Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher, in a wide-ranging conference call with reporters Monday, gave an update on his injured players, sounded hopeful the NHL season would resume, and said two recently signed collegiate wingers would battle for roster spots during the 2020-21 training camp.

This season was suspended March 12 because of the coronavirus outbreak.

No one associated with the organization has been infected by the virus, Fletcher said, adding that “everyone is doing the best they can to self-isolate and be home with their families."

Before he answered questions, Fletcher, on behalf of the organization, thanked “all the people working on the front lines in this pandemic — the doctors, nurses, hospital workers, our first responders, and everyone working hard to keep all our essential services operating for the benefit of all of us.”

Fletcher said he wanted to mention that before talking about “a small piece of the world which I work in, which is ice hockey.”

Among the hockey-related developments, Fletcher said:

  • Most players have returned to their offseason homes and are working out there, “and they’re all hopeful that at some point and time we’ll be able to get to a better place in this world and we’ll be able to play hockey.”
  • Fletcher said left winger Oskar Lindblom, who is battling a rare bone cancer, has remained in the area for treatments and was “doing well.”
Oskar Lindblom (left), who is undergoing cancer treatments, with assistant coach Ian Laperriere at the Flyers' team photo session March 9.
ZACK HILL / Flyers
Oskar Lindblom (left), who is undergoing cancer treatments, with assistant coach Ian Laperriere at the Flyers' team photo session March 9.
  • Center Nolan Patrick, who has missed the season because of a migraine disorder, has been “trending in the right direction,” but he wasn’t sure if he could return if the season resumed.
  • Brent Flahr, the assistant general manager who heads the Flyers’ scouting department, and his staff are watching lots of video and getting their draft list together. The June 26-27 draft has been postponed, and a new date has not been determined.
  • Assistant GM Barry Hanrahan has been working on cap-related issues and contracts. The Flyers have not had any contract discussions with players who will become restricted or unrestricted free agents in the summer. Fletcher said that the Flyers were “building files” for summer negotiations, and that the league has not yet decided if the July 1 free-agency period will be moved.
  • Wingers Wade Allison and Tanner Laczynski, each of whom signed entry-level contracts last week, will compete for jobs with the Flyers at training camp. “These are players who will be 23 years old next season and have both put in a lot of time on the collegiate level,” Fletcher said. “They both have size and strength ... I expect they’ll challenge for spots right away. Whether they can make it, time will tell. They’re players who are very close to being able to step in and play.”
Wade Allison shooting during the Flyers' development camp in Voorhees last June.
TIM TAI / Staff Photographer
Wade Allison shooting during the Flyers' development camp in Voorhees last June.
  • Echoing what Flahr said last week, Fletcher said defenseman Wyatt Kalynuk was undecided about whether to return to the University of Wisconsin. He said highly regarded prospects Bobby Brink (Denver), Cam York (Michigan), and Noah Cates (Minnesota-Duluth) will return to their respective colleges and that was “the best route for all three of those kids.”
  • Fletcher said he checks in once a week with coach Alain Vigneault, who apparently has returned to his home in Florida. “He had been working on his golf swing for a while,” Fletcher said. “Right now, he’s going through notes and trying to stay safe.”
  • If the season resumes, Fletcher said there’s no playoff format that he prefers. He said he was fine with whatever format the league decides to use. “There’s a lot of different ideas out there, a lot of creative solutions,” he said.
  • Fletcher said it was important to crown a Stanley Cup champion this year. “If we’re able to come back and play, that means the world’s in a much better spot than it is right now,” he said. “I think that would be a tremendous sign. Obviously a lot of work was put in and we got a majority of the regular season [played], and I think we’re all competitors and we all want to play. Again, if we’re playing, that means the situation has changed dramatically and we’re all in much better spots.”
  • Fletcher said injured players James van Riemsdyk, Phil Myers, and Nate Thompson are all recovering well. If the season resumed in May, all would be back.
  • Asked if the lost revenue from this season would affect next season’s salary cap, Fletcher said: “I think our industry is no different from any other industry. There’s going to be challenges for everybody as we move forward here. There will be a host of issues that the league and the union will have to sit down and come to conclusions on. Until we have more concrete answers, it’s just hard to speculate on the types of things we need to be worried about.”
  • After a mediocre start, the Flyers (41-21-7) were the league’s hottest team when the season was suspended, winning nine of their last 10. They are 19-6-1 since Jan. 8, tied with Boston for the most points in the NHL in that span. “I think it took us time to get everybody on the same page and playing our best hockey,” said Fletcher, mindful the Flyers had to get accustomed to a new head coach, two new assistants, and newcomers like Kevin Hayes, Matt Niskanen, and Justin Braun, among others. “I believe that was predictable when you’ve made the number of changes we made the last offseason. I think as the season progressed and we all got on the same page from a systems standpoint, and our culture grew and the expectations increased, we’ve become a pretty good hockey team. I like the buy-in. Everyone is accepting of their role. ... whether it’s Claude Giroux or Joel Farabee.”