28-Year-Old Left Wing – Philadelphia Flyers
Michael Raffl Contract Information:
Signed a three-year extension, worth $2.35 million annually, in February of 2016.
Raffl (lower body) was on the ice for Friday's training camp session, Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
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Michael Raffl: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Raffl is a good player for a good team to have – a gritty winger who can get under the opposition’s skin with both his hits and his offense. The Austrian set a new career high with 31 points last season, yet didn’t come close to duplicating the prior year’s 21 goals (and only added three points) despite playing in 15 more games. In truth, he’s a third-line talent who’s miscast in his projected role as part of the Flyers’ top six; the 27-year-old may get that job to start out, but it would be no surprise to see him fall in the pecking order sooner rather than later.
Despite missing 15 games due to injury, Raffl still had a very successful season, finishing fourth on the Flyers with 21 goals. The 26-year-old slotted in perfectly on the top line with Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek, leading all Flyers forwards with a plus-6 rating. While he was used only sparingly on the power play, Raffl made the most of his 14:12 total average ice time, showcasing his ability to finish at the net and dish out hits (172). Raffl did only have seven assists last season and probably won't control the puck enough when he's on the ice with the team's two stars to show much further upside as a point provider, but if he can stick on the top line and find a spot on the Flyers’ second power-play unit, another 20-goal season could easily be in the offing for the Austrian winger.
Raffl had a solid rookie campaign with the Flyers last year, notching nine goals and 13 assists in 68 games. His value for this coming season is going to largely depend on his linemates. He showed brilliance last year when slotted on the top line with Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek, and was equally impressive on the Brayden Schenn-Wayne Simmonds line. With the departure of Scott Hartnell and Tye McGinn in the off-season, he may be able to snag that coveted top-line spot out of camp. But he could also slot as far down as the third line. Given where most draft projections put him, Raffl might very well be the best late-round pick this year. Go ahead and roll the dice on him.
Raffl is crossing over to North America after playing several seasons in Sweden's second league. He raised some eyebrows during the World Championships last year, scoring two goals in seven games. Prior to that, he posted 46 points in 49 games with his club team. He'll likely spend some time in the AHL to hone his skills. If he continues to impress, a late season call-up isn't out of the question.