Carsen Twarynski was buried on the Flyers’ depth chart, and spent most of last season in the minors.
Now he will get a chance to be a regular with Seattle, the newest NHL team.
The Kraken surprisingly took the hard-nosed left winger in Wednesday night’s expansion draft.
Earlier in the day, Twarynski, 23, a restricted free agent, was asked about reports that Seattle was going to select him.
“Nothing is official until tonight,” he said.
It became official at 8:45 p.m.
The Flyers can afford to lose Twarynski, an Alberta native who has played briefly with the NHL team in each of the last two seasons; they did not want to lose right-handed defenseman Justin Braun, a veteran who is expected to stabilize the third pairing, which could also include Shayne Gostisbehere or Cam York.
They were hoping to lose a player with an expensive cap hit.
Seattle, which had 30 selections overall, one from each team except Vegas, bypassed three talented Flyers with high cap hits: Gostisbehere ($4.5 million annually for the next two years), right winger Jake Voracek ($8.25 million annually for the next three years), and left winger James van Riemsdyk, who has an annual cap hit of $7 million for the next two years.
Voracek, van Riemsdyk, and Claude Giroux led the Flyers with 43 points apiece last season.
Twarynski, selected by the Flyers in the third round of the 2016 draft, was pointless in seven games with the club last season. He has played 22 career games with the Flyers, notching a goal, no assists, and a minus-5 rating.
In 107 career games with the AHL’s Phantoms, Twarynski had 18 goals.
Dave Hakstol’s Kraken bypassed a chance to take several marquee players, including goalie Carey Price from Montreal, centers Matt Duchene or Ryan Johansen from Nashville, and left winger Vladimir Tarasenko from St. Louis. All have huge contracts.
There had been rumors that the Kraken would take Tarasenko, who has had three shoulder surgeries over the last three years, and deal him to the Flyers for Voracek and a high draft pick.
The Kraken took right-handed defenseman Adam Larsson from Edmonton and signed the unrestricted free agent to a four-year deal with an annual cap hit of $4 million.
Larsson would have been a perfect fit on the Flyers’ second pairing, alongside Travis Sanheim.
Seattle’s defense will also include Mark Giordano (Calgary); Jamie Oleksiak (Dallas); Vince Dunn (St. Louis); Carson Soucy (Minnesota); Haydn Fleury (Anaheim); Jeremy Lauzon (Boston); William Borgen (Buffalo); Gavin Bayreuther (Columbus); Kurtis MacDermid (Los Angeles); Cale Fleury (Montreal; Haydn’s brother); and Dennis Cholowski (Detroit)..
Among the forwards headed to Seattle are Tampa Bay’s Yanni Gourde (17 goals last season for the champs); the Islanders’ Jordan Eberle (16 goals last season); Arizona’s Tyler Pitlick, a former Flyer; Carolina’s Morgan Geekie; Chicago’s John Quenneville; Colorado’s Joonas Donskoi; New Jersey’s Nathan Bastian; Nashville’s Calle Jarnkrok; San Jose’s Alexander True; Toronto’s Jared McCann; Vancouver’s Kole Lind; the New York Rangers’ Colin Blackwell; and Winnipeg’s Mason Appleton.
It appears the Kraken did much better on the defensive side than up front. They also look solid with goaltenders Chris Driedger (2.09 GAA, .929 save percentage in 38 career games) of Florida and Washington’s Vitek Vanecek (2.69, .908 in 38 games).
The Flyers protected 11 players and, surprisingly, exposed the high-scoring van Riemsdyk instead of fourth-liner Nic-Aube Kubel. They believed the potential of losing van Riemsdyk’s cap hit was more valuable than his scoring.
But Seattle didn’t bite.
The Flyers are not in a good cap situation, and, in a way, wanted van Riemsdyk, Voracek or Gostisbehere to be selected by the Kraken. Assuming York, Wade Allison and Morgan Frost make the team, the Flyers have $74.8 million of their $81.5 million (maximum) committed to 20 players. That leaves them with just $6.7 million in cap space, and they still must sign restricted free agents Carter Hart, Sanheim, and a backup goalie.
Yes, things are going to get tight unless general manager Chuck Fletcher makes some creative moves.
In the 2017 expansion draft, Vegas took Pierre-Edouard Bellemare from the Flyers, and the fourth-line center and penalty killer helped the Golden Knights stun the hockey world by reaching the Stanley Cup Final in their first season. Vegas lost to Washington, four games to one, in the 2018 Final.
After Wednesday’s expansion draft, the Flyers and the rest of the NHL will turn their attention toward the draft, which will be held Friday (Round 1) and Saturday (Rounds 2-7).
The Flyers have seven picks in the draft, including the 13th overall selection Friday. Fletcher has been dangling the pick in trade talks with other teams.