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Who has the Flyers’ most untradeable contract?

Is it one signed a few years ago, a few months ago, or has it not even been signed yet?

NHL: Philadelphia Flyers at Carolina Hurricanes James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Remember when the Flyers had all that salary cap space? Yeah me neither.

After a short spending spree from GM Chuck Fletcher since the end of the regular season, the Flyers suddenly have next to nothing in terms of cap space after acquiring Kevin Hayes, Justin Braun, and Matt Niskanen. We’re factoring in what we think will eventually be deals for both restricted free agents Ivan Provorov and Travis Konecny to cut pretty deep into the Flyers’ remaining $13 million or so remaining.

It’s been a pretty weird week for Ken Campbell of the Hockey News, who started by going full-on old man yelling at a cloud about what the players do with the Stanley Cup after they’ve taken home the best prize in sports. Safe to say that people online weren’t kind to the veteran writer, who clearly does not understand the myriad of completely insane things that have already happened to the Cup and will surely continue with time.

Anyway, he followed that up by penning a piece about the ten most untradeable contracts in the league and sure enough there’s a Flyer on it! Surprise, it’s Hayes and his monstrous seven-year, $50 million deal signed just weeks ago.

Now it really wasn’t a secret that Hayes was probably going to be overpaid given that the Flyers shelled out a pick just to negotiate with the pending unrestricted free agent, but also that Hayes was legitimately the second best center on the market in a shallow class. Even given the Flyers’ position with little leverage given their glaring hole at second line center, it looks like an overpay for a player who has averaged 45.8 points per season in his career to date.

But while Campbell is of the opinion it’s an untradeable contract, is it even the most unmovable contract on the Flyers roster?

Kevin Hayes

The deal: Seven years, $50 million (NMC until 2022, 12-team no trade list 2023 through 2026)

To fill in the rest on Hayes, he’s got a no move clause for the next three seasons and then a modified no trade clause for the following four years where he submits a list of 12 teams that he cannot be traded to.

Hayes gets a mention here because that is a ton of years and cash for a guy with his career production, but there’s also the chance that it doesn’t look nearly as bad as it does from the very start. For starters, Hayes will have a true role as a second line center with plenty of scoring talent around him to pump up some of those point totals above the 50 mark like he was a season ago split between the Rangers and Jets. Second, he’ll anchor the Flyers’ second power play unit, where he hadn’t had much time in the early part of his career.

Hayes’ contract is untradeable to a degree, but the Flyers won’t be looking to move him in any of the next couple years anyways. Down the line is where the issue props up, especially if Nolan Patrick takes a leap forward in the coming years, but for now it’s not an issue.

Jakub Voracek

The deal: Five years remaining, $8.25 million cap hit

Unlike Hayes, Voracek is in almost no control of his future should the Flyers opt to trade their longtime winger. The obstacle with the soon-to-be 30-year-old is both the term and money left on his contract.

Voracek has scored at a .83 points per game clip since arriving with the Flyers, but also could be staring at the downside of his career starting with the 2019-20 season. Will he still be productive two, three, four seasons from now? That’s a hard question to answer, but Voracek could prolong his prime by continuing to use his body to shield the puck much like the great Jaromir Jagr did throughout his career and especially towards the end.

There would certainly be a market for Voracek’s services should the Flyers explore the market for him, but his age, the remaining years and money left on his deal would make him a tough trade candidate.

James van Riemsdyk

The deal: Four years remaining, $7 million cap hit

Like Voracek, JVR does not have any type of say with a form of no move or no trade clause, but makes a more modest amount of money with one year less to go on his deal. The big signing of the Ron Hextall tenure, JVR provides a ton of goals and no much else.

In the NHL you pay extra for goals, and JVR is one of those guys who can get you them in bunches. He’s scored at least 27 goals in five different seasons, and likely would have added a third 30-goal season should he not have gotten injured at the beginning of last season. The former second overall pick isn’t a one-trick pony and provides goals both on the power play and at even strength.

The reason he shows up in this list is because while goals are expensive, the Flyers are paying JVR for them and them only. He’s never been a great 200-foot player, and is already on the other side of 30, taking his value down even with his goal scoring prowess. There are teams out there who would surely pay $7 million a season for 30+ goals, but if his production dips in the goal scoring department and injuries start to mount...this will still be a rather unmovable deal for the Flyers.

Matt Niskanen

The deal: Two years remaining, $5.75 million cap hit (10 team no trade list through 2021)

Another new Flyer makes the list, but for very different reasons than the ones that Hayes made it on the list.

Niskanen, 32, doesn’t break the bank in terms of years remaining or total money, but has showed some signs in the past few years that he’s breaking down. He turns 33 on December 6th and has a lot of miles on his NHL body, especially in the last six years with deep playoff runs as part of the Penguins and Capitals.

Given that Fletcher was willing to retain salary on Radko Gudas to acquire Niskanen, it’s highly unlikely he’d want to trade him in the next two seasons anyway. That’s a good thing because they’re couldn’t have been much of a market for him if he ended up going for Gudas in the end.

The Flyers are hoping that the veteran bounces back and returns to form as a solid second pair defenseman, but if he doesn’t and proves to be cooked; they’ll be no trading him away without sweetening the pot for another team big time.

Ivan Provorov

The deal: Unsigned

The 22-year-old RFA has not reached a contract extension with the Flyers and things haven’t appeared to be close between the two parties. How could we possibly include a contract on an untradeable list that hasn’t been signed? Let’s discuss.

Whispers of the negotiations between the Flyers and Provorov have painted the two as pretty far apart with the defenseman looking for a deal north of $8 million per season on a long-term deal. While the Flyers would love to get Provorov signed for a long time, there’s likely pause trying to figure out just what his value is at this point of his career. That’s tricky because Provorov has been thrust into a top pairing role since arriving with the team. But not because he’s actively been the Flyers’ best defender, but because he’s simply been their most competent one during that time.

Provorov undoubtedly has immense potential —and that of a number one defenseman to boot— but also took a step backwards a season ago after a breakout 17-goal campaign in 2017-18. Not only did his offensive production dry up somewhat, but there was a noticeable increase in gaffes and lapses in his game last season that give pause to whether or not he should be paid like other top defenseman around the league.

Though he doesn’t have a contract at this point, handing Provorov a long-term deal for big money over $8 million a season could come back to bit the Flyers if he doesn’t take his game to the next level and leave them with a vastly overpaid non top pair defenseman for years to come.

So who do you think is the owner of the Flyers’ most untradeable contract? Drop your thoughts in the comments as always.