Philadelphia was a bit like “Team Fun” last year mostly because of catastrophic goaltending/defense and their power play. Drafting Nolan Patrick should help at 5-on-5 and the power play. The Flyers were awful in the second half on special teams in general.
Does the coaching staff end the Claude Giroux Experiment on wing? That is something which will be answered as a yes come next week.
On the other hand, Philadelphia has to hope for better shooting luck from their forwards. At even strength, the Flyers were disastrous.
Will Patrick and Giroux stay healthy? The team runs through them now and needs 80+ games from both.
Having players like Wayne Simmonds and Jakub Voracek help immensely. Konecny could be a fun wildcard with his immense speed. The Flyers are better than some think. It is a question of can they put it all together at even strength.
The Flyers blue line is a challenge as far as stopping the bleeding. However, their prospects may be able to help.
The problem is, can the unit step up? Could they fare as poorly as last year? A lot of circumstances have to go poorly for this defense to be that bad. However, Provorov and Gostisbehere together could be intriguing.
The Flyers initial top six to be Provorov, Gostisbehere, MacDonald, Morin, Gudas and Hagg. Manning and Sanheim might compete for ice time. Many have argued Sanheim over MacDonald but we shall see.
We’ll see what happens as training camp ends because there could be a shakeup or two.
With better rearguard stability, expect the Flyers forwards to have an easier time of things.
Brian Elliott was brought in to be the 1A in Philadelphia. His two-year deal allows for more development in the organization. That is the hope anyway. In the meantime, Elliott’s slow starts do raise some concerns along with Neuvirth’s inconsistency and injuries.
Elliott is almost 33 but is serviceable enough to either be a starter or backup. The Flyers were pretty bad defensively last year, and the goalie must start better out of the gates. Philadelphia cannot fall too far behind in this tough of a division.
Looking ahead to trade deadline – if sellers who could be on the move, if buyers what area might they need to improve? Philadelphia still will be in the market for defensive help at the deadline. They will be mostly content with selling their prospects and picks unless injuries should occur.
What rookies could make the team? This is a tough question as several could. Patrick is a lock obviously. Morin, Hagg, and Sanheim are competing for two spots. All three, in theory, should make this team. However, that depends on Andrew MacDonald and Dave Hakstol.
Which player could take a step forward this season? Without a doubt, it is Konecny. The forward showed flashes of brilliance in 2016-17 and the ability to rush the puck up ice fast. His finishing ability has improved in training camp.
Which players could regress? Andrew MacDonald continues to regress and could be buried at some point. So many players had down years that one could argue that the only way is up.
What sticks out about Philadelphia? The Flyers are so top heavy it seems. However, their defense has some young gems that could impress heavily. It all comes down to how the team defense meshes with the goaltending.
How will the Flyers do? It is an excellent question. They are currently projected to be a bubble team in the highly competitive Metropolitan Division.