When and where can we expect the Flyers to play next season?
In a normal season, we would be well into the second month of games. This time last year, the Flyers were 20 games in and looking at a 10-6-4 record. They had lost three straight and were a few days away from their fourth straight loss.
Flash forward a year and the Flyers haven’t played a game since September 5th. And this wasn’t even this season. That was last year’s second round playoff series. So it has already been two months since their last game. And it’s going to be almost two more until they play again.
The NHL is still holding pat at a January 1st start for the upcoming season. Some thought it would be fun to start the season off with the Winter Classic. However, the annual event between the St. Louis Blues and Minnesota Wild was cancelled weeks ago.
With the likelihood of no fans, holding a big spectacle wouldn’t make much sense if the league could not fill the stands. While the event itself provides an exciting atmosphere for players, it wouldn’t be the same without fans.
So what does that mean in terms of any games being played? It seems as if the league is starting to understand they may not be able to fit in 82 games in such a short amount of time. And the hope is to kick off the following season on time.
There has been a growing belief that the NHL could go to a baseball-style setup with their schedule. That would include a 60-game season. Games would be played in the style of back-to-backs in the same arena. And it would follow divisional only matchups.
So for the Flyers, they would only be playing games against the Capitals, Penguins, Hurricanes, Islanders, Blue Jackets, Rangers, and Devils. They finished last season second among those teams, though they likely end up first if the season had been played all the way.
With this type of schedule, the playoffs would begin around mid-May and could finish sometime in early-July. That wouldn’t put the league too far off of a regular September start.
Another important piece of the puzzle has been salaries. The NHL is reportedly asking the players to defer 13 more percent of their salaries for next season. This would drop the players gross pay to around 62%. This will be the most important part of the return to play.
Flyers’ Claude Giroux is one of the members of the Return to Play committee. He is joining 15 other members across the league as they try to figure out the best and safe way to start the next season.