SUNRISE, FL - DECEMBER 10: Johan Franzen #93 of the Detroit Red Wings skates with the puck during a NHL game against the Florida Panthers at the BB&T Center on December 10, 2013 in Sunrise, Florida.

Franzen practicing, hopes to return by Olympic break’s end


Johan Franzen hasn’t been able to participate in Sweden’s Olympic run due to a concussion sustained on Dec. 15, but the time off might have done him some good.

He resumed practicing with the other non-Olympians on Detroit’s roster on Wednesday and hopes to rejoin the Red Wings’ lineup immediately following the break, according to the Detroit Free Press.

That being said, he’s not sure if he’s out of the woods yet. While he isn’t experiencing much in the way of symptoms, that’s been the case throughout most of his recovery. The problems start to arise when he gets into game-like situations with a lot of movement.

“Even if I felt good the last two weeks without doing anything, it doesn’t really mean anything,” Franzen said. “I gotta get a few practices in to see how I really feel.”

The Red Wings have been hit hard by injuries throughout the season and they recently suffered another major blow when Henrik Zetterberg‘s Olympics ended due to a back injury.

That being said, in addition to Franzen, Detroit might have Stephen Weiss and Jakub Kindl back when the break ends.

Raffl coverts PTO into one-year, $575K deal with Jets

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There’s another Raffl in the NHL.

On Tuesday, the Jets announced that Thomas Raffl — the older brother of Flyers forward Michael Raffl — has signed a one-year, one-way deal worth $575,000.

Raffl, 29, was in Winnipeg’s camp on a PTO after a lengthy career in Europe. He spent time playing in Sweden and his native Austria, most recently with powerhouse EC Red Bull Salzburg — last year, Raffl scored 53 points in 52 games for Salzburg and three in seven games for Austria while serving as team captain at the World Hockey Championships.

“We would like to recognize and express our appreciation to the EC Red Bull Salzburg organization for allowing Thomas and the Winnipeg Jets this opportunity,” Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said in a statement.

With the Jets, Raffl projects to play in the bottom-six forward group, where he can utilize his 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame in a checking-slash-energy role.

For now, though, he’ll start out with the club’s AHL affiliate in Manitoba.

Flyers to start season with seven d-men; MacDonald sent to AHL

Andrew MacDonald, Matt Calvert
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Seven defensemen will comprise the Philadelphia Flyers’ opening-day roster, which the club finalized today.

Those seven are Radko Gudas, Michael Del Zotto, Luke Schenn, Nick Schultz, Brandon Manning, Mark Streit, and Evgeny Medvedev.

Not on the list? Andrew MacDonald, who has cleared waivers and been assigned to AHL Lehigh Valley. (That move allowed the Flyers to keep both Manning and youngster Scott Laughton.)

Also not on the list were prospects Shayne Gostisbehere, Robert Hagg, Sam Morin, Ivan Provorov and Travis Sanheim. The first three will start the season in the AHL. The last two have been sent back to junior.

But the opening-day roster is not where this story ends. How the Flyers’ defensive mix changes as the season progresses will be worth watching.

They’d no doubt love to move Schenn, a pending unrestricted free agent with a $3.6 million cap hit. He could also end up in the AHL, a la MacDonald.

Medvedev, the 33-year-old who came over from the KHL and put up five points in five preseason games, is another pending UFA. The club could either look to re-sign or flip him.

Might 37-year-old Streit be a chip worth cashing in at the deadline, especially if the Flyers aren’t in a playoff position on Feb. 29? He’s only got two years left on his contract.

Meanwhile, GM Ron Hextall will be watching pending restricted free agents Manning and Gudas closely. Are they part of the future?

So, lots of decisions to make in Philly as the blue line continues its much-needed transition.