With the current CBA set to expire on September 15th, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman wants a deal in place by then or the league will lockout.
However, some members of the Philadelphia Flyers have had the mindset that hockey will be played in October.
Guys like Sean Couturier, Matt Read, Zac Rinaldo, and Brandon Manning have been skating and training at Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees, New Jersey. But they also realize that they need plans if the league does lockout.
Rinaldo says while he would much rather play for the Flyers, he would be open to joining the Adirondack Phantoms.
“I mean, if I get sent down to the A then I’ll play for the Phantoms, I don’t have a problem with doing that. But I’d rather play for the Flyers, who wouldn’t? I hope there’s not [lockout] but if there is I’ll take it as a positive and get better as a hockey player.”
The young enforcer could take that opportunity to develop more of a raw skillset and add some depth to his game.
On the other hand, 19 year-old Couturier isn’t quite sure of his options, other than playing for the Flyers in October.
“I’m here right now just training for the upcoming season and if there is a lockout, after that we’ll see,” Couturier said. “It’d be fun to know that for sure we’re going to play, but obviously there is always going to be a little bit of doubt, but like I said we just got to think positive and try to work out a deal.”
Defenseman Brandon Manning, who got his feet wet in the professional level last year, has a tremendous opportunity this season. With a very depleted blue line, Manning could be seeing a much larger role on the team, and is preparing to do play that role. However, if there is a lockout, he too would head back to the AHL
“I’m preparing for a season, obviously the back end is a little banged up right now and there’s an opportunity for me right now.”
Manning also stated that the AHL would be a good chance for him as well.
“The Phantoms have a good team and a new coach coming in. Great opportunity for me, playing with a lot of good hockey players if some of those guys are able to come down and help us out.”
The NHL and NHLPA were supposed to continue bargaining talks today. However, they were cancelled after top executives from the league and players’ union were involved in a secluded meeting. The two sides are expected to meet again Thursday morning.
Of course, we all hope that there is hockey this season, but if there isn’t, the Flyers do have options.
Adam Pfeifer is a contributing writer covering the Philadelphia Flyers for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @Pfeiifey for news regarding the Flyers.