Flyers

Will Flyers re-sign Justin Braun, Derek Grant when NHL free agency rolls around?

Will Flyers re-sign Justin Braun, Derek Grant when NHL free agency rolls around?

July 1 came and went rather quietly in the hockey world. Annually, the day is filled with players signing new contracts and joining new teams as the free agency period officially opens.

This year, that was obviously not the case. As the NHL and NHLPA continue to work toward a resumption and eventual conclusion of the 2019-20 season, the entry draft and free agency must wait.

According to a report by TSN's Bob McKenzie, both sides are looking at Nov. 1 being the new July 1.

The offseason will be different and challenging considering the times. The salary cap floor, which typically climbs each year, is expected to remain flat at $81.5 million. In an excellent article published Wednesday, TSN's Frank Seravalli highlighted the key questions and challenges facing free agency, while outlining his top 50 pending unrestricted free agents.

On Seravalli's list were two current Flyers: Justin Braun at No. 19 and Derek Grant at No. 41. Will the Flyers re-sign them? With the league's return-to-play 24-team tournament still to be held, a lot can change from now until Nov. 1, but let's break down the Flyers' outlook for both of these players.

Braun

The case for Braun is interesting and the chances of the Flyers re-signing the experienced defenseman feel like 50-50. Braun, a stay-at-home blueliner who specializes in killing plays, helped stabilize the Flyers on the back end and improved their goal-prevention efforts (which were a major problem last season).

However, the Flyers will be cognizant of his age. Braun is 33 years old and made $3.8 million this season. At the current stage of his career, what will Braun be eyeing for his next deal? One would think he'd have to look for a cheaper price if he wants more years on his new contract, something that can be attractive to a veteran player eyeing job security.

The Flyers, though, have solid youth and depth at his position, along with a nice stable of blue-line prospects in the system. Understandably, for those reasons the Flyers might be wary of dedicating years to an older defenseman.

If Braun is willing to be pretty flexible in his terms, the Flyers shouldn't be opposed to bringing him back. He has made them better in 2019-20. But if push comes to shove a bit, especially in a tighter offseason, the Flyers may have to say thank you and move forward with their youngsters or another option.

Grant

The initial impression of the Grant trade deadline acquisition was good rental for cheap.

What made Grant such a cost-effective move by general manager Chuck Fletcher? Grant, 29 years old at the time, could help the playoff-hungry Flyers down the stretch with only a $700,000 cap hit and no years left on his contract.

Grant made such a positive impact in his seven-game regular-season audition with the Flyers that they'll absolutely consider re-signing him. The 6-foot-3, 206-pound center also delivered a timely career year of 15 goals and 25 points between his time with the Ducks and Flyers, setting himself up for a nice pay increase.

Grant should be appealing to bring back for the Flyers because he can play down the middle and on the wing; his ability to move around makes him less likely to block a Flyers prospect at a specific position. If Nolan Patrick (migraine disorder) is healthy in 2020-21 and the Flyers are deeper at center, Grant can help on the wing. If Patrick's situation remains uncertain and the Flyers lack depth, Grant can bolster things by playing his natural position.

The 24-team tournament could really factor into the Grant equation. If the 30-year-old has an influential tourney and the Flyers go on a run, he could win over the club. He's a quality bottom-six guy who won't require a hefty contract that severely handcuffs the Flyers next season or down the line.

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Flyers-Canadiens schedule for 2020 NHL playoffs: Dates, game times, broadcast information

Flyers-Canadiens schedule for 2020 NHL playoffs: Dates, game times, broadcast information

After sweeping the round robin to earn the Eastern Conference's No. 1 seed, the Flyers on Wednesday will begin what they hope is a long and prosperous run through the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Wednesday marks Game 1 of the Flyers' best-of-seven first-round series against the 12th-seeded (or the new eighth-seeded) Canadiens, who upset the Penguins in the best-of-five qualifying round.

As the higher seed, the Flyers are the home team for the first two games, as well as Games 5 and 7, if necessary. With no fans, the home-away distinction still holds importance because home teams are awarded the last line change in games, which can be critical to matchups when outcomes are in the balance.

For Game 3 on the national broadcast, NBC Sports Philadephia will still hold Flyers Pregame Live and Postgame Live shows with analysis and interviews. That will be the case for any games on the national broadcast.

Another thing to note is the potential back-to-back scenario with Games 4 and 5. Carter Hart played only once on no days rest during the regular season and it was in relief duty. Canadiens veteran goaltender Carey Price, who turns 33 years old on Sunday, played on no days rest four times, going 0-2-2 with a 3.76 goals-against average and .864 save percentage.

