A day after getting a modest promotion, Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher scratched off another item from his list of chores by re-signing Scott Laughton.
Now it’s on to Ivan Provorov and Travis Konecny.
Fletcher on Friday morning, in his first public remarks since adding president of hockey operations to his Flyers title, said that getting deals done with restricted free agents Provorov, Konecny, and Laughton were his highest priorities. By Friday evening, Laughton was done.
The Flyers gave the 25-year-old forward a 2-year deal with an average annual value of $2.3 million.
Laughton, the 20th overall pick of the Flyers in 2012, set career highs with 12 goals and 32 points last season, when he earned $962,500. Unlike Provorov and Konecny, Laughton was eligible for arbitration and had a hearing scheduled for July 30.
The Inquirer projects Laughton as either a third-line winger or fourth-line center in 2019-20.
Getting deals done with Provorov and Konecny might be trickier, given both are young and well-regarded throughout the league. Watch out for poachers.
“I spoke with Mark Gandler a few days ago,” Fletcher said, referring to Provorov’s agent. “Everything is cordial, amicable. I think until the market settles out a little bit, it may be difficult to move forward on Provorov.”
Provorov is a 22-year-old defenseman who plays 25 minutes per game, which is easily the most of any of the Flyers’ blue-liners and sixth-most in the NHL.
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Other teams can offer deals to restricted free agents, which the Flyers can either match or settle for compensatory draft picks in return. Provorov may have taken a step back last season from the 17 goals and plus-17 he posted in 2017-18, but he’s one of the most intriguing RFA defensemen out there.
(Boston’s Charlie McAvoy and Columbus’ Zach Werenski also are young RFA defensemen. Also keep an eye on the deal 25-year-old Jacob Trouba gets from the Rangers. He has a July 25 arbitration hearing.)
Provorov had seven goals and was a minus-16 last season. He has not missed a game in his three-year career when his AAV was $1.775 million. Provorov was the seventh overall pick in 2015.
Konecny, the 24th pick in 2015, has scored 24 goals each of the last two seasons and will get a bump from the $1.14 million his rookie deal averaged anually. He’s developed into a top-six forward who turned 22 in March.
Fletcher added the title of team president after Paul Holmgren stepped aside Thursday. Holmgren will remain as a senior adviser, but Fletcher will become the unquestionable face (or target, depending on how the boys fare on the ice) of the club. He’ll answer to CEO Dave Scott.
“I expect as the summer goes on we’ll continue to chip away at this,” Fletcher said. “The market will continue to flush out as we go and we’ll get there. We’ll get there by the end.”