It's been a little more than eight weeks since the Flyers season came to an end, starting the long journey of the offseason.
The time that passes during the Stanley Cup Playoffs can typically be boring. There are over two months until the NHL Draft for teams that miss the playoffs. Free agency feels even farther away in mid-April. But with the calendar turning to June on Thursday, things will start picking up in a very busy month for the Flyers.
The Flyers got an early start to things on Tuesday by signing Oskar Lindblom to an entry-level contract. Typically, an entry-level deal is more or less a formality for new draft picks. But in Lindblom's case, there is the potential to make the NHL roster in October, so the deal holds greater significance.
The headlining event of June will be the NHL Draft on June 23 and 24. The opening night of the draft didn't figure to hold a wealth of significance in mid-April, when the Flyers finished with a record that projected them to have the 13th overall pick in a draft that didn't feature the level of talent as the previous two years.
And then came the surprise of the offseason. The Flyers had lottery success and had the second overall pick placed in their lap.
The decision between Nolan Patrick and Nico Hischier is one that has been analyzed tremendously already and will be even more in the weeks to come -- including here as we start to profile the pair and a few other first-rounders -- but given the type of player the Flyers will get, there will be no bigger acquisition this offseason.
June also brings a unique event, the Expansion Draft. Ultimately, the Flyers need to finalize their protection list, which will be released on June 18. The Vegas Golden Knights will then have 72 hours to finalize their roster, which will be unveiled on June 21. The Flyers will lose one player to Vegas in the Expansion Draft.
In addition to the NHL Draft and Expansion Draft, the Flyers will have the month of June to work out deals for pending unrestricted free agents. The list is relatively small, with only the fates of Jordan Weal, Chris VandeVelde and Steve Mason unknown. The Flyers also have five restricted free agents to sign to new deals. Roman Lyubimov is working out a deal to return to the KHL, so that leaves four players to sign: Shayne Gostisbehere, Mike Vecchione, Nick Cousins and Anthony Stolarz.
In his comments regarding the signing of Lindblom, GM Ron Hextall did mention that he has been in contact with the agents for Gostisbehere and Weal, but neither is close to signing at the moment.
Lastly, June will bring the announcement of the regular-season schedule for the 2017-18 season, expected as part of Draft weekend. Throw in the NHL Awards, taking place on the same night that Vegas will unveil their roster (June 21) and the unveiling of the new jerseys designed by Adidas and the month of June is going to be action-packed -- not to mention that there will be at least two more games for the NHL in June in the Stanley Cup Final.
Once those games are over, the Flyers offseason will only get busier. And given all of the events, it is a month that is crucial to the team as they start preparations for next season.