We are now past 3:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, June 17, which means that every non-Vegas team in the NHL is under a roster/transaction freeze from now until Thursday, June 22 at 8:00 a.m.
What does the roster freeze entail? In short, from Travis’ timeline of offseason/expansion-related events earlier this week:
All 30 existing rosters will freeze beginning at this time. With the exception of the 31st team, the Golden Knights, teams will not be allowed to make trades, place players on waivers, or sign players to contracts during this period.
Essentially, the way the Flyers’ roster and cap picture looks right now is the way it’s going to look until Wednesday, when the expansion draft happens and they find themselves one player lighter. The one exception is if they look to make a trade with the Golden Knights.
For the Flyers, this explains the timing of last night’s trade with Arizona, who received current Flyers forward Nick Cousins and goalie prospect Merrick Madsen in exchange for a fifth-round draft pick and college forward Brendan Warren. The move cut one name from the list of potential forwards for Vegas to take in Wednesday’s draft, helping the team clear up its forward ranks just a bit.
The biggest remaining question with the Flyers’ roster as it looks pre-expansion may be the fate of one Jordan Weal, who remains unsigned with the Flyers. Ron Hextall has said that he sees the deadline to negotiate with Weal as July 1, as opposed to the expansion draft, which could mean that the team has some sort of assurance that Weal isn’t going to Vegas in the next few days. George McPhee and his team will have the chance to negotiate with Weal if they so choose, but given the fact that the sides seemed pretty far along on negotiations as recently as this past week, the most likely outcome at this point seems like Weal will be back on a new contract some time between next Thursday and July 1, while Vegas will pluck another player off of Hextall’s roster.
The rest of the league was pretty quiet this morning, even though rumors are flying around about deals that teams are looking to make with Vegas to steer them towards taking/not taking a certain player on their roster. The only news that seems like it could maybe affect the Flyers’ offseason came from Calgary, which went and traded for Coyotes goalie Mike Smith. For now, that’s one less team that will be looking for a goalie come free agency time, though Arizona could now find itself on that list instead.
In any case, now we shall wait for the Flyers’ (and the rest of the NHL’s) expansion protection list, which will be released on Sunday morning at 10 a.m. ET.