The disc goes down for the Flyers, finally, Friday night against Vancouver to start their 2021-22 campaign, after one of the busiest and busiest seasons in recent memory.
We’ve already taken an in-depth look at what to expect from them this season, and if you haven’t read it, We highly recommend it.
But the more you look at things, the more you see that there are a completely different set of opinions on what Flyers could be this season. However, the vast majority of expectations will have you shaking your head in disgust. That’s because, just as it was about a decade ago, Philadelphia looks like a marginal playoff team that might be able to win a series — but that’s it. They’re not real competitors, and they haven’t turned up since their last trip to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2010. They’re back in the same limbo they were desperately trying to escape.
Carter Hart may be a Vesina-caliber goalkeeper once again. Perhaps offense will take a step forward and defense will be a force built on off-season possessions. But it may be more than the same.
Here’s a brief account of how various online publications believe Flyers will perform in 2021-22:
ESPN – The best case is the play-off berth
At ESPN, their hockey writers took a look at each NHL club’s best and worst case scenarios (and asked other questions like who would be the X-factor or the best fantasy performer), and it’s no surprise that the best case isn’t particularly exciting for Flyers fans.
best case: The Flyers’ goal trend stabilizes, their defense improves and their goal scoring reach the top ten, making Philadelphia a watershed in a very competitive division.
Worst case: Remember how the Canadians made a bunch of veteran additions before last season and added up to the Stanley Cup race for Montreal? Worst case scenario for Flyers is doing something similar and then getting the complete opposite result. Oh, and if the goalpost stinks. [ESPN]
Sports Illustrated They need results
Adam Botto of SI.com ranked the teams in the metro section and there are no Flyers anywhere close to sniffing the top. Here’s a look at his rating:
6. Philadelphia Flyers: The Flyers finished their 2021 campaign with the worst defense in the NHL – a whopping 201 goals allowed – and GM Chuck Fletcher didn’t stand up too well and hope his team recovers this year. Instead, he radically reconfigured his defensive squad – bringing in veterans Rasmus Restolainen, Ryan Ellis and Keith Yandel – and sacked winger Jacob Voracek to Columbus in place of winger Cam Atkinson. Also, Fletcher signed striker Derek Brassard to improve his third streak, and signed teammate Nate Thompson to center Philly’s fourth streak.
On paper, this group of Flyers are more experienced and more talented, but the big question – as often as it is in Philadelphia – has to do with the pursuit of their goals. Rookie Carter Hart is coming off a disappointing season (3.67 goal-to-average, .877 savings percentage), and new backup, former Sharks player Martin Jones, hasn’t scored above 0.996 in any of the previous three seasons. If Hart wears off, pilots can push hats and penguins to one of the two lower annex berths. If their retinal nodule doesn’t hold up, expect Fletcher to make a seasonal move to remedy it. With so many veterans in the lineup, Philly simply couldn’t be satisfied with improving his individual stats. They need results and they need it right away. Otherwise, Fletcher’s commercial toes may be more itchy next summer. [SI.com]
the athlete – Getting better?
Athletic has a lot of great NHL season preview coverage, and they have benchmarks that say the Flyers are the top 20 teams in the NHL (keep in mind that 16 teams make the playoffs). They predict that they will collect about 89 points and have a 32.4% chance in the postseason.
Writer, Charlie O’Connor, was asked to briefly reach their prospects for the year and believe they are good enough to finish second or third in the division.
The natural gradient (read: the goal isn’t the worst in hockey) should have made the pilots better this season itself. But the roster itself is also better, with even the most controversial additions (Rasmus Ristolainen, Martin Jones) acting at least as talent upgrades over the players they directly replaced (Robert Hägg, Brian Elliott). Whether they have been promoted enough to be a true contender is an open question, but the pilots must be better than they were at least last season. [The Athletic]
FiveThirtyEight – So you’re saying there’s a chance?
Following The Athletic’s statistical projection, we thought we’d pivot to FiveThirtyEight’s, which says Philadelphia has about a 36% chance of making the playoffs, and projects would score 88 points.
NBC Sports — 3rd in Metro
NBC Sports predicts Orange and Black will finish in the final picture, take the secured last place in the division and teeter behind Islanders and Hurricanes.
Hey ho! Sports – split decision
hockey book at Yahoo! They gave their predictions for the qualifying teams, winners and prizes. Four writers made their predictions, with two of them leaving Flyers out of the mix for the post-season. Stephen Pseugios has They are the ones who made the playoffs as the third representative for Metro, while Thomas Williams believes they will take the last place in the Wild Card. Nobody made them win a series.
NHL.com – Looking outside
The official NHL website has done the same thing as Yahoo! , where he tasked 15 writers and editors from their team with predicting the entire playoff field and who would go ahead. Here’s how it broke down:
• Miss the playoffs: 10
• Wild card berth: 2
• Third in the metro: 2
• Second place in the metro: 1
Yes, they miss 10/15 for the championship. One writer, Dave Stubbs, thinks they’d actually be number two on the metro.
sports news – second to last
No need for a big explanation here. Sporting News predicted the records for each team in hockey and the Flyers are the second team in the metro according to their experts.
Vandel – to the bottom
Finally, if Vegas is right, the pilots will be playing in front of empty stadiums and indifferent fans by April. FanDuel odds makers give Philadelphia a +850 chance of winning the metro, the sixth best of eight teams. With three comma slots available in the section, they clearly thought Philly would be on the outside.
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