On trade deadline day, the Philadelphia Flyers made news by signing two players instead of trading them. Forward Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and goaltender Michal Neuvirth have signed separate two-year deals with the club.
Let’s start with Bellemare.
Bellemare has played in all 62 games for the Flyers this season and recorded 3 goals and 3 assists. He’s currently on the final year of a two-year contract with an average annual value of $712,500.
The 31-year-old has put up 12 and 14 points in his two previous seasons in the NHL. Maybe that steady production gave GM Ron Hextall confidence to double Bellemare’s current contract? The new two-year deal is worth $1.45-million PER YEAR.
How are Flyers fans taking it? Let’s check in with Broad Street Hockey.
“When the Planet Earth is in its death throes and mass devastation greets all who remain, we will traverse the fire-bombed great plains of North America to find Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Chris VandeVelde, skating in orange jerseys, on the last frozen pond the planet will ever see. They are never leaving us. This is our fate.
“Bellemare is one of the worst scoring forward at even strength in the NHL over the last three seasons. And he just got 100 percent raise from the Flyers.
“A $1.45 million per year fourth liner? That’s a lot of money for a good fourth liner, let alone one with the complete lack of scoring ability or play driving ability that Bellemare’s shown.”
BSH also points out Bellemare could be a potential target for the expansion draft. Bigger contract helps Vegas reach at least the salary cap floor, but the Flyers are in complete reliance on the Vegas Golden Knights to take him.
Speaking of expansion, we turn now to Michal Neuvirth.
On Tuesday night, news of the goalie’s contract extension were up in the air. He was set to hit the open market at the end of this season after making $1.625 per year in the last two years with the Flyers.
Neuvirth missed 23 games this season after suffering a knee injury in mid-November. He’s played in 24 games, started 21, and amassed a 10-9-1 record with a 2.90 goals-against. and .887 save-percentage. Not exactly great but good enough to earn him a raise on his new two-year deal worth $2.5-million per year.
Sure. Whatever works, Ron Hextall.
From Broad Street Hockey’s comprehensive breakdown of the deal:
“Much hand-wringing has occurred via social media this morning over the fact that the Flyers were looking to re-sign Neuvirth despite what has been, objectively, a bad year for him. This is fair, and it’s fair to ask why the Flyers seem so eager to retain him that they’d make it a priority in advance of the trade deadline.
“But it’s fair to at least guess that Neuvirth isn’t going to be this bad again next year, just like it was reasonable to believe that he wasn’t going to replicate the .924 save percentage season he had last year. Neuvirth’s career resume is that of a respectable platoon goalie, and unless you think he’s really fallen off the aging curve this year at 28, it’s reasonable to think he’ll be back around that level when he’s on the ice next year, with the possibility existing that he ends up playing well below or above that level.
“The problem is that “respectable platoon goalie” is basically all Neuvirth’s shown he really is in the NHL. By a combination of injury-proneness, inconsistency, and being on rosters with guys who are outplaying him, Neuvirth hasn’t played more than 32 games in an NHL regular season since 2011-12, when he was with the Washington Capitals and was eventually overtaken by Braden Holtby.”
As far as expansion draft goes, John Shannon of Sportsnet report the Flyers are expected to protect prospect goaltender Anthony Stolarz.
Neuvirth, like Bellemare, could be drafted by Vegas to help hit the cap floor. Again, that’s completely reliant on Vegas taking him.
Perhaps Hextall knows something we don’t.