The NHL’s conference finals are in full swing, which means the Flyers are currently in a period of down time leading to what is expected to be a busy offseason. But that doesn’t mean it’s not busy for some people.
There is some news about a potential date on the Flyers 2023-24 season schedule, plus prospects that are making noise in other action away from the Stanley Cup Playoffs. That and more in this edition of Flyers Notes.
The NHL will be back outdoors in 2024. That is no surprise, as the league has experienced great success in the playing of outdoor games and expanded to new markets. This past season, the Stadium Series was held in Carolina. The 2024 Winter Classic will be in Seattle between the Kraken and Vegas Golden Knights, the two newest teams in the NHL.
As for the 2024 Stadium Series, there is a bit of a unique approach to this, and it looks like the Flyers will be involved. MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ, is expected to be the site of two outdoor games on back-to-back nights, according to reports from David Pagnotta of the Fourth Period and Kevin Weekes of ESPN. In one game, the Flyers would take on the New Jersey Devils. In the other, the New York Rangers and New York Islanders would face off.
If this holds true, it would be the Flyers sixth appearance in an outdoor game. Their first appearance was in the 2010 Winter Classic, facing the Bruins at Fenway Park. They hosted the 2012 Winter Classic at Citizens Bank Park against the Rangers. They split Stadium Series hosting duties with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2017 at Heinz Field and 2019 at Lincoln Financial Field. Finally, in 2021, they played in the Lake Tahoe series.
The Flyers won’t have Cutter Gauthier on their roster to start next season. The 2022 first-round pick has already decided to go back to Boston College for his sophomore season. However, he’s already showing that he can handle the advanced competition that includes several NHL players.
Gauthier is on the Team USA roster at World Championships. USA claimed group victory and went undefeated in group play with six wins in regulation and one in overtime over seven games. In those seven games, Gauthier has six goals and two assists for eight points. The eight points ranks third on Team USA and eighth among all players in the tournament. His six goals are second in the tournament to Czechia’s Dominik Kubalik with eight.
The Flyers also have Ronnie Attard as part of Team USA’s roster. Attard has one goal in four games played in the tournament. Scott Laughton is playing for Team Canada in the tournament and has one goal and three points in six games.
Team USA now heads into Thursday’s quarterfinal match against Czechia at 9:20 a.m.
The Memorial Cup is also set and the Flyers have some interesting connections there. Only two prospects within the system are playing in the Memorial Cup, both as teammates, but the other teams in the Memorial Cup do feature some Flyers connections.
The two prospects are J.R. Avon and Brian Zanetti, both playing for the Peterborough Petes. Avon, an undrafted free agent who signed with the Flyers prior to the 2021-22 season, had 29 goals and 60 points in 59 games in the regular season. He has carried that into the playoffs with nine goals and 15 points in 23 games on the way to an OHL championship.
Zanetti, a 2021 fourth-round pick, had five goals and 12 points in 47 games in the regular season, but has one goal and seven points in 23 playoff games.
In addition to the two players, some other names of Flyers history are involved in the Memorial Cup this year. The Kamloops Blazers are hosting the Memorial Cup. Mark Recchi, a Kamloops native, is part of the ownership group.
The QMJHL representative in the tournament is the Quebec Remparts. Hockey Hall-of-Famer Patrick Roy is the general manager and head coach of the team, but also behind the bench is a former Flyer. Simon Gagne is an advisor to the general manager and assistant coach of the team.
The WHL representative is the Seattle Thunderbirds. Former Flyers GM Russ Farwell was previously the owner of the team until a sale in 2017. He has remained with the team as the Vice President of Hockey Operations.
The Memorial Cup gets underway on Friday, May 26.