Connor Bunnaman, a depth center who definitely shouldn’t be forgotten in the Flyers’ bottom-six competition, signed a two-year, $1.5 million contract on Friday.
The 23-year-old was a restricted free agent this offseason. Bunnaman’s new deal is a two-way contract in year one and a one-way contract in year two, while the average annual value of it is $750,000.
The Flyers have been impressed with Bunnaman’s growth since he was taken in the fourth round of the 2016 draft. He has quietly gotten better and has played 39 games over the last two seasons. Bunnaman provides good size and positional versatility, given he can play the wing if needed.
Bunnaman has competed well in the Flyers’ last two training camps. As a dark horse, he won a role in the club’s 2019-20 season-opening lineup, while Kevin Hayes called him “the most improved player in camp” last season.
In 2020-21, Bunnaman played 18 games and finished with 11:34 minutes a night. He had an assist, a minus-6 rating and won 53.8% of his faceoffs.
Bunnaman gained valuable experience down the stretch of the 2019-20 regular season before the NHL trade deadline, when the Flyers acquired Derek Grant and Nate Thompson. He was a plus-7 in 21 games and then played four games in the playoffs, so the Flyers trust his ability to jump into the lineup and be effective.
Bunnaman will compete among a crowded group vying for roster spots and opportunities in the Flyers’ bottom six this season. He could open the year at AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley and be a depth option throughout the season.