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5 Flyers Who Probably Won’t Be Back Next Season

Jacob Scott

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The Philadelphia Flyers are in an interesting situation. On paper, their roster is built to win, but this season has had other plans. There are a number of unrestricted free agents (UFA) after this season, especially on the back-end. I can easily see the Flyers making as many changes as possible within their limits if this season ends in anything less than a playoff berth.

That being said, a player they would most want to move is James van Riemsdyk who has an AAV (average annual value) of $7 million. This contract was less than ideal from the start. Last season was an anomaly based on how his career has gone, but he was worth the money. This year is a completely different story. The Flyers would have had an easier time moving van Riemsdyk if he was performing at a higher level, but with his lack of production and his contract, they will most likely have to keep him until the end of his contract unless they can retain a good chunk of money.

The Flyers also have a number of players signed for multiple years that are considered the core group they would like to build around. They have nine players on their current roster that are signed past 2022-23. It is anyone’s guess as to whether players with one year remaining will garner interest from other teams and it will heavily depend on where the team is in the standings at the trade deadline.

Claude Giroux

If the Flyers are going to look at retooling their roster, Claude Giroux may not be a part of that plan. The decision is not just up to the team though. He would have to decide if he wants to stay as well. Giroux is a UFA after this season who will have many options come free agency. Are the Flyers willing to pay and extend him for the money and term he will be asking?

I know it’s not the greatest to think about losing a franchise player who has done so much for the organization, but it’s a business and we as fans have no control over the outcome.

Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Giroux is still a very effective player, and one of the only bright spots for the Flyers this season. It may be time to part ways with one of the best players to play for this organization and give him a chance to chase the Stanley Cup somewhere else. That’s not to say the Flyers can’t make themselves contenders, things just have to change.

With many UFAs at the end of the season, the Flyers could elect to go shopping externally to bring in some new faces like they did with Cam Atkinson, Rasmus Ristolainen, and Ryan Ellis. Another option is to give more young players a chance to make the team, seeing how there are a number of prospects knocking on the door for their opportunity.

Related: NHL Stat Corner (East): Maple Leafs, Canadiens, Islanders, Flyers

With how the team has regressed the past couple of seasons, I don’t blame Giroux if he wants to test the waters in free agency and move on after not winning in Philadelphia. I think he finished out the year with the team no matter how the season turns out, but it may be the last in a Flyers uniform.

Oskar Lindblom

The Flyers could generate interest from a player like Oskar Lindblom with one more year remaining on his contract and team control after that due to his restricted free agent (RFA) status. Still a young player with potential, his opportunities have been limited and production hasn’t been the same since rejoining the team. Obviously, something that is out of his control, but sometimes injuries or illnesses can have lingering effects.

His cap hit isn’t overly expensive, and if he can put up 17 goals and 33 points again in a full season, a team could see him as worth the shot. With just two points in 25 games this season, he is struggling alongside a team that has also had a tough time scoring goals.

He is likely in need of a change in scenery, and the most likely of the players signed past this season to be traded somewhere to get a better opportunity and more playing time. A rebuilding team or a team near the bottom of the league is most likely to try and acquire Lindblom if he becomes available, as more playing time seems to have a positive impact on his game.

Rasmus Ristolainen

Losing seemed to have followed Ristolainen to Philadelphia, as he just can’t seem to catch a break. His performance has been underwhelming in his first season with the Flyers, recording just five points in 24 games, posting a minus-10 plus/minus, and playing the least amount of ice time per game since the 2014-15 season.

Rasmus Ristolainen, Philadelphia Flyers (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Though he has been the top defenceman on the Buffalo Sabres since early in his career, he seems to miss the bigger minutes and may look to test out free agency for the first time in his career since he is on the last year of his deal. With Ryan Ellis signed for five more seasons after this one, Ristolainen will have a better shot at a more fulfilling career on another team.

Keith Yandle

Keith Yandle was brought in on a very cheap deal to do one thing in particular, run the point on the power play. So far he has done that, recording seven of his 10 assists on the power play. The thing is, the Flyers have two defencemen being paid a large sum of money that can replace Yandle on the power play, as both have spent time on their team’s No. 1 unit and have contributed on the power play this year as well.

I think Yandle would be very open to the idea of staying in Philadelphia since one of his best friends, Kevin Hayes, is a part of the team. He is a great locker room guy, but I think the Flyers may want to move on from him if his on-ice value is limited to just the power play. Last season wasn’t ideal statistically, and part of the reason he was bought out by the Florida Panthers.

