Since the 2011-12 season, the Philadelphia Flyers have made the playoffs exactly every other year; last year the Flyers missed the playoffs by 16 points after finishing sixth in the Metropolitan Division with just 82 points.
After struggling last season with goaltender issues, and a sub par special teams performance (23rd on the Power Play, 26th on the Penalty Kill), the Flyers had an active off-season which resulted in the acquisition of Kevin Hayes, and Matt Niskanen.
Hayes, a 6’5″ Center that recorded 55 points last season in his time with the Rangers, and Jets, solidifies the Flyers’ top six which consists of Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier, Travis Konecny, James van Riemsdyk (JVR), and Jakub Voracek.
These Forwards can also record significant points; Giroux is coming off a 85 point season, Couturier recorded 76 points, JVR added 48 points in 66 games, and Jakub Voracek had himself 66 points after a career high 85 point season in 2017-18.
Add to the mix Lindblom, and Laughton who had themselves over 30 points last season as well, and this offensive core has the ability to be an offensive threat.
Nolan Patrick is currently dealing with a migraine disorder, and is week-to-week, however when he returns will be a threat as well.
On the back end, Philadelphia now has a serious group of Defensemen.
Ivan Provorov, 22, is entering his fourth season with the Flyers and looks to have a breakout year after finishing last season with a career low 26 points; Provorov recorded 41 points in the 2017-18 season, and 30 points in the 2016-17 season as a rookie.
Shayne Gostibehere, 26, certainly is looking to have a bounce back season after recording just 37 points last season after recording 65 points in the 2017-18 season.
Acquiring Matt Niskanen from the Washington Capitals was a key addition the Flyers had to make to get back to the playoffs this season.
Niskanen, who has spent time with Dallas, Pittsburgh, and Washington, has averaged 27 points per season in his twelve seasons in the NHL.
This addition adds a tremendous amount of experience to the Flyers’ locker room.
As well as the addition of Justin Braun, a nine year veteran who has played his entire career in San Jose recording 154 points.
Hopefully these additions can cut back on the amount of shots against per game as last season Philadelphia faced the 10th most shots; of those ten teams, only three made it to the playoffs, and all three were eliminated in the first round (Winnipeg, Pittsburgh, and Toronto).
The largest question mark this team has is their goaltending.
For several years now Philadelphia has struggled at the goaltending position.
This year the Flyers will be rolling with 21 year old Carter Hart as their starter over Brian Elliott.
Hart has played in just 31 games, although has posted a goals against average of 2.83, and a save percentage of .917.
The other area the Flyers need to improve in is their special teams.
As stated above, last season Philadelphia finished with the 23rd best Power Play, and the 26th best Penalty Kill.
With the roster this team has now, there is no excuse why the Flyers can not be in the top 15 of both Power Play, and Penalty Kill.
If the Flyers can rely on Carter Hart to be solid, and their special teams improves from last year, Philadelphia certainly could not only see themselves in the playoffs, but also advance to the Conference Finals playing out of a tightly contested Metropolitan Division.
Philadelphia will start their Regular Season Friday October 4th at 2:00 PM ET against the Chicago Blackhawks in Prague, Czech Republic as part of the 2019 NHL Global Series.
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