Flyers-Bruins: What you need to know

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Flyers-Bruins: What you need to know

Flyers at Bruins – 1 p.m., CSN
TD Bank Garden, Boston, Mass.

Records
Flyers: 11-13-1 (Fifth in Atlantic Division, 11th in Eastern Conference)

Bruins: 15-3-3 (Second in Southeast Division, Fourth in Eastern Conference)

Last meeting
The last time these two clubs faced off, the Flyers rallied from a 2-0 deficit to force overtime, but eventually fell to the Bruins, 3-2, in a shootout. Jakub Voracek and Matt Read each scored in regulation for the Flyers and Ilya Bryzgalov made 31 saves. Tyler Seguin and Chris Kelly tallied Boston’s regulation goals and Patrice Bergeron had the game-deciding marker in the shootout.

In the 2011-12 season series, the Flyers went 1-1-2 against the Bruins. They were outscored 16-9 in those four contests. Saturday will mark the first of three meetings between the two teams this year.

Previous games
The Flyers blew a three-goal, first-period lead in Thursday’s deflating 5-4 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins at Wells Fargo Center. Kimmo Timonen had a goal and two assists, while Voracek continued his stellar play with two tallies of his own. The loss was the Flyers’ second in a row and dropped them to 11th place in the Eastern Conference standings with 23 games remaining.

Seguin registered two goals and an assist to help the Bruins avoid another third-period collapse in Thursday’s 4-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Bergeron had a goal and an assist and David Krejci tallied the Bruins’ other marker. Boston, which had blown leads in its previous two games, has recorded at least three goals in eight of its last nine contests.

Who's hot
No Flyer has been better offensively this season than Voracek. The 23-year-old has posted nine goals and nine assists in his last nine games. In his second season in orange and black, Voracek is on pace to score a career-high 23 goals and 56 points, even in a lockout-shortened campaign. He currently leads the Flyers in tallies (12), is tied with Claude Giroux for the team-lead in assists (17) and his first on the club with 29 points through 25 games.

For the Bruins, Bergeron and Seguin have provided a ton of offense as of late. Bergeron has two goals and four assists in his past three contests and is leading Boston in scoring so far this season with 21 points in as many games. As for Seguin, the former second-overall pick has potted four goals in his last four games after scoring just three in his previous 17.

Who's not
Danny Briere hasn’t been much of a factor for the Flyers over his past five games. During that span, the veteran forward has just two assists and is a minus-6.

A season after scoring a career-high 20 goals, Boston’s Kelly hasn’t struggled to find the scoresheet so far this year. He has found the back of the net just once this year and ranks towards to the bottom of the Bruins in plus/minus at minus-7.
 
Keep an eye on ...
The Flyers are the most penalized team in the NHL – they’ve been shorthanded 103 times so far this season. However, the orange and black have also been able to draw penalties, as they are second in the league in power-play opportunities with 103.

Over the past nine games, the Flyers’ power play has gone 13 for 39 (33.3 percent), but will face a tough test in the Bruins. Boston has the best penalty-kill percentage in the league at 91.9 percent.

Tuukka Rask has been one of the best netminders in the NHL so far this season. He enters Saturday with an 11-2-3 record, .923 save percentage and 2.09 goals-against average. In three career regular-season starts against the Flyers, Rask has gone 2-0-1 with a .926 save percentage.

Boston won’t be happy to see Simon Gagne back in a Flyers uniform. The last time Gagne faced the Bruins as a member of the orange and black, he scored the game-winning goal in Game 7 of the 2010 Eastern Conference semifinals to help the Flyers advance in the Stanley Cup playoffs after being down 3-0 in the series.

Did you know?
The Flyers are the only team in the NHL that has failed to register a point when tied after two periods (0-5-0) this season.

Also, the Flyers' 13 losses in regulation are more than what the Chicago Blackhawks (one), Anaheim Ducks (three), Bruins (three) and Montreal Canadiens (five) have combined. 
 
Injuries
Flyers: Signs seem to point to Andrej Meszaros making his return from a left shoulder injury against Boston. The defenseman hasn’t played since leaving the Flyers’ 2-1 win over the New York Rangers on Jan. 24.

Tye McGinn (right orbital surgery) and Jody Shelley (left hip surgery) are on injured reserve and remain sidelined.

Bruins: Marc Savard is expected to miss the entire season with post-concussion syndrome.

Jordan Caron (upper-body) is on injured reserve.

Sound off
What do you think the Flyers have to do to turn things around?

NHL Notes: Predators sign Calle Jarnkrok to 6-year, $12 million contract

NHL Notes: Predators sign Calle Jarnkrok to 6-year, $12 million contract

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Nashville Predators have signed defenseman Matt Carle to a one-year contract hours after signing forward Calle Jarnkrok to a six-year, $12 million contract through 2021-22.

Under the deals announced by the Predators on Wednesday, Carle will earn $700,000 this season while Jarnkrok will earn $1.7 million this season rising to $2.2 million in both 2019-20 and 2020-2021 before dipping to $2 million in the final year.

