The Flyers loaned Michael Raffl to Villacher SV, a team in the top professional league in Austria. The move allows Raffl to play in his homeland during the coronavirus pandemic stoppage, but is an ominous sign for the NHL’s goal of starting its season on Jan. 1.
Raffl, a versatile forward who has played seven seasons for the Flyers, turns 32 on Tuesday. He had eight goals in 58 regular-season games but notched four in nine postseason games despite dealing with an ankle injury that caused him to miss seven other contests.
Raffl grew up playing in the Villacher system and was a member of Austria’s 2014 Olympic team. His father, Peter, is a legendary player and coach.
That Raffl is healthy enough to get back on the ice in a professional league is encouraging. However, it casts doubt on when the NHL can start training camps for its 2020-21 season as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to blaze around the world.