Right winger Jaromir Jagr hinted he will test the free-agent market, and general manager Paul Holmgren didn't rule out the return of captain Chris Pronger next season.
Those developments highlighted the Flyers' season-ending news conference Thursday at their practice facility in Voorhees.
Jagr, 40, who had a 19-goal season, was given several chances to say he wanted to return to the Flyers. He did not bite. It appears he will test the free-agent market on July 1.
"Hopefully, we are going to find some team where I can play," said Jagr, who earned $3.3 million this season. "I still love the game and I think I am going to be better than I was this year."
Said Holmgren: "I'd like to have him back. We'll see. I think there will be other teams that would like to have him on their team, too."
Center Claude Giroux made it clear how the players feel.
"If you ask anyone on this team, everyone wants him back," he said. "He's a good team player and he has helped so many guys in this room, on and off the ice."
Though Pronger has not made much progress from a concussion, Holmgren remains hopeful that the star defenseman can return next season.
"I'm a glass-is-half-full kind of guy. I believe he's going to play, but I don't know. I don't have anything to back that up," Holmgren said.
The way the collective bargaining agreement reads, if Pronger retires, his cap hit ($4.9 million) will count. If he is unable to play and is put on the long-term injured list, the Flyers will get $4.9 million in cap relief.
Holmgren said Pronger was "the same," meaning he still has concussion symptoms. The GM said he will sit down with Pronger before July 1 - when free agency starts - and "make an assessment on where he's at."
Out of respect for Pronger, Holmgren said he will not even think about naming a new captain at this point.
If Pronger is unable to play, several Flyers, including Max Talbot, said Giroux would make an ideal captain.
"I think he's got it in him," Talbot said.
Giroux finished third in the league with 93 points this season.
"But I think being a captain is not just about being a good player," Talbot said. "It's about character . . . and leading the guys in this dressing room, and [having] the trust of your teammates. Claude has definitely got that."
The Flyers met with coaches and cleared out their Voorhees lockers Thursday, and several newsy items were learned:
Holmgren believes he can re-sign defenseman Matt Carle, a potential free agent who had a $3.4 million cap hit this season, at a below-market price.
Holmgren said he probably will have injury updates Friday. There is speculation that Kimmo Timonen, Nick Grossmann, and James van Riemsdyk will need surgery.
By the general manager's estimate, the cap will rise from $64.3 million to about $69 million. Excluding Pronger, the Flyers have $59.4 million committed to 19 players for next season. While Jagr and Carle can become unrestricted free agents, Jakub Voracek, Marc-Andre Bourdon, Tom Sestito, and Harry Zolnierczyk are potential restricted free agents.
Holmgren said he hopes that former Flyers Mike Richards and Jeff Carter win the Stanley Cup with the Los Angeles Kings, but that he was happy with the deals and would "do them again."
Timonen, 37, will return next year, and perhaps beyond next season, Holmgren said.
Coach Peter Laviolette said center Sean Couturier, coming off an impressive rookie year, could get more playing time next season and work his way onto a power-play unit.
Unlike last year, the Flyers are not expected to make a slew of major off-season moves, though they figure to show interest in Nashville all-star defenseman Ryan Suter, a prospective free agent.
The Flyers played seven rookies in the playoffs, and the experience they gained this season will carry into 2012-13, Holmgren said.
"I'd like to believe that the younger guys will be better next year," he said. "And some of the additions we made down the stretch, like Nicklas Grossmann, will be a good addition to our hockey team. And I think Ilya [Bryzgalov] is going to be better next year."