The Flyers did not play in the playoffs twice in a row for the first time since the 1993/1994 season. Last year, they were very far from the knockout stage, scoring only 61 points. In the system in which the regular season is played for 82 matches, they were worse only in the 2006/2007 season, with only 56 points.
The famous team from Pennsylvania was the fourth worst team in the NHL after Montreal, Arizona and Seattle. Between December 31 and January 26, it even fell thirteen times in a row. The fans breathed a loud sigh of relief after the end of the season, it was certainly not pleasant for them to watch the Flyers’ performances.
Will the Tortorella – DeAngelo pairing work?
Seasoned strategist John Tortorella was tasked with lifting the faltering organization. The impulsive coach returns to the NHL after a one-year break, before which he coached Columbus for six seasons. The essential question will be whether the players will follow the famous coach. In recent weeks, information has leaked out that things are not working perfectly in the Airmen’s cabin. This statement was made by the coach himself, who confirmed that he follows the motto “what’s in the heart, what’s on the tongue.”
“I’m very concerned about the state of the cabin,” he said in a recent radio interview. “I spent some time with the players, the team members and the management in my office. And I’m pretty worried about what’s going on there. Some of the conversations I had there were enough for me. I have spoken to many players. I just wanted to hear them, I just listened. The cabin must be together. Once camp starts, that will be something I will focus on and try to adjust,” he added.
It’s hard to say if it was a wise decision to hire Tony DeAngelo in the already defunct booth. A defender who is known for his hockey skills, but at the same time for a lot of trouble. It wasn’t long ago that he took out his frustration on former teammate Alexander Georgiev after a botched match, de facto signing himself out of the Rangers. He also surprised by downplaying the coronavirus pandemic. In 2014, according to the OHL management, he made racist and homophobic statements towards a teammate.
But if DeAngelo puts his excesses behind him, he will be an asset on the ice. After all, last season he proved that he can still be among the elite backs of the competition. In Carolina, he scored 61 Canadian points in 78 games. After moving to Pennsylvania, he had coach Rod Brind’Amour, with whom he had a very good relationship, greet him and who was able to coach him. Will Tortorello do the same?
Key players need to improve
The Flyers defense doesn’t look bad on paper. In addition to DeAngelo, Rasmus Ristolainen should also take care of points in power plays, but he did not succeed at all last year. Improvement is also expected from Ivan Provorov, who collected twenty negative points in +/- statistics. From the defensive ranks, only Travis Sanheim and Justin Braun did not disappoint, who will once again get an important role. Youngsters York and Attard or twenty-nine-year-old Seeler are pushing for other places.
An important personality of the Flyers defense was Keith Yandle, who has already decided to end his professional career. The popular Iron Man played a respectable 989 consecutive games until the coaching staff cut him from the lineup for one game last season, ending the streak.
Complications with Fedotov
Carter Hart and Martin Jones alternated in goal for Philadelphia last year. Although the team did not do well, both were able to swing over a 90% success rate of interventions. Hart should get a lot more space this year, as his now former colleague has come to an agreement with the Krakens. Hart’s back will be covered by Felix Sandström, who played in five games in the NHL in the 2021/2022 season.
Ivan Fedotov could have put more pressure on Hart. The story of the twenty-five-year-old goalkeeper traveled around the world during the holidays. The former CSKA Moscow player signed a one-year deal with Philadelphia, but a few days later he was arrested in Russia for allegedly evading military service.
The goalkeeper then moved to Severodvinsk, where, according to the Match TV server, he took the oath on August 13. According to available information, at least one year of military service awaits him, which practically destroyed his dream of the NHL.
A whole season without Couturier?
There were no big changes in the offensive. The Flyers’ biggest star should be Travis Konecny, who scored 16 goals and added 36 assists last year. Joel Farabee, James van Riemsdyk, Kevin Hayes and Cam Atkinson will also take care of the Canadian points.
Why wasn’t Sean Couturier mentioned? Philadelphia’s key center injured his back in preparation for the season and is currently in danger of missing the entire year. The experienced striker has a herniated disc. Defenseman Ryan Ellis is also on the disabled list at the moment.
So it seems that one problem after another is being bought towards the Airmen. However, young people Noah Cates, Morgan Frost, Owen Tippett or Bobby Brink, who will undoubtedly get some space, can raise hopes in the eyes of the fans. Will he grab him by the scruff of the neck?
It would be a big surprise if Philadelphia rose rapidly. Apart from Tony DeAngelo, no more prominent additions came to the Flyers’ staff, and therefore coach Tortorella certainly does not have an easy job ahead of him. On paper, the team from Pennsylvania should be among the weakest teams in the Metropolitan Division and, in fact, the entire Eastern Conference. Perhaps it would be enough for the fans to improve the team’s overall performance. It shouldn’t be in the playoffs.
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