The Flyers went 2-1-0 against Montreal in the regular season, with a 3-2 overtime win Nov. 7, a 4-3 overtime victory Nov. 30 and a 4-1 loss Jan. 16.

Below is the full Flyers-Canadiens first-round schedule:

Game 1 — Wednesday, Aug. 12, 8 p.m. ET, NBCSP
Game 2 — Friday, Aug. 14, 3 p.m. ET, NBCSP
Game 3 — Sunday, Aug. 16, 8 p.m. ET, NBC
Game 4 — Tuesday, Aug. 18, 3 p.m. ET, NBCSP
Game 5 — Wednesday, Aug. 19, TBD, TBD
Game 6 — Friday, Aug. 21, TBD, TBD
Game 7 — Sunday, Aug. 23, TBD, TBD

Below are the schedules for the other seven first-round series

Eastern Conference

Western Conference

Sports Uncovered is on all podcast platforms: click here to subscribe now!

Subscribe and rate Flyers Talk: Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Spotify | Stitcher | Art19 | YouTube

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More Flyers analysis for playoffs

• Cup crazy? East's top-seeded Flyers have great odds

• How sweep it is — Flyers run through round robin, earn East's No. 1 seed

Voracek out, JVR back after interesting scratch and more Flyers changes

Don't expect the Flyers to be mingling with their rivals at Hotel X Toronto

Costly injury comes at interesting time, creates more decisions for Flyers

The Flyers were never on a hot streak — they're just that good

• Can the Flyers go all the way? Our Stanley Cup predictions are here

• Picture collage and signs show love for Flyers as they eye Cup run in Toronto

Couturier's goals in NHL bubble: Stanley Cup and an important baby book item

Flyers announce playoff roster, have fans going crazy over shirts

• All types of Flyers odds (including the Cup) in NHL's 24-team tourney

• Scott 'couldn't be happier' with Flyers, but there's more action to be done

Lindblom has new contract, his comeback is on with Flyers

• Flyers-Canadiens is perfect on paper, but would it be a trap?

• What happened? Voracek says calm down, he's fine ... now you know

• Fans can purchase Flyers playoff shirts with new slogan

• What it was like to go back to work at Flyers practice in different times

5 questions on Flyers' chances in 24-team tournament

Predictions for Flyers' best Game 1 lineup to start 24-team playoff

Who are the Flyers' top 5 reinforcements for 24-team tournament?

• Elliott has sweet new mask for Flyers' playoff run

• Flyers sign a player to extension at position of strength

What to know as NHL, NHLPA finish big step, announce schedule

Flyers have two top 50 pending UFAs; will they re-sign them?

• Everything Flyers fans need to know for NHL's 24-team tournament

• Bettman gives Gritty the hard truth for why he can't be in Toronto bubble

Key dates, protocols announced as Flyers return

NHL goes full on dad mode with these jokes for fans watching at home

NHL goes full on dad mode with these jokes for fans watching at home

NHL playoff games create one of the most wild atmospheres in sports and a big fraction of that is due to the passionate fans that fill the seats. 

We all know that is not the case this time around, since games are being played in bubble cities and only a select amount of players and personnel have been allowed in. Surprisingly enough, not having fans in attendance hasn’t been too strange so far — watching from a television perspective, at least. The way the lower sections have been covered almost give the illusion to being an outdoor game. 

That, with crowd noise being pumped in? That’s just about as good as you can get, but the NHL hasn’t stopped there.

The league is aware of how crazy these circumstances have been and Rogers Arena in the Edmonton bubble is certainly having fun with it all. They’ve taken some of the most stereotypical announcements that tend to be said across the arena during games and found a way to make it absolutely hysterical. 

The fun started out during the Avalanche-Stars round robin game. With just a minute and a half to go in the third period and the Avalanche having a healthy lead, they made sure to say a reminder for all those watching from home. 

Nothing says a classic game like the iconic wave, right? Well, it turns out it was prohibited from this Golden Knights-Blues matchup. Does this mean the entire crowd wave or a simple wave hello? Were teams not allowed to be friendly to one another? Where does the NHL stand on a classic Ric Flair “WOO” during these times? These are the questions that will haunt us at night. 

There is a silver lining with watching games at home. Typically, concession stands close a little over the halfway point — since it allows for a prompt cleanup time. Seriously, who’s going to stand in line for a slice of pizza if the game is on the line with 10 minutes left in the third period? 

Anyways, now fans have the ability to head to concessions whenever they want … and one can bet the wait line is nonexistent. 

And, of course, the league made sure to thank and shout out their uh … fans. 

It’s been an incredibly fun tidbit to look for during games and one can only hope this will continue as the playoffs progress. 

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