Flyers Re-Sign D Sam Morin, Extend Qualifying Offers to Hart, Sanheim
After spending the better part of the last week making changes from the outside, the Flyers spent Monday taking care of some internal moves.
First, the Flyers announced that they have re-signed defenseman Sam Morin to a one-year, $750,000 deal. GM Chuck Fletcher had said just days earlier that a deal with Morin was nearing the finish line.
In addition, the Flyers extended qualifying offers to forwards Connor Bunnaman and David Kase, defenseman Travis Sanheim, and goalie Carter Hart. They did not qualify an offer to forward Pascal Laberge, meaning he will become a free agent on Wednesday.
Morin, 26, battled through injuries in the previous three seasons, playing in just 28 professional games at the NHL and AHL level combined in that time. Last season, he appeared in 20 games for the Flyers, scoring his first NHL goal on March 27. He also had two assists in seven games with the Phantoms last season.
With Morin now re-signed, the Flyers only have Brian Elliott and Alex Lyon as players on the active NHL roster that are unrestricted free agents. It certainly appears that the Flyers are moving on from Elliott and address the backup goalie to Hart via free agency.
Bunnaman, 23, has played in 39 NHL games in the last two seasons, scoring one goal and three points.
Sanheim, 25, has 255 NHL games under his belt and has scored 22 goals and 85 points in that time. Last season, he had three goals and 12 assists for 15 points in 55 games.
Hart, who turns 23 on Aug. 13, has played in 101 NHL games and started 95, posting a career 49-37-9 record with a 2.88 GAA and .905 save percentage. Hart especially struggled last season though, with a 9-11-5 record, 3.67 GAA, and .877 save percentage in 27 games and 25 starts.
Kase, 24, has appeared in seven NHL games over the last two seasons, including one in the 2020-21 season. Kase has chosen to play overseas next season, which means he will decline the offer, but extending the qualifying offer allows the Flyers to retain his rights.
Laberge, 23, was a second-round pick of the Flyers with the 36th overall pick in 2016. He reached the AHL in the 2017-18 season, playing in two games. In his first full NHL season, Laberge played in 15 games, scoring five goals and six points.
In the 2019-20 season, Laberge split time between the AHL and ECHL. With the Phantoms, he scored seven goals and had 10 points in 23 games. With the Reading Royals, he had six goals and six assists for 12 points in 24 games. Finally, in 2020-21, Laberge scored three goals and four points in 14 games in the AHL. Injuries very much hampered his career.
Sanheim and Hart will likely decline the offers and continue negotiations on their next contracts. The qualifying offer is merely a formality to protect the player’s rights with the team and extend the window to negotiate further into the offseason. Fletcher had said last weekend that both Hart and Sanheim’s contracts were not “front-burner issues” at that time.
Kevin Durso is Flyers insider for 97.3 ESPN and Flyers editor for SportsTalkPhilly.com. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.