What Michael Raffl’s loan probably means for the start of the NHL’s 2021 season
Yesterday it was announced that the Flyers loaned forward Michael Raffl to Villacher SV of the ICE Hockey League in Austria. Raffl will be returning to his homeland of Austria to dust off his skates before the NHL resumes play.
Raffl being healthy and getting back on the ice before the NHL season is definitely encouraging. The soon to be 32 year old played 58 games and had 20 points in the 2019-20 season for the Flyers and is expected to be present in the Flyers lineup during the 2021 season.
However, the move casts serious doubt on the NHL’s proposed plan to resume play around January 1, 2021. If this was a poker game, the Flyers just forced the NHL to show us their hand.
Theoretically, with a January 1, 2021 start date, several things would have to occur for each NHL team before New Year’s Day. Each team would have to hold a training camp in which all participating players would need to quarantine for two weeks, seeing as they would be coming from all over the world. Then training camp itself would have to be held, which would last at least a minimum of two weeks.
These two things alone would take up the entirety of December and it’s extremely unlikely, if not impossible, that Michael Raffl would spend all of three days playing in Europe.
With Covid-19 cases at an all-time high in both the United States and Canada, it doesn’t shock me in the slightest that the NHL may not resume as early as originally announced during the October 6th draft.
All eyes will be on the NHL in the upcoming weeks as an announcement regarding the 2021 season is bound to be on the way.
Mandatory credit: GEPA