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30 in 30

Inside look at Philadelphia Flyers

Forwards Dale Weise, Boyd Gordon among subtle changes to roster

by Adam Kimelman @NHLAdamK / NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

NHL.com is providing in-depth roster, prospect and fantasy analysis for each of its 30 teams throughout August. Today, the Philadelphia Flyers.

The Philadelphia Flyers' season ended in the Eastern Conference First Round against the Washington Capitals with six goals in six games.

But their attempt to add scoring resulted in minimal changes this offseason, led by the signing of unrestricted free agent forward Dale Weise, who finished last season with one goal in 19 regular-season and Stanley Cup Playoff games with the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Flyers also signed unrestricted free agent forward Boyd Gordon, who had two goals in 65 games last season with the Arizona Coyotes.

"Was it a perfect summer for us? Probably not," general manager Ron Hextall said. "Was it a productive summer? I think it was."

Prior to being traded to the Blackhawks, Weise had 14 goals in 56 games with the Montreal Canadiens, a personal NHL best. Weise has 24 goals in 150 games during the past two seasons, nearly double the 13 goals he scored in his first 179 games.

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"I think the size (6-foot-2, 206 pounds), he brings some tenacious play that we lost … and he's support scoring," Hextall said. "In a perfect world, you bring in a guy who's an elite scorer, but those guys don't fall off trees. When you can't do that, you tend to look at depth scoring, and we felt we added depth scoring for our lineup."

The Flyers re-signed three restricted free agents, among them left wing Brayden Schenn, who agreed to a four-year contract to avoid arbitration. Forwards Nick Cousins and Jordan Weal also signed.

Schenn's signing keeps the Flyers' best line intact, which included center Claude Giroux and right wing Wayne Simmonds. It combined to score 80 of the Flyers' 211 non-shootout goals (37.9 percent).

"Brayden is a very good young player who has continued to get better and we hope he continues to get better," Hextall said.

Weise likely will play on the third line in place of Sam Gagner, who signed with the Columbus Blue Jackets. Gordon takes the fourth-line spot left by Ryan White, who signed with the Coyotes.

The Flyers bought out the final year of R.J. Umberger's contract. He was a healthy scratch in 23 of the final 24 regular-season games and all six playoff games.

Last season the Flyers' forwards averaged 2.07 goals per game, 24th in the League, so it's up to the holdovers from that group to raise their level.

Atop that list is right wing Jakub Voracek, who had 55 points last season after he finished fourth in the League with 81 points in 2014-15. On July 30, 2015, he signed an eight-year contract that has an average annual value of $8.25 million.

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"Typically after a guy signs a big contract there's more expected of him from himself," Hextall said. "As an organization, we signed a good hockey player and we didn't expect him to be any more than he was, [but] there's a certain burden that comes with that. … I'm sure there will be a lot of growth from Jake from last year.

"Sometimes you've got to struggle or maybe not play up to your potential to realize what you're doing to play your best. He learned some valuable lessons last year."

The defense will return almost fully intact, with Brandon Manning agreeing to a contract to avoid arbitration and Michael Del Zotto expected to be healthy after a wrist injury ended his season Feb. 13. Evgeny Medvedev, who was a frequent healthy scratch in the second half of the season, signed in Russia.

Top prospect Ivan Provorov, 19, the seventh pick of the 2015 NHL Draft who was voted the top defenseman in the Canadian Hockey League last season, could push for a spot. If he doesn't make it, he will play with Brandon of the Western Hockey League.

"I've said this over and over," Hextall said. "If you look at the history of the League, the biggest danger is putting a player in the National Hockey League too early rather than sending a guy back to junior that the public believes is too good for junior or he's going to stagnate in his development."

With most of the same roster that ended last season still in place for 2016-17, Hextall said more will be expected from the returning players.

"We've got to get better from within," he said. "It's on a number of our players to be better hockey players than they were a year ago."

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