The Flyers are the frontrunners to sign free-agent right winger Linus Sandin, one of the leading scorers in the Swedish Hockey League this season.
“There’s lot of things that still have to happen before we can sign him,” Brent Flahr, the Flyers’ assistant general manager, said on Monday night.
That was before the NHL extended its transfer agreement Tuesday with the Swedish Hockey Federation, clearing the way for the Flyers to sign Sandin.
“I think he wants to come to us,” Flahr said.
Sandin, who turns 24 on May 19, is viewed as a bottom-six forward. He tied for third in the SHL with 19 goals in 51 games this season. The 6-foot-1, 210-pound Sandin has played mostly center and right wing, and he can also play left wing. The Flyers see him as a right winger.
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Flahr has seen Sandin play in person numerous times, and he said the winger has improved each season. Flahr credited scout Joakim Grundberg, who was instrumental in drafting Oskar Lindblom in 2014, for his work in pursuing Sandin and “pushing for him from the beginning."
“He’s put in his time, worked on his skating and gotten stronger,” Flahr said. “As he’s worked his way up the Swedish development system, he’s gotten better and better. He works hard, plays a North American-type game and goes to the net and gets greasy goals and does a lot of the little things you need. He always seems to be around the puck and has some tenacity.”
Sandin isn’t a dynamic skater, but his speed has gotten better over the years.
“We’re not going to compare him to Simon Gagne, but I think his skating has come far enough along to allow him to compete over here,” Flahr said, adding he projects Sandin playing on the penalty kill.
Assuming Sandin signs, he would compete for a job with the Flyers next season, but could end up with the AHL’s Lehigh Valley Phantoms for a bit. He would be waiver-exempt.
“Realistically, I think he might need time (with the Phantoms), but he’s not a 19-year-old kid coming out of junior, either," Flahr said. "He’s older, so he’s a little more mature, on and off the ice, so I think it would be a big camp for him. There would be competition.”
If the Flyers re-sign Tyler Pitlick, they would have several candidates for bottom-six right-wing spots next season. That list would include Pitlick, Sandin (assuming he signs), Nic Aube-Kubel, Wade Allison and Tanner Laczynski. Derek Grant, a center and right winger who is a UFA this summer, could also be in the mix.
“We’re going to have competition for the bottom part of our lineup and that’s healthy,” Flahr said.
Sandin’s brother, Rasmus, 20, plays defense for the Maple Leafs and was a first-round draft pick in 2018. As a rookie this season, he played in 28 games and had eight points for Toronto, dividing the year between the NHL and AHL.
Eric Lindros was named a Flyers ambassador last week and he will make some appearances at different events for fans and corporate partners. Lindros and the Flyers are teaming together in a program called the All-In Challenge, a digital fundraiser focused on raising money for COVID-19 hunger relief.
The Flyers said they will auction a game-day experience with Lindros for one winner and up to 11 guests.
The winner and guests will have a game-day skate with Lindros and a shooting lesson from the Hockey Hall of Famer. The winner will also participate in a ceremonial puck drop, watch a game with guests and Lindros from a suite, and receive an autographed jersey and stick signed by the former Flyers star.
The starting bid is $5,000, and go to fanatics.com for more details.
Tuesday: Replay of Game 6 of the 1974 Stanley Cup Final between Boston and the Flyers, 7 p.m. (NBCSN). Spoiler alert: Clarke and Parent carry the Cup around the Spectrum ice.
Wednesday: Six years ago, Wayne Simmonds scored a hat trick on this date as the Flyers defeated the visiting Rangers, 5-2, and forced a Game 7 in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.
Friday: Forty years ago, defenseman Bob Daily collected five points, steering the Flyers past Minnesota, 7-0, in Game 2 of their semifinal series at the Spectrum. The Flyers won the series and advanced to the Finals.
Do you think the Flyers will resign Derek Grant?
(@neilbrooks9) via Twitter
Answer: Thanks for the question, Neil. There are too many moving pieces right now to answer that question, such as the health of Nolan Patrick and Oskar Lindblom and how Grant performs if the season resumes. (Lindblom is making very good progress in his battle with bone cancer.) I do know the Flyers’ brass liked what they saw from Grant in his short time here before the season was paused. Grant, who can play wing or center, had five points in seven games and won about 54% of his faceoffs with the Flyers.