The team may elect to test out some of their younger talent on the back-end as well since there is lots of room to do so with only three defencemen signed past this season. They have lots of room to maneuver, but Yandle is a player that would be attractive to a team that has room for a specific role and are in the position to win. He plays less than 16 minutes a night and is a bad minus, but has increased his hitting a bit this season in an attempt to adjust to a different role.

Nate Thompson

Nate Thompson seems like the most obvious choice to not return to the Flyers next season. He is 37 years old and a career depth forward who has only topped the 20-point plateau once in his 15-year career. He may even elect to retire after this season if his health is a concern and no teams give him a chance next season.

The league is getting younger, and the age and skill set of Thompson doesn’t favour him in playing in the NHL much longer. As I stated earlier, the Flyers have many prospects waiting to get their opportunity, and if not re-signing Thompson allows for one of them to get a shot, the Flyers would be smart to go that route.

They have been a team that has some very good depth, so allowing the prospects to turn into full-time NHLers and contribute the same way as players in the past have done should do wonders for the future success in Philadelphia. New blood would be welcomed on this team, but some players have to move on to make that happen.

Rob Couch is a THW freelance writer covering mainly the Edmonton Oilers and Philadelphia Flyers. He covers everything you need to know about fantasy hockey. He will also keep you up to date with the NHL Stat Corner and trade talks from around the NHL.

You can find more of his work on Kraken Chronicle as well as The Faceoff Hockey Network. Or check out some interesting articles here.

Follow Rob on Twitter or his hockey account Stat Hockey for the latest articles, stats, and more.

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‘Moon Knight’ Took Marvel in a Different Orbit, but It Didn’t Rise to the Occasion

Jacob Scott

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Before anyone writes that off as an anomaly, “Eternals” tackled a similar introduction of a dense mythology on the bigger screen, with equally mixed results. It’s a reminder that while film-goers have had more than a decade to get to know characters like Iron Man, Captain America and Thor, introducing some of these lesser-known heroes can pose a more formidable challenge beyond catering to the most ardent fans.
For Marvel, there are warning signs in that, since “Moon Knight” will be followed by several series based on second-tier characters, although the next two on the horizon, “Ms. Marvel” (which is due in June) and “She-Hulk,” at least have the benefit of sharing franchises and name recognition with existing Avengers.
Ultimately, “Moon Knight’s” murky storytelling appeared to squander its principal assets, which included the cool look of the character — a costume that was too seldom used — and the presence of Isaac, who possesses additional genre credentials via the “Star Wars” sequels.

Taking its time in peeling back the layers of the character’s complicated backstory, “Moon Knight” took a weird plunge into the Egyptian mythology behind it, in ways that became increasingly confounding and surreal.

By the time the protagonist’s two halves, Steven Grant and Marc Spector, wound up in a psychiatric hospital talking to an anthropomorphic hippo in the penultimate chapter, the question wasn’t so much being able to keep up with the story as whether bothering to do so was worth the effort.

The sixth and final episode brought the plot to a messy close, seeking to stop the goddess Ammit from proceeding to “purify the souls of Cairo, and then the world.” In the customary credit sequence, the producers capped that off by introducing a third personality, Jake Lockley, also rooted in the comics. While that seemingly spelled the end for the show’s villain (Ethan Hawke), the finish — giving the god Khonshu the protégé he sought — paved the way for further adventures should Marvel so choose.

That last twist might be cause for celebration in narrower confines of the Marvel fan universe, but “Moon Knight” too often felt like it was one long Easter-egg sequence, conspicuously preaching to that choir.

Granted, Marvel has made clear that Disney+ offers the chance to explore different kinds of stories, but “Moon Knight” feels at best like a quirky showcase for Isaac and at worst a failed experiment in terms of execution and tone.

That doesn’t mean this “Moon” won’t somehow rise again, if the closely held streaming data justifies it. But the promise that surrounded this property has faded, providing further evidence that even Marvel isn’t immune from setbacks as it moves into its next phase.

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Start-up Pony.ai says it’s the first self-driving company to get a taxi license in China

Jacob Scott

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Autonomous driving start-up Pony.ai can collect fares for robotaxi rides in parts of two major Chinese cities as of Sunday.

Pony.ai handout

BEIJING — Self-driving start-up Pony.ai announced Sunday it received a taxi license, the first of its kind in China.

The license allows Pony.ai to operate 100 self-driving cars as traditional taxis in the Nansha district of the southern city of Guangzhou, the company said.

The Chinese start-up, which is backed by Toyota, received approval from Beijing city late last year to charge fees to operate a commercial robotaxi business in a suburban district of the city. It is not the same as a taxi licence.

Baidu’s Apollo Go also received approval in the same Beijing district last year.

Pony.ai was valued at $8.5 billion in early March. The company said its Nansha taxi license required 24 months of autonomous driving testing in China and/or other countries, and no involvement in any active liability traffic accidents, among other factors.

