It's not surprising in the slightest bit that Danny Syvret isn't coming back to the Philadelphia Flyers, and really, he never did much of anything with the team that deserves our prolonged mourning (sorry, Ben). But as the former Flyers and Adirondack Phantoms defenseman signed a two-way contract with the St. Louis Blues organization over the weekend, it's worth taking a look at what the Flyers opted to give up.
When the Flyers re-acquired Syvret from the Anaheim Ducks/Syracuse Crunch last season, they did so while the Phantoms were in the dumpster. They needed a drastic improvement on the blueline in Glens Falls and Syvret was the perfect candidate: an elite AHL defenseman that knew the organization and the team.
He served as the perfect upgrade to a defense that desperately needed him, and he served as a key piece as the team turned their season around down the stretch. He played 25 to 30 minutes a night and was an important mentor for younger guys like Kevin Marshall.
But that's just the unfair part of the deal: Syvret's too good to play in the AHL, and he's still too young to be considered only as a mentor for some younger defensemen. He doesn't want to be an AHLer for the rest of his career. He wants an NHL shot, but the Flyers figured he was a better fit in the AHL than the NHL.
Syvret's likely not going to be a top-four defenseman in the NHL. It is certainly possible, but given that he's 26 years old and hasn't broken in yet (for whatever reason, fairly or unfairly), odds are against him. But at worst he's an extremely capable bottom-pairing defenseman in the NHL, and at best he's a bit more than that. Geoff pointed something similar out over at SBN Philly today using numbers and stuff.
And more importantly from our perspective, he's likely a better option than Andreas Lilja (especially at two years) on the Flyers, and he's likely better than Oskars Bartulis too. It would've been nice to see him in that sixth defenseman role this upcoming season, especially considering he seems to have a lot more upside than he's been able to express at the NHL level. And if he wound up not earning that job on the ice, he could have been a fine fit with the Phantoms again.
Now, he's on a two-way deal with another club, and given that he signed in August, he should be thankful that an organization on this side of the Atlantic is giving him a chance (again, whether that's unfair or fair or whatever).
Either way, I can't help but think that Syvret is going to get an opportunity with the Blues one way or another, and while I hope he does well there, it's a little irritating that the Flyers let a young guy with potential like him walk while giving Lilja the contract they did. Just feels like bad asset management.