By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor
The NHL offseason is usually hellacious enough. Within two weeks of the Stanley Cup being awarded, teams are gathered to make selections for the entry draft and then go into free agent frenzy a week later.
Of course, teams that don’t make the Stanley Cup Final usually have a bit more of a time advantage.
But this offseason is anything but normal. For one, the Stanley Cup will be awarded likely in the early days of October, right around the usual time for the start of a regular season. At worst, the NHL Draft will likely be held two or three days after a potential Game 7 in the Stanley Cup Final. Two days after the completion of the draft, free agency begins. No rest for the weary.
That said, it will be an interesting offseason for two reasons. One is the flat salary cap. Due to the pandemic, the NHL kept the salary cap frozen at $81.5 million. For teams that were expecting that usual bit of an increase to provide some relief, that is gone and teams will have to get very creative to make some changes to their roster, the Flyers being one of them.
Secondly, all this offseason activity will happen quickly after the 2019-20 season finally ends, but when does the 2020-21 season begin? When do new draft picks and free-agent signing actually get the chance to suit up for their new teams and how will that impact the usual speed of the offseason that is commonly in the early summer months?
Right now, there are no answers to when the next hockey games will be once this season comes complete. So for now, teams have to approach the offseason with that uncertainty in mind while working around a tight budget that has no room for flexibility in the immediate.
With that in mind, here’s a look at some of the things on the Flyers offseason agenda, areas they will look to address, the signings they have to make and some potential trade targets, trade options within the current roster, and free agents that could end up on their radar.