The 31-year-old Carle is a veteran of 724 NHL games with 282 points while playing with San Jose, Tampa Bay and Philadelphia where he played for now Nashville coach Peter Laviolette. The 6-foot, 197-pound defenseman spent the past four seasons with Tampa Bay, which included a berth in the 2015 Stanley Cup finals.

The 24-year-old Jarnkrok played in 71 games last season and scored a career-high 16 goals with 30 points. The native of Gavle, Sweden, was second on the team with four game-winning goals last season.

The 51st pick overall by Detroit in the 2010 entry draft, Jarnkrok was traded to Nashville on March 5, 2014, and was a restricted free agent.

Lightning: Namestnikov re-signs for 2 years
TAMPA, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Lightning re-signed forward Vladislav Namestnikov to a two-year, $3.875 million contract Wednesday.

The 23-year-old appeared in 80 games last season, finishing with 14 goals and 35 points. He had one goal and four points while skating in 17 games during the playoffs. In 127 career NHL games, the Russian has 23 goals and 51 points.

Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman announced the deal.

Hurricanes: Head coach Bill Peters extended 3 years
RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Carolina Hurricanes signed coach Bill Peters to a contract extension through the 2018-19 season, general manager Ron Francis said Wednesday.

Peters has a record of 65-72-27 in two seasons while leading the Hurricanes' rebuilding project. They finished this season sixth in the Metropolitan Division with a 35-31-16 record, but earned 86 points -- their most since 2010-11, and a 15-point improvement from Peters' first year.

"We knew it wasn't going to be a quick turnaround," Peters said. "It takes time. ... I just like the direction we're headed in, and we're headed in that direction for a long period of time."

The Hurricanes used three rookies in the rotation on defense, and mounted a last-gasp -- but ultimately unsuccessful -- push for their first playoff appearance since 2009 by earning points in 12 of the 14 games that came after trading captain and franchise face Eric Staal to the New York Rangers.

Terms of Peters' extension were not disclosed. Peters was entering the final year of a three-year contract he signed in June 2014, when he was hired to take over for the fired Kirk Muller.

"You've got a head coach heading into the last year of his deal," Francis said. "It's important that if you like him and you want to have him around, you get this done."

The Hurricanes have reached the playoffs just once since winning the Stanley Cup in 2006. Carolina's seven-year postseason drought is the longest among Eastern Conference teams.

"Professionally, it's the right thing for me, and I want to see this thing through, and I want to get in the playoffs, and I want to get on a run," Peters said.

With Brandon Manning signed, what's next for Flyers?

With Brandon Manning signed, what's next for Flyers?

Now that young defenseman Brandon Manning has been re-signed, the Flyers wiped the table clean of any unfinished business with potential arbitration hearings this summer.
 
For now, they are done with their in-house reorganizing, but could still do a deal for a scoring winger at some point moving forward.
 
Manning’s signing left the club with 23 players for the coming season on the NHL roster — 14 forwards, seven defensemen and two goalies.
 
More significantly, it also left the Flyers with little salary cap breathing room — $1.038 million, according to generalfanager.com.
 
They still have to lose a forward even though they opened with 14 last season. General manager Ron Hextall might start with eight defensemen, which brings us to 13 forwards.
 
Right now, the top target among the forwards to be sent to the AHL would be Jordan Weal ($650,000 cap hit).
 
That gives them the right number of forwards, but what about creating a spot for prospect Travis Konecny if — and that’s a big if — he’s ready to make the NHL cut out of training camp?
 
Hextall has said several times since the season ended that regardless of how his roster stands, if a prospect is ready for the NHL, he’ll find a spot for him.
 
Which brings us to the defense. Manning is the perfect seventh man on the defense. He was both that and a regular last season while playing 56 games. He also helps the Flyers in another way.
 
If he plays 14 games this season (70 overall in two seasons), he would be eligible to be exposed in next summer’s NHL expansion draft because he is also under contract for the following year, another stipulation in the expansion rules.
 
That doesn’t mean he won’t be exposed. Under the NHL’s expansion rules, teams will have the option of protecting one goaltender, three defensemen and seven forwards. Or they can protect one goalie and eight skaters, four of which can be defensemen.
 
Given Andrew MacDonald’s $5 million cap hit, you can be sure he will be exposed.
 
The issue for the present, however, is how will the Flyers fit defensive prospect Ivan Provorov onto the roster, if he can make the club out of camp?
 
Provorov was impressive in development camp. When compared against fellow prospects Sam Morin, Travis Sanheim and Robert Hagg, he was easily above them in terms of overall development.
 
The simple solution here would be to move veteran defenseman Mark Streit, who turns 39 in December. Streit has a no-trade clause but would likely waive it to remain in the NHL. Except there hasn’t been any interest in Streit since last winter.
 
