Defenseman Ivan Provorov and right winger Travis Konecny, key players on a Flyers team that opens training camp Sept. 13, are still unsigned restricted free agents.
But there is no panic in general manager Chuck Fletcher’s voice. Fletcher is still negotiating with the players’ agents, and his concern level is low.
“You look around the league and it seems to be a common theme with a lot of RFAs,” Fletcher said Monday. “There just seems to be dialogue, but not a lot of deals getting done. I think as we get closer to camp, obviously the urgency on both sides will pick up.”
Provorov, 22, is coming off a turnover-plagued season in which he managed just seven goals – 10 fewer than the previous year – and was minus-16. He was sixth in the NHL, averaging 25 minutes, 7 seconds of ice time per game.
Konecny, 22, scored 24 goals for the second consecutive season.
Provorov could be joined on the Flyers’ No. 1 pairing by Matt Niskanen, who was acquired from Washington. Konecny could be the right winger on the top line, which will be anchored by center Sean Couturier (33 goals, 76 points) and left winger Claude Giroux (22 goals, 85 points).
“We’ll keep working at it,” Fletcher said of the negotiations. “They’re good young players and we expect to have them signed and ready to go as soon as we can. … Right now, the landscape league-wide is murky, and I think things will start to clear up in the next few weeks. At this point, I’m not concerned. This has been the trend the last few years.”
Columbus’ Zach Werenski and Boston’s Charlie McAvoy are RFA defensemen whose signings could impact how much Provorov receives. Earlier this summer, defenseman Jacob Trouba, coming off a 50-point season, signed a seven-year, $56 million contract with the Rangers as an RFA. Trouba has been a “plus” player in each of his six NHL seasons, all with Winnipeg.
Fletcher has said he was “open” to either a bridge or long-term deal with Konecny and/or Provorov.
Konecny is expected to get a contract with an average annual salary of around $4 million to $4.5 million. Provorov could get a deal that pays around $7 million per season.
Tyler Pitlick, the leading candidate to be the Flyers’ fourth-line right winger, had surgery last week to repair a tendon in his left wrist, Fletcher said. Pitlick, according to Fletcher, suffered the injury during an offseason workout and is scheduled to begin his rehab Sept. 2.
The Flyers hope he will be ready for their opener Oct. 4.
In June, the Flyers acquired Pitlick by sending Ryan Hartman to Dallas. Pitlick, a Minnesota native who missed time last season because of a wrist injury, scored eight goals in 47 games.