After what was starting to become a concerningly long wait, Philippe Myers is officially returning to the Flyers blueline group for the 2020-21 season.
Myers and the Flyers have come to terms on a 3-year deal worth $2.55 million annually (7.65 million total) that secures the young previously undrafted defenseman to a team-friendly deal. Myers saw a big jump in both ice time and responsibility last season and figures to see more thanks to Matt Niskanen’s surprise retirement forced the Flyers to reshuffle their pairings and special teams units.
The 6’5″ 210 pound Moncton, New Brunswick native did impress last season. He became the first Flyers defender to score in 3 consecutive games since Mark Howe in 1987, finishing with 16 points (4g-12a), and leading his unit in plus-minus (+17), as well as finishing tied for 2nd among rookies. In the playoffs, Myers was playing 20 minutes a night, scored 3 goals and had an assist and lead Flyers defensemen in shots.
With the departure of Niskanen and the lack of other significant signings, Myers appears most likely to receive a promotion to the top pair with Ivan Provorov. Myers has the physical tools for the job, with a unique mix of size and speed which lead to the Flyers taking a chance on the undrafted player by signing him in 2015. What Myers needs is to work on his vision and discipline. Top pair minutes means facing the other team’s best line. His aggressiveness is an asset but will have to be tempered when he’s facing 1st line matchups instead of 2nd and 3rd lines.
Defensemen tend to develop a bit slower, and the Flyers brass was patient with the 23-year-old Myers. Now he’s being thrust into a post a year or two before most would’ve anticipated he’d get there. It also doesn’t look like any additional reinforcements are coming. The Flyers have $2.2 million left under the cap, and with Nolan Patrick and Sam Morin before figuring to come off the IR at some point, they’ll be tightly strapped with the cap. With trades being the only realistic option and the most talked-about trade candidates (James van Riemsdyk, Jakub Voracek, and Shayne Gostisbehere) all being too expensive to move in simple deals, the Flyers roster is set barring a big and surprising turn of events.
The Flyers fortunes are now in part hinging on Phil Myers and whether or not he can take another next step after a promising rooking season.