The Metropolitan Division is getting tougher and tougher and the big, bad Flyers are becoming less and less in the big and bad department. You can't say that the Flyers are rebuilding, because that would entail a large scale tear down of the existing core, nor can you say that the team is retooling, as a lot of what was around in 2015 is back for another season.
So, what is it that they're doing then? It looks as though they're going to try and work the patient route, going through the draft, build up their stocks in the youth department and hope that their current crop keeps them competitive and successful.
The patient route is good, there's no question. Developing talent is the thing to do now and the Flyers are one of the fashionably late teams to this party, but eventually getting there is better than not. The cost of going this route, at this time in their franchise's cycle, is going to be great, especially if they can't win and make the playoffs. The bottom line will eventually suffer. Poolies who go big into Philadelphia are also likely to suffer... and that's the most important part, right?
|Michael Del Zotto||D||25|
|Chris Vande Velde||F||10|
Table last updated on August 14th
Most Intriguing or Breakout Player
The Flyers made quick work of this decision, as they decided to give Russian defender, Evgeni Medvedev a 1-year deal, worth $3 million for the coming season. Medvedev was scouted by many at the last World Championships in the Czech Republic and was noticed by Flyers brass, enough so for a big contract to come over to North America.
The 32-year old has spent the last eight seasons in the KHL, where he had put up some very respectable numbers offensively.
The scouting reports that are abound, say that the lanky defender already has some decent size, but could use a little more bulk for the rigors of the game, but should be a capable puck mover, regardless.
It's hard to gauge what impact he'll have, if he makes the full-time roster at all. He's certainly a story to watch, especially in the difficult market, which is the blueline.
Also important to note, at 32, he won't be considered a rookie, despite it being his first season.
First Round Picks
The combination of Jakub Voracek and Claude Giroux have no reason to slow down their scoring production, as they seemingly feed off each other, finding open ice and great places to shoot from. If you're not quite sold on the Flyers, as a whole, you may want to drop them down a round, but they'll still be productive this year, even if the rest of the team is far from exceptional on any given night.
Other Pool Worthy Forwards
While the top two forwards have free reign on how they play their game, the rest of the forwards are seemingly a little more tethered to the defensive aspects to the game, which hasn't exactly proven to be efficient to their scoring. The Flyers will still have a reasonable amount of scoring support from Wayne Simmonds, Brayden Schenn, Sean Couturier and Sam Gagner, but will it really be enough to help them win more games and help them into the playoffs?
Other Pool Worthy Defense
The Flyers banked a lot of money and time into Mark Streit and it was a very reasonable move on their part, as he is a natural talent and should be able to carve out some points from a decent power play there in Philadelphia, but after Streit, it's nothing but question marks.
Does 2015 1st rounder Ivan Provorov make the jump? How about that Medvedev? Does he make the jump with any sort of impact? Michael Del Zotto has a new deal, will that affect his game at all? Andrew MacDonald should have been better offensively last season, but his drop-off cast doubts on pool confidence, while Nick Schultz and Luke Schenn are out to shut guys down.
The indications from my numbers are that the Flyers are not going to win nearly as many games, as they may want. The combination of a new coaching staff, an underwhelming defense corps and an offense that sputters more often than it fires on all cylinders, suggests that Steve Mason might have a tough year. Michal Neuvirth may get a fair bit of work as his back-up, but what will that be really worth?
Possible Entries Into the Rookie Race
The Flyers are not going into this season as a very young team, with the only possible rookie at this point being Provorov. If he can make the jump, he'll be there to provide a spark from the back end and he could be a very good rookie to take at some point in the season, but it will be a heavy gamble at the draft in early October.
Team To Pick From Late?
In years past, the Flyers have been a much better offensive team and has been one to pick from in their depths. I don't think there is any problem with gambling on this team's depth, as Michael Raffl did show some flashes, R.J. Umberger is somewhat obscure in Philly, while Vincent Lecavalier promises to be better, but will he? If you're looking for someone late on to gamble on, you can always play some 'buyer beware' from here.
Unsigned Players and Salary Cap
The Flyers opted to go in a different direction for their back-up goalie, as they have left Ray Emery out on the free market this Summer, headlining those who were left behind by the team. There are no restricted free agents to speak of, so they're in pretty good shape.
The early counts are showing that the Flyers, minus some of their unproven and part-time youth, they have 19 players on their projected roster, coming in with $5.6 million in cap space to fill in the gaps. The Flyers don't have much for extra cap hits, a la buyouts, so they're running pretty lean these days.