3 Flyers thoughts over Halloween weekend: Hoffman, prospect talk, more


It's Halloween weekend and the Flyers are not wrapping up the first month of a season.

Instead, in 2020, it's the offseason for the NHL as the spookiness commences.

Have a safe and fun Halloween. Here are three Flyers thoughts for the weekend:

1. How about Hoffman?

Three weeks into free agency and there are still plenty of notable names on the market. Given the precariousness and to-be-determined nature of the 2020-21 season, unrestricted free agents won't jump on just any offer, while teams are not in a rush or frivolously whipping out the pen, paper and dollars, particularly in this flat-cap climate.

One considerable fish out there: Mike Hoffman. In 2019-20 with the Panthers, the winger was on pace for his second straight season of 30 or more goals. He finished with 29 markers through 69 games after putting up a career-high 36 with Florida in 2018-19. Over the last two seasons, he has 28 power play goals, only three fewer than Alex Ovechkin.

The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun reported Thursday that a "dozen or so" teams have continued to call about Hoffman but "the offers so far have been bargain city."

A source told NBC Sports Philadelphia on Friday night that the Flyers have not expressed interest in Hoffman.

Should they be interested? The Flyers did struggle to score goals over the first and second rounds of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs and the power play went 4 for 52 in the tournament. They have not added a forward in free agency, lost some and have a little under $5 million in cap space. Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher likes his team's prospects on the wing and has to re-sign restricted free agent defenseman Philippe Myers.


Another aspect is the Flyers have a pure goal-scorer type like Hoffman in James van Riemsdyk. Next season, they will look for more production out of van Riemsdyk, who is 31 years old and also has a career high of 36 goals that he scored in 2017-18.

Hoffman is coming off a four-year deal that had an average annual value of $5,187,500. If he remains out there and the asking price and term consequently shrink as the 2020-21 season nears, it couldn't hurt for the Flyers to peek in at Hoffman. For the Flyers, it would probably have to be a one-year deal. Maybe there could be some compromise from both sides between bargain city and cap crusher.

Don't bet on it.

But one year of Hoffman should be interesting to a contending team looking to immediately take the next step.

2. Millman can deliver

Flyers prospect Mason Millman has been invited to Team Canada's selection camp for the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship.

The 2019 fourth-round pick might be the biggest sleeper in the Flyers' system. The 19-year-old defenseman is a brilliant skater with offensive upside who has played on a really good Saginaw Spirit team in the OHL.

The lanky Millman had 44 points (13 goals, 31 assists) and a plus-31 rating in 58 games last season. He is poised for much more and a kid to keep tabs on in 2020-21.

"I really believe he can be one of the best defensemen in the OHL, if not the CHL," Saginaw general manager Dave Drinkill said to NBC Sports Philadelphia in April.

3. Something to remember

While the Flyers scored 2.08 goals per game in 13 contests over the first and second rounds of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs, we shouldn't be quick to forget that they finished seventh in the NHL with 3.29 goals per game during the regular season.

And that was without winger Oskar Lindblom for the final 39 games as he battled a fight with Ewing's sarcoma.

Lindblom, who in July completed his radiation treatments and was deemed without evidence of cancer, is only 24 years old and was projected to finish with 30 goals last season before his diagnosis.

The Flyers believe in his future and ability to return to form. He was able to appear in Games 6 and 7 of the second-round series loss to the Islanders. If you add a healthy Lindblom to the 2020-21 mix, that's a major goal-scoring component for a team that still found ways to score down the regular-season stretch.

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