During our first day knowing that there will for sure be a 2020-21 NHL season, there is nothing better to do than hypothesize what the Philadelphia Flyers’ roster will look like when the puck drops on January 13.
During his first media availability since the NHL’s official announcement, head coach Alain Vigneault was able to provide us a crucial update on the health status of two forwards that can make the difference in the new year.
Says Nolan Patrick has been in Philly, he's been skating, he's feeling well. Physicals are on January 3rd and that will help solidify where he stands.— Charlie O'Connor (@charlieo_conn) December 21, 2020
Firstly, Oscar Lindblom is returning to action after his massive announcement that he recently became completely cancer-free. The 24-year-old winger was able to make a brief return to action within the playoff bubble this summer in Toronto, appearing in the final two games against the New York Islanders which served as the final two games of their postseason.
Lindblom’s monumental achievement was able to eventually become a hockey feel-good story, so his long-awaited return to regular season action will surely put a smile on everyone’s face.
One other return that has been much anticipated since his unfortunate diagnosis, has been center Nolan Patrick. Ever since the September 2019 announcement that the young forward has been diagnosed with a migraine disorder, fans have been patiently waiting to see him back on the ice. But unlike a more straight forward concept of healing a broken bone or muscle pull, a chronic problem like the one that ails the former second-overall pick is much more complex and an increasingly sensitive topic.
We don’t want to put immense pressure on the 22-year-old to hit the ice again, but rather let him take his time and approach it with a “whenever he’s ready” feeling.
Well, according to Vigneault, Patrick has been skating and feeling much better back in Philadelphia. With the opening of training camp on Jan. 3, comes the physical assessments and we will await his complete status then. Even if he hasn’t played a professional game of hockey for almost 21 months, Patrick was playing in some friendly hometown scrimmages during the off-season, so at least we can be somewhat optimistic.
If both of these forwards are able to come back and make significant contributions, the Flyers will take a giant step forward into serious Stanley Cup contention, even if the new division sucks and might cause more problems than usual.