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Kimmo Timonen return likely won't come vs. Nashville; timetable could impact trade talks

Kimmo Timonen is back skating with his teammates, but his return to game action is going to take at least a week. That could get hairy with the rapidly approaching NHL trade deadline.

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Originally, the timeline for Kimmo Timonen's return was about two weeks from the date he was cleared to skate, and that would have lined up perfectly for his return this coming Saturday against the Nashville Predators.

Kimmo would've made his triumphant return to the ice against his old coach, Peter Laviolette, and against the only other team he's played for in his NHL career.

But that doesn't look like it's going to happen.

The Inquirer reported a "7-to-10 day" timeline, but either way, if seven days is the best case for Kimmo's return, he wouldn't be ready until the game next Tuesday in Carolina at the earliest. So don't expect Timonen on the ice in either game this weekend vs. Nashville or Washington.

Could this timeline impact the trade deadline?

The elephant in the room with Kimmo's return is a) he'd like another chance at the Stanley Cup before his career ends and b) the trade deadline is March 2. If he isn't ready to return until February 24, or at worst February 28, he'll only have a few games back in the lineup before the deadline to showcase what he still has in the tank.

It's not that teams won't be interested in Timonen regardless -- he's been cleared by doctors and he has a track record of being a solid top-pairing defenseman under his belt, and there's almost no doubt that he'd be able to contribute to a contender down the stretch and into the playoffs as long as he's able to get back into game shape. (We don't see anything stopping him from doing that, either.)

But it does impact the return the Flyers could get for him. That's a big question mark anyway since he's the definition of a rental player at this deadline -- Kimmo has already said this season is it for him no matter what -- but it's even bigger a question given his injury status and that he hasn't skated in a game since last spring. The fewer games Kimmo plays before the deadline, the more questions linger, and the more questions that linger, the less the Flyers will get in a trade.

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