What Will It Cost the Flyers to Re-Sign this Potential Star in the Making?
(Photo by Rich Graessle/NHLI via Getty Images)
When the Flyers finally decided it was time to move on from their long-time captain a couple of seasons ago, they could have only hoped that the prospect (Owen Tippett) they got back as part of the return from shipping Claude Giroux down to Florida, would develop into a potential star for them in the future.
Tippett, who is now 24 years old, was Florida’s 2017 1st-round pick, that they selected 10th overall. When taken, the Panthers hoped that his natural goal-scoring ability would be able to make an immediate impact for them at the NHL level. But sadly, what prevented that from happening was the team’s roster at the time. It was built to win now and, therefore, was filled with veteran players that allowed Owen to receive very little ice time in which to prove himself. Forced then to spend his days bouncing back and forth between their AHL affiliate, the Springfield Thunderbirds, and the Panthers’ bottom-six forward group, Owen found himself going nowhere fast.
Fast forward a couple of seasons to the present day, and Philadelphia now not only finds themselves elated with the type of offensive production Tippett has been able to provide for them since first donning a Flyers sweater but confuddled as to the term and monetary value they should be willing to offer this impending restricted free agent after the conclusion of this season.
Tippett’s agents will no doubt have a bevy of contracts to choose from that were recently signed by some of the NHL’s most promising youth to use as comparable bargaining chips when they meet with the Flyers executives to discuss Owen’s new deal. Jesper Bratt’s eight-year $63 million deal that he signed with the Devils and Andrei Svechnikov’s eight-year $62 million deal he signed with the Canes would be wise choices.
But if I wanted to play devil’s advocate here and help Owen’s legal team to leave little room for a rebuttal, my recommendation would be to choose a player whose point production most closely resembles that of Tippett’s, and that would be 22-year-old winger Cole Caufield who plays for the Montreal Canadiens. Cole’s current career highs are 26 goals to that of Owen’s 27, which both were able to achieve last year, and 43 points to that of Owen’s 49.
In saying that, Caufield is in but his first year of a very optimistic eight-year 62.5 million dollar deal that is due to pay Cole an average annual salary of $7.8 million until he is the ripe old age of 30. Inking a similar agreement for Owen would make both Tippett and his agents very happy, but the Flyers may have some different numbers in mind.
Now, looking at things through the Flyers’ eyes, Caulfield was able to achieve those goal totals in 31 fewer games played last year due to him sustaining an injury, so the Canadiens most likely overpaid him a little now with the hopes that it might seem like a bargain price for potentially what type of production Cole (who is two years younger than Owen) could amass in the future.
As an alternative, Philadelphia will likely try to show Tippett’s agents some much more reasonable contracts from players that, oddly enough, Owen currently plays with on a nightly basis. Players like Joel Farabee may come to mind. A winger who just last year at the age of 22 signed a six-year, 30-million-dollar deal that pays him just $5 million a season. Or how about the six-year 33-million-dollar deal Travis Konecny is currently retained to that pays him just $5.5 million a year, which, mind you, he also made official some years ago now, when he was 22 years of age.
Ultimately, I feel when the dust settles, both Philadelphia and Owen’s agent will have to meet somewhere in the middle because while Tippett has only put up these type of numbers for one season prior to this, he is on pace to finish with similar totals again this year (and of course as made evident by some of the other players contracts mentioned previously in this article) the market is ever rising.
So, it just depends if the Flyers want to make sure Owen will be able to sustain this kind of production, or better, before locking him down for good. Expect them to offer him a deal that resembles the Flames’ Andrew Mangiapane’s three-year, 17.4-million-dollar contract that pays him just $5.8 million a season. Or if they feel confident that Tippett has not yet reached his ceiling and wish to sign him long-term. Look for the Flyers to offer Owen a deal similar to the Wild’s Matthew Boldy, who makes seven million a season from the seven-year $49 million contract Minnesota just gave him.
Either way, they choose, one thing is for sure. Regardless of the agreed-upon term and amount of zeros he is due to be paid, Owen’s new contract is sure to make the two-year, three-million-dollar deal he is currently contractually employed by (that pays him just $1.5 million a season) look like chump change!
I’m a lifelong Flyers fan who has been playing the sport of Ice Hockey we all know and love competitively for over 30 years now. I grew up playing in-between the pipes where I was able to take in the whole game and analysis just what the team needed to do to help us win. Over the years I always enjoyed reading and gaining as much knowledge as possible about this great sport, but always thought it lacked something. A players prospective!