Now that he has about $4.1 million in salary-cap space and his team is in the playoff hunt, Flyers general manager Ron Hextall is not ruling out adding a forward before the Feb. 29 trade deadline.

"If we can improve our team in any way without mortgaging the future, we'll look at it," Hextall said Thursday. "I mean, if young players can make us better, of course we'll look at it."

He is likely looking at Jonathan Drouin, 20, a left winger who is on the trade market. Drouin has great potential but has underachieved in Tampa Bay after being the third overall draft pick in 2013.

"We're not supposed to talk about another team's players," Hextall said.

Though their production has increased in the last four games, the Flyers are 28th in the 30-team NHL in goals per game (2.27).

Hextall is not interested in parting with any of his promising defensive prospects but conceded that "my job is to look at everything that's out there, look at the whole landscape, and to the best of my ability, make our team better. So you can never say never with everything, but we're not going to deal our young players for middle-aged or older players."

'Ghost' returning

Hextall said he expects rookie standout Shayne Gostisbehere to be back in the lineup Saturday afternoon against the Rangers. He has missed the last two games with what is believed to be a groin strain.

The Flyers won both games, but their power play went 0 for 8.


The Flyers had six players at Thursday's optional practice in Voorhees: Gostisbehere, Sean Couturier, Brandon Manning, Jordan Weal, Scott Laughton, and Michal Neuvirth. . . . Hextall said he would wait until the summer before negotiating with Brayden Schenn, who will become a restricted free agent. "I don't see Brayden going anywhere," he said.