Photo: Flames Nation
The Philadelphia Flyers announced on Monday afternoon that they have signed unrestricted free agent defenseman Erik Gustafsson to a one-year contract worth $3 million.
The move comes nearly a week after defenseman Matt Niskanen, who’s average 21:54 worth of ice-time per game was second on the team, announced his retirement, leaving the Flyers in need for a top-four shutdown defenseman. The Flyers finished the 2019-20 season tied for seventh in the NHL with an average of 2.77 goals-against per game.
Gustafsson, 28, recorded six goals, 29 points, a -9 rating, a 48.76% Corsi-for percentage, and a 45.17% expected goals-for percentage in 68 regular-season games with the Chicago Blackhawks and Calgary Flames last season. The Blackhawks dealt him to the Flames at the NHL Trade Deadline.
He pitched in four assists and was a +1 rating in 10 Stanley Cup Playoff games for the Flames, who fell to the eventual Western Conference Champion Dallas Stars in six games during the first round.
While averaging 20:23 of ice-time per game, including 2:42 on the power-play, Gustafsson posted 86 hits, 58 blocked shots, 58 giveaways, and 21 giveaways this past season.
The Flyers, who fell to the New York Islanders in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, went 20.8% on the power-play last season, 14th in the NHL.
In 221 career games with the Blackhawks and Flames, the 93rd overall pick in the 2012 NHL Draft (by the Edmonton Oilers) has recorded 28 goals, 119 points, and a -3 rating. Gustafsson exploded offensively with the Blackhawks two seasons ago, where he recorded 17 goals, 60 points, and a -6 rating in 79 games.
In 15 career Stanley Cup Playoff games, Gustafsson has recorded five assists and an even rating.
After signing the Swedish blueliner, the Flyers have $5,685,273 remaining in cap space with center Nolan Patrick being their only restricted free agent.
Gustafsson can become an unrestricted free agent after the 2020-21 season.
Erik Gustafsson, signed 1x$3M by PHI, might be the most one-dimensional offensive defenceman in the league. He can generate offence at 5v5 and the PP and produce, but he’s an absolute liability defensively. #Flyers pic.twitter.com/3fRTLHUiUp
— JFresh (@JFreshHockey) October 12, 2020
By Harrison Brown