The start-up said it plans to launch commercial robotaxi businesses in two other large Chinese cities next year. The company is already testing self-driving cars in those cities and in California. 

Robotaxis in China currently have a human driver present for safety.

— CNBC’s Arjun Kharpal contributed to this report.

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How to watch Timberwolves vs. Grizzlies: TV channel, NBA live stream info, start time

Jacob Scott

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Who’s Playing

Memphis @ Minnesota

Current Records: Memphis 2-1; Minnesota 1-2

What to Know

The Memphis Grizzlies’ road trip will continue as they head to Target Center at 10 p.m. ET this past Saturday to face off against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Memphis will be strutting in after a win while Minnesota will be stumbling in from a loss.

The Grizzlies are hoping for another victory. They beat the Timberwolves 104-95 this past Thursday. The victory came about thanks to a strong surge after the first quarter to overcome a 39-21 deficit. Memphis’ success was spearheaded by the efforts of power forward Brandon Clarke, who had 20 points in addition to eight rebounds, and shooting guard Desmond Bane, who shot 7-for-15 from beyond the arc and finished with 26 points and six boards.

Barring any buzzer beaters, Memphis is expected to win a tight contest. They might be worth taking a chance on against the spread as they are currently on a two-game streak of ATS wins.

Memphis’ win brought them up to 2-1 while the Timberwolves’ defeat pulled them down to a reciprocal 1-2. A couple offensive stats to keep in the back of your head while watching: The Grizzlies come into the game boasting the second most points per game in the league at 115.6. But Minnesota is even better: they rank first in the league when it comes to points per game, with 115.9 on average. Tune in for what’s sure to be a high-scoring contest.

How To Watch

When: Saturday at 10 p.m. ET Where: Target Center — Minneapolis, Minnesota TV: ESPN Online streaming: fuboTV (Try for free. Regional restrictions may apply.) Follow: CBS Sports App Ticket Cost: $76.96

Odds

The Grizzlies are a slight 2.5-point favorite against the Timberwolves, according to the latest NBA odds.

The oddsmakers had a good feel for the line for this one, as the game opened with the Grizzlies as a 3-point favorite.

Over/Under: -110

See NBA picks for every single game, including this one, from SportsLine’s advanced computer model. Get picks now.

Series History

Memphis have won 19 out of their last 28 games against Minnesota.

Apr 21, 2022 – Memphis 104 vs. Minnesota 95 Apr 19, 2022 – Memphis 124 vs. Minnesota 96 Apr 16, 2022 – Minnesota 130 vs. Memphis 117 Feb 24, 2022 – Minnesota 119 vs. Memphis 114 Jan 13, 2022 – Memphis 116 vs. Minnesota 108 Nov 20, 2021 – Minnesota 138 vs. Memphis 95 Nov 08, 2021 – Memphis 125 vs. Minnesota 118 May 05, 2021 – Memphis 139 vs. Minnesota 135 Apr 02, 2021 – Memphis 120 vs. Minnesota 108 Jan 13, 2021 – Memphis 118 vs. Minnesota 107 Jan 07, 2020 – Memphis 119 vs. Minnesota 112 Dec 01, 2019 – Memphis 115 vs. Minnesota 107 Nov 06, 2019 – Memphis 137 vs. Minnesota 121 Mar 23, 2019 – Minnesota 112 vs. Memphis 99 Feb 05, 2019 – Memphis 108 vs. Minnesota 106 Jan 30, 2019 – Minnesota 99 vs. Memphis 97 Nov 18, 2018 – Memphis 100 vs. Minnesota 87 Apr 09, 2018 – Minnesota 113 vs. Memphis 94 Mar 26, 2018 – Memphis 101 vs. Minnesota 93 Dec 04, 2017 – Memphis 95 vs. Minnesota 92 Feb 04, 2017 – Memphis 107 vs. Minnesota 99 Nov 19, 2016 – Memphis 93 vs. Minnesota 71 Nov 01, 2016 – Minnesota 116 vs. Memphis 80 Oct 26, 2016 – Memphis 102 vs. Minnesota 98 Mar 16, 2016 – Minnesota 114 vs. Memphis 108 Feb 19, 2016 – Memphis 109 vs. Minnesota 104 Jan 23, 2016 – Minnesota 106 vs. Memphis 101 Nov 15, 2015 – Memphis 114 vs. Minnesota 106

Injury Report for Minnesota

No Injury Information

Injury Report for Memphis

Dillon Brooks: Game-Time Decision (Foot) Santi Aldama: Out (Knee) Killian Tillie: Out (Knee)

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