Written by Roland Alonzi – July 1, 2015 – The Flyers did not make any splashy moves on the first day of free agency. However, GM Ron Hextall, who gained the confidence of his fans during the 2015 NHL Entry Draft weekend, took care of the team’s first priority, signing backup G Michal Neuvirth, 27, to a two year contract.
Given Mason’s injury history last season, the team needed a capable goaltender who could give Mason regular rest and carry the team, should any injury fell Mason.
The two-year deal is for $3.25 million, with an annual salary-cap hit of $1.625 million, reasonable numbers that the team could easily fit under the cap.
Acquired by the NY Islanders from Buffalo as a backup to Jaroslav Halak last season, Neuvirth saw limited action with the Islanders after appearing in 27 games with Buffalo. With the Islanders, Neuvirth had a 2.94 GAA and .881 save percentage, though he had a .918 save percentage in almost 30 games with the Sabres prior to the trade to New York.
Coincidentally, both Mason and Neuvirth were selected in the 2006 draft. Neuvirth was selected in the second round (34th overall) by the Washington Capitals. He went 35 spots before Mason, who was selected by Columbus in the third round (69th overall).
Neuvirth has a seven-year career record of 66-63-17 with a 2.73 goals-against average and a .912 save percentage.
The Flyers made only minor moves the rest of the day, signing C Tim Brent and D Davis Drewiske to one-year, two-way contracts, and RW Chris Conner to a two-year, two-way contract. These were purely depth moves.
“We added a little bit of skill up front and a couple smart players who have played quite a few games up top,” Hextall said during a conference call. “Davis Drewiske has played quite a few games up top. We added some guys to make us a better team at the minor league level as well as options when players get hurt or what not.”
The Flyers didn’t make any other moves today, but with a crowded blue line and prospects like Ivan Provorov, Travis Sanheim and Shayne Gostisbehere knocking on the door, sources have said there are more moves on the horizon.
In fact, Chicago Sun-Times Blackhawks beat writer Mark Lazerus noted that the team is actively shopping Patrick Sharp, with interested parties including the Flyers, Florida, and New York Islanders.
Sharp appeared in 68 games last season, scoring 16/27/43. In 2013-14, he appeared in all 82 games, scoring 34/44/78. Sharp started his career in Philadelphia, having been selected in the third round (95th overall) in the 2001 Entry Draft.