Flyers

Close? Not close? Analyzing the latest report on Flyers' contract negotiations with Ivan Provorov, Travis Konecny

Close? Not close? Analyzing the latest report on Flyers' contract negotiations with Ivan Provorov, Travis Konecny

Contract negotiations can often be like a roller coaster with sudden dips and turns.

Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher has worked in hockey front offices since 1993 and also has experience in player representation. 

"I've been through so many of these," Fletcher said Tuesday. "I've been in situations where you seem like you're a long way away and it comes together very quickly and then there are other times it seems like you're right there and you can't get to the finish line."

How close are the Flyers to the finish line with restricted free agents Ivan Provorov and Travis Konecny?

According to a report Thursday by TSN's Bob McKenzie, things are going well with Provorov and maybe not-so well with Konecny.

The first part of that development is not too surprising considering Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski signed on Monday, which was expected to expedite Flyers' negotiations with Provorov's camp. After all, training camp begins Friday and the 22-year-old is a foundation piece.

With Konecny, it is a bit surprising that the two sides don't appear to be close. He's important, too, obviously. Many expected Konecny to sign first among the two given his contract doesn't seem to have as much gray area or debate compared to Provorov's potential deal.

Provorov has played the minutes and held the responsibilities of a No. 1 defenseman but is coming off a down year and was among a pretty notable market of RFA blueliners this offseason (see story).

Konecny's role has fluctuated with the Flyers within a crowded, top-heavy group of forwards. He delivered back-to-back 24-goal seasons over the past two years and his responsibilities will only grow moving forward — from minutes to the power play, etc. A bridge deal feels like a great bet for Konecny (see story).

However, the two sides could be at a difference over the factors of production since Konecny entered the league in 2016-17 as a 19-year-old rookie.

But as Fletcher said, these situations can change suddenly. Stay tuned.

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Flyers sign prospect Linus Hogberg to entry-level contract

Flyers sign prospect Linus Hogberg to entry-level contract

One down, a few more to go?

The Flyers on Saturday signed prospect Linus Hogberg to an entry-level contract. The rights to Hogberg would have expired Monday if the Flyers didn't ink the 2016 fifth-round pick.

During 2019-20, Hogberg, a 21-year-old Swedish defenseman, had 14 points (five goals, nine assists) through 50 games with the Vaxjo Lakers playing against men in the SHL. The 6-foot-1, 176-pounder is regarded as a strong skater and intelligent passer.

Hogberg will start the 2020-21 season with AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley. The Phantoms are gaining on the blue line with prospects Egor Zamula and Wyatte Wylie turning pro, as well.

(Joe Siville/Philadelphia Flyers)

Lehigh Valley could be gaining more with Wyatt Kalynuk and David Bernhardt, who remain unsigned. Bernhardt, another Swedish defenseman, needs to be signed by Monday or his rights will expire. It's uncertain if the Flyers will ink the 2016 seventh-round pick.

It appears Kalynuk has decided to forgo his senior season at Wisconsin as he plans to turn pro in 2020-21.

Kalynuk is an offensive-minded defenseman who has developed a ton with the Badgers. His rights were set to expire next summer. Now that he is leaving Wisconsin, it would be surprising if he's not signed soon by the Flyers.

"Philly has had lots of people here and been very instrumental in his growth as a player," Wisconsin head coach Tony Granato said. "I think when they drafted him, they recognized out of the gate that this guy could be a big part of their organization moving forward. They’ve been hands on, they’ve been here a lot, they’ve done it respectfully in a way that they’ve helped him a ton in preparing to get ready for the next step.”

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2020 NHL playoffs: Without fans, will Stanley Cup Playoff games lose authenticity?

2020 NHL playoffs: Without fans, will Stanley Cup Playoff games lose authenticity?

Hockey has been on the mind all week and even the simple discussion of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs has excited fans for the return of their favorite sport — even if things are going to look different this time around. 

While the majority of new rules and procedures were laid out Tuesday thanks to commissioner Gary Bettman, there is still a lot of unknown territory. This format has never been done before, but having a plan in place is the first step to turning concepts into something tangible. 

One of the biggest changes won’t be the additional eight teams, the hub city locations or the fact the NHL has the potential to run into the late summer months, but rather the element — or lack thereof — of fan attendance. 

The safety of fans and players is without a doubt the biggest priority and as we adapt to the “new norm” for the foreseeable future, this is just one of the many things that will have to be endured. 

On the surface, it stinks. Surprisingly enough, you’re allowed to feel this way while also being excited for the hopeful return of the league and games. The Stanley Cup Playoffs are some of the most thrilling weeks in all of sports and a large portion of that is due to the atmosphere created by the fans rallying behind their favorite teams.

So without them in attendance, will games lose their authenticity and lower the overall level of interest? 

Absolutely not. 

Fans have been craving the moment they would have live sports to look forward to and even if that means they can’t physically be in the stands, it doesn’t take away the level of devotion they have.

Of course it will be different — there’s no denying that, but someone rightfully needs to be awarded the Stanley Cup for 2019-20. There are a handful of options to help fill the void, such as playing fan reaction videos on the arena vision screens during thrilling moments of a game. Hearing the “crowd” through the screen would certainly add a level of normalcy, though it wouldn’t fully replicate the atmosphere. 

There are new moments that fans could look forward to in regard to this as well — the sights and sounds that are often coated within cheers or boos. A crisp stop on skates, receiving a puck, solid check along the boards, chirps from one team to another and the celebrations following a goal. 

Also, if things are too quiet, there is a chance to get a look into life on the bench with the players. Hearing teammates interact with one another is always enjoyable when they are mic’d up for games, so imagine having that for a full 60 minutes? It’d be new for everyone, but what a fun concept it would be. 

This is a prime opportunity to view things glass half full, rather than finding negative aspects to this plan. There are still many moving parts before playoffs become a reality once again, but if things are truly done in a safe manner — I say make the most of the situation at hand and drop that puck. 

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