Streit doesn’t have a no-movement clause, so like MacDonald, he could go to the AHL Phantoms, but because of his salary ($5.25 million), the most the Flyers can save off their cap is $950,000.
 
The Flyers could also move Nick Schultz, even to the minors, and save $950,000. Schultz, however, played very well in the playoffs and Hextall has said more than once he likes what he brings off the ice in terms of leadership around younger players.
 
The easy move would be to send Manning ($975,000) to the Phantoms and promote Provorov. Because of his age (19), Provorov either plays with the Flyers or returns to his WHL club this fall. His NHL cap hit would be less than Manning — $894,166.
 
Yet seeing how things unfolded last season, it’s more likely that MacDonald would again be a cap victim and return to the AHL rather than have him sit there as the seventh defenseman, which doesn’t do him any good unless the Flyers carry eight defensemen and 13 forwards.
 
At present, generalfanager.com has the Flyers at $71,961,666 out of the $73 million cap, including the buyout of R.J. Umberger. Eliminating Weal and Manning while adding Provorov leaves them at $71,230,832. Their cap space would be $1.76 million.
 
All the above assumes Hextall doesn’t make any trades, plus Nick Cousins, Scott Laughton and Boyd Gordon all make the final roster. It’s not a given all three do. Gordon's cap hit is $950,000 — almost as much as Manning's.
 
Because the Flyers could go with an extra forward or defenseman, it sets up all kinds of possibilities with the final roster come training camp.
 
At least one player figures to lose their job.

End to End: Analyzing Brayden Schenn's contract

End to End: Analyzing Brayden Schenn's contract

Each week, we'll ask questions about the Flyers to our resident hockey analysts and see what they have to say.

Going End to End this week are Tom Dougherty, Jordan Hall and Greg Paone, all producers/reporters for CSNPhilly.com.

Is Brayden Schenn's contract a good deal for the Flyers?

Dougherty
It's understandable why some portion of Flyers fans have responded to Schenn's contract extension with caution; the $5.125 million is a bit high for what he's done consistently. But we live in a salary cap world in which the cap is not rising at the rate we would like.

We have to consider that when analyzing contracts. As Sportsnet's Colton Praill eloquently opined about bridge contracts back on July 13, we've seen teams get burnt by bad contracts. Look at the Chicago Blackhawks, who have had to move players to fit under the cap.

Part of surviving the cap world is making smart bets on players, and that requires breaking down what they have done already but more importantly, what you believe they'll do in the future. And Ron Hextall has done a decent job of that in his tenure as GM.

A perfect example of that is Sean Couturier's contract. It was a higher cap hit than his offensive production warranted at the time, but a deal we would look back on as a steal.

Now, Schenn's development is nearly complete. It's a different situation, but the same idea. If Schenn is a 26-goal, 59-point player, his $5.125 million AAV is fair.

If there's another level we haven't seen from the 24-year-old, then this is a totally different conversation in a few years.

In the end, the Flyers are betting on Schenn being the player he was from Jan. 1, 2016, through the end of the season, and living in the cap world, it's a smart play.

Hall
The Flyers were going to re-sign Brayden Schenn, through an arbitrator or not.

And when it was all said and done, no matter if the average annual value was slightly lower or higher than the $5.125 million of Schenn’s new four-year contract, the Flyers were still going to be handcuffed by the cap.

So the Flyers avoided what can be a messy arbitration process by finding a happy medium with a strategic deal that behooves the Flyers long term, as Ron Hextall explained.

Now they have longer team control over Schenn, who could have signed for fewer years, upped his game and ballooned his payday as an unrestricted free agent.

Like Hextall said, top-six forwards entering their prime "are hard to find."

Yeah, the Flyers probably overpaid just a bit, but that’s the NHL market — it’s far from perfect.

Paone
There’s a reason these kinds of things are categorized as negotiations. There’s give and take involved. In the case of Brayden Schenn’s contract, there was probably a little more give than Ron Hextall and the Flyers would have liked. The numbers reported over the weekend tell us the Flyers didn’t necessarily want to go over the $5 million per year threshold with Schenn, even though the 24-year-old forward is coming off a career year of 26 goals and 33 assists.

But just because the Flyers went over their projected budget by going a smidge over $5 million doesn’t mean this is a terrible deal for the team. Not by any means. By now, you’ve probably read or heard Hextall use the term “market deal” when describing this contract. And that’s accurate because that’s the way the NHL is going these days. Yes, Schenn has had inconsistency issues over his first five seasons in Philadelphia. But young scorers don’t grow on trees. You have to pay to keep the ones you have. New Jersey’s Kyle Palmieri, the New York Rangers’ Chris Kreider and St. Louis’ Jaden Schwartz are just a few examples. Schenn is just the latest. There will be more young scorers out there, flaws be damned, who will get paid sooner rather than later.

Sure, Schenn picked a great time last year — a contract year — to have a career season. And that pushed the Flyers to reward him. Now, it’s up to him to reward the Flyers’ faith.