansion team, of course, comes an expansion draft. This draft will see them drafting one player from each of the thirty teams, in order to fill up their NHL as well as AHL teams. Every team has the option of protecting either: seven forwards, three defensemen, and a goalie, or eight skaters and a goalie. Anyone with contract promises such as a No Trade Clause must be saved, and it counts against the players they get to save. As well, any first or second year players, as well as any unsigned rookies are safe without the team taking a save from the team. This is good news for the Flyers who are full of unproven young players, but bad news because they have to give someone up.
Since our team had many great young players last year, such as Konecny and Provorov, the Flyers will not be losing any of their very bright future. This is good assurance for Flyers fans everywhere, but lets look more at the people they might lose. The obvious saved players are Gostisbehere, Couturier, Giroux, Simmonds, Voracek, Fippula, Gudas, Schenn, Stolarz, and MacDonald. These players are vital parts of future Flyers success, whether they are trade bait or they stick around to play, they have to stay. However, there are many great players not mentioned on that list.
Players such as Michael Raffl, Scott Laughton, and Michal Neuvirth were all key parts to recent Flyers success. As well, Matt Read was played a major role with the Orange and Black. However, they are not important enough to keep around over the players mentioned before. The Golden Knights are obviously going to try to take the best player that they can from every team. If they want to immediately contend, they must in order to ensure popularity among locals and hockey fans all over. Depending on other goalies out there, Neuvirth is a pretty sure keep. He is a good-not-great goalie that is already 29, and not exactly the player the Golden Knights would want. As well, Matt Read is a pretty good player that the Flyers will likely be able to hold on to due to the dominance of wingers potentially available in this expansion draft. However, the other two players are a toss up into which one is going to be ripped from the Flyers roster next season.
Raffl has the skill level to be a first liner on many teams in this league, and if the Golden Knights are lucky enough to acquire him, there is no doubt he would compete for a spot as a winger on the team. A guy that can truly add a whole new dynamic to any team who’s jersey can wear, he is an efficient goal-scorer and you can always count on him to do the right thing. Scott Laughton, as well, is a very important player in the Flyer’s organization. This Center makes his teammates better and has a very promising future. He as well always makes the right plays and would be a key part of any team he joins, if it must be the Golden Knights.
All-in-all, the Flyers are without a doubt going to lose someone important on their team. Whether it be Raffl or Laughton, or they surprise us and take someone else, they must, sadly, lose one of their very talented players, no matter who it is. As Flyers fans all we can do is hope that they take their hatred for the Penguins and Rangers with them. Hopefully they can takeout Crosby every once in a while too.