Then that offense or that spark they had, disappeared? Maybe it wasn't nurtured enough, maybe those injury problems they had took a bigger toll on their dynamic and that's why this team lost their way for a while. It was sure strange, because it looked like they were going to support them well with more young talent coming up the system.
No, it wasn't until a college-trained defenseman finally made it into their ranks and ran buck wild with this squad and then everything seemed to be well on its way to being right again.
Now we're just about to enter the 2017 season and these pieces are all back together, we've got some renewed optimism, there are still some youthful pieces that could be added and this Flyers team could (and should) be better than they were, barely making the playoffs last year. How excited are you about these Flyers?
|Michael Del Zotto||D||25||N|
Table last updated on August 6th
Most Intriguing or Breakout Player
There was a reason why Shayne Gostisbehere finished 2nd in Calder Trophy voting at the end of the year and that was his anchoring of the Flyers blueline, helping to revitalize their offense and push them into the playoffs. I think one could have argued that if the Hart Trophy was voted on correctly, he would have had a vote here and there for that trophy too, but that's hardly ever the case and a big reason why the NHL Awards are a bit of a joke.
I find it very intriguing to contemplate how far the Flyers are going to get this year, but I wouldn't go so far as to say that they'll go as far as this young stud of a defenseman will take them. He is certainly a big part of this team, right off the hop, but the big guns will be what carries this team, it will be Gostisbehere's job to keep them going.
First Round Picks
Those big guns, Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek, could have a bit of a resurgence in the 2017 season, thanks in large part to their sophomore superstar. These two should get some 1st round consideration, if their games are going to finally pick back up, thanks to some good service from the back end. You'll probably be getting closer to the end of the 1st round, but they should definitely be in your consideration.
Other Pool Worthy Forwards
Wayne Simmonds was a power play machine for the Flyers last year and the tools and the trade is there for him to do much of the same in the coming season. Brayden Schenn and Sean Couturier have really yet to break out in their Philadelphia careers and neither seem to be ready to do so, so their numbers will remain at the average level. Michael Raffl and Matt Read will bring more speed to the lineup, but it won't necessarily turn into numbers.
Other Pool Worthy Defense
The Flyers have struggled on defense, up until last season, of course, because Mark Streit wasn't all what they claimed him to be when they picked him up a few years ago. He might be the only other pool worthy defender from last season, but that really isn't saying much here. Maybe a kid like Ivan Provorov can spark some more offense from the back end this year, making good use of a top draft pick.
The Philadelphia Flyers didn't seem to have a problem with a fairly even split in time between Steve Mason and Michal Neuvirth, but when the Czech was injured during the stretch, they had no problem relying on Mason for a good run and they made it into the playoffs. I would think the idea would be to keep a good split in time and see what happens. My guess is that Mason wins out more time though, gets hot and earns that spot.
Team To Pick From?
I like where the pool worthy players are on the list, but I don't think that would necessarily make any of the depth players that much better. Dale Weise was a dynamo for the Canadiens over the last couple of seasons, but they really opened him up. Will he get some of the same treatment in Philly? I have my doubts.
Unsigned Players and Salary Cap
The Flyers are not in great shape against the cap ceiling. They may not have any outstanding free agents to take care of, but their projected lineup can only go as high as 21 players, because they have no projected relief from long-term injuries and they are only about $240,000 away from the top. What you see is probably what you're going to get on opening night.
The Flyers were not short on injuries in the 2016 season and you could put some of the blame for their wild card record on that, since they couldn't push all the way into the division race. The list was pretty long and occupied by some top players, but the expectation is that they'll all be fine for the start of the season, so there are no worries here... yet.