Hours after the Olympic torch in Sochi was stifled on Sunday, the NHL lifted its 16-day roster freeze - despite the fact that quite a few of its players were scrambling back to North America for the season to re-start tonight.

The Flyers, who return to action on Thursday night against visiting San Jose, will play just three games before next Wednesday's trade deadline.

Yet, if you're hoping for a major transaction to bolster the Flyers into a Stanley Cup contender, general manager Paul Holmgren warned to not hold your breath.

"I don't foresee anything major happening," Holmgren said. "I'm sure there's going to be some guys available. Whether there's going to be some guys who can improve our team, that is the question."

For the first time ever, the NHL's salary cap decreased last summer to $64.3 million. As a result, 12 of the league's 30 teams are currently projected to finish within $357,000 of the hard limit or are expected to slide slightly over with the help of long-term injury exceptions.

Couple that with the fact that 25 teams are within four points of a playoff berth, and, well, you can see there isn't a lot of room to maneuver before the March 5 deadline at 3 o'clock.

"This year, it might even be magnified a little bit, because particularly in our conference how close it is," Holmgren said. "There's a lot of teams in the fight here.

"I've had some conversations with guys. But there was a lot of [GMs] over in Russia that were difficult to get ahold of; they had to use different cell phones. I think [talks] will pick up."

Historically, Holmgren has not made many deals at the deadline, choosing to swap players in the week or two prior when prices are cheaper. Last year, he acquired Steve Mason from Columbus in exchange for Michael Leighton and a third-round pick.