More Flyers players are trickling back into the Philadelphia area as an early-January start to training camp and a mid-January start to the regular season remain the objectives for the NHL and NHLPA.
As discussions continue on the 2020-21 season and we wait for further developments, let's get into three more Flyers thoughts.
1. Any line on Laine?
Jets star Patrik Laine is one of the biggest names — if not the biggest name — on the trade market. Laine stands at No. 2 on TSN's trade bait list, while rumors involving the big 22-year-old goal-scoring winger have floated around all offseason.
The Flyers have had interest in Laine, a source told NBC Sports Philadelphia on Wednesday night. In early October, The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun reported that the Flyers and Jets had trade discussions about Laine but the talks cooled.
It's uncertain when or if talks could rekindle, but don't expect the Flyers' interest to suddenly or completely evaporate. The interest could pick back up during the 2020-21 campaign when there's a greater feel for the season in general, team needs and the value of trade chips, as well as possibly a greater pressure to add.
The Laine trade winds will continue to blow through the season and into next offseason unless Winnipeg and the 2016 second overall pick agree to a long-term extension. Laine, who has seasons of 36, 44, 30 and 28 goals in his four-year career, will be a restricted free agent next offseason, arbitration eligible and up for a nice raise. He already has a $6.75 million cap hit on his current two-year deal and is probably thinking long term for the next.
General manager Chuck Fletcher would have to swing big to land Laine because the Jets' asking price won't be small and then the Flyers' ability to make way for Laine won't be easy. The coronavirus pandemic has created a flat-cap world with a multiyear impact. Meanwhile, Carter Hart and Travis Sanheim will be due new contracts after 2020-21, and Sean Couturier and Claude Giroux are set to be unrestricted free agents following 2021-22.
The Flyers like their organizational outlook heading into this unusual 2020-21 season. There's no doubt, though, that they have what it would take to entice the Jets and the interest has at least been there. Maybe the interest picks up when the games begin and there's a better read of the future landscape.
2. No change on Hoffman
Mike Hoffman remains out there on the free-agent market. The 31-year-old scored 36 goals in 2018-19 and would have scored 30-plus again in 2019-20 had the regular season finished fully.
A source told NBC Sports Philadelphia in late October that the Flyers had not expressed interest in Hoffman. Since then, that has not changed, the source confirmed Wednesday night.
The Flyers would have to shed salary in some way to make room for Hoffman, if they were interested. So far, they have not been, and it doesn't look like that will change.
3. Watch the kids
Flyers prospects Cam York (U.S.), Bobby Brink (U.S.) and Emil Andrae (Sweden) will play in the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship. The NHL Network will broadcast every single game of the tournament. Here's the complete schedule, including exhibition games, which begin on Sunday.
Let's look at one quote on each of the Flyers' prospects:
"I think he’s going to be rock-solid offensively in the NHL, but his prowess will be how reliable he is defensively. Working around him and watching his video on a daily basis, he never got beat."
"Bob always has a burning fire inside of him that maybe doesn’t come across when you’re meeting him off the ice, but when it’s time to get on the ice, he’s a gamer and I’d bet on him all day long."
"He's a good skater and a heads-up player that's a real crafty puck-handler. He has vision. At times you can see him slow down the game in transition and then going forward. He can also be dynamic off the offensive blue line and find offense. I think that's the strength of his game."
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