Flyers Weekly Mailbag: Looking ahead to the expansion draft, top 6 in 2021

The Flyers must improve in becoming a more consistent hockey team next season. Especially, if the orange and black want to be considered true contenders. One way to make them a consistent bunch is to have a good special teams unit. Of course, this consists of both the Power Play and Penalty Kill.

It’s no secret that the Flyers Penalty Kill has been horrid for a few years. Fortunately, the Flyers now have the personnel to develop a new Defensive Attack System. This system would immediately help out a struggling PK Corps that has been looking for answers for the past few seasons. Without further delay, here are our answers to your questions.

Claude Giroux will once again be the “Hulkamaniac” that he was last season. Playing on a line with Sean Couturier, and the electric Travis Konecny helps aid Giroux’s points total. Giroux will once again be the dominant force he was last season. He is the engine that runs the orange and black, as Giroux goes so does the Flyers.

The Flyers best rookie will be no other than NAK himself. I have NAK making the team out of Training Camp. NAK shall play on the 4th line with Scott Laughton and Michael Raffl to start the season. On paper this line could be one of the most dominant 4th lines in the NHL this coming season, as they will wreak havoc on their opponents on a nightly basis.

Wayne Simmonds will be the Flyers most improved player, as he will return to form. He will come to Training Camp being 100% healthy, and ready to go in his contract year. The Wayne “Train,” will pot 30-35 goals, and be the dominant force he was prior to last season. Honorable mentions for most improved goes to Jordan Weal, and Nolan Patrick.

Unfortunately, the player that I have taking a step back is Michael Raffl. It’s his contract year, but it will be hard for him to crack the top 9 on a nightly basis. Oskar Lindblom should be given every opportunity to remain in the top 9 on a nightly basis, as he will be part of the future for years to come. Raffl on the other hand more than likely will be in his last season donning a Flyers sweater. I like Raffl, and I want to reiterate that this is just my personal opinion. Raffl tallied 13 goals last season, and this coming season I see him tallying 9 or 10.

Barry you’re an amazing asset to this site. You have been a friend and supporter from day one. Without your support this site doesn’t exist today.

Ivan Provorov is an up and coming superstar in Philadelphia sports. It’s great to see his game flourishing. After game 6 in the playoffs against the Pittsburgh Penguins last year. Provorov proved to the world what Flyers fans already knew of him…he’s a warrior as played with one arm that game.

Provorov in my opinion will continue to grow, and will pot 53 points this coming season (19 goals, 34 assists). The reason I think he MAY fall short of 20 goals this coming season, is that I think he will be on the second Power Play Unit. If he was on the top PP unit, then I believe Provorov would crack the 20 goal mark.

Dan thanks so much for your continued support. Your hockey knowledge is insanely good, and without you this site doesn’t exist today.

The Flyers will have two All-Stars this coming season. Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier would be my selections. Honorable mentions: JVR and Voracek.

A player to watch this coming season is Jordan Weal. The easy selection would be Nolan Patrick, but I personally believe Weal figures things out and puts together a solid season. I think Weal pots 18 goals, and tallies 12 assists for a total of 30 points this season.

Ryan your support is amazing. I love your knowledge of all four major sports in Philadelphia. Your site is amazing, and Flyers fans check out @PhilasPhinestSN for all up to date information for Philly sports.

One major hold up with resigning Wayne Simmonds has to be the term of the contract. Hextall I would assume is trying for a 4 or 5 year contract, but Simmonds probably wants a 6-7 year deal. Of course, this would make sense for Simmonds, but maybe not so much for the Flyers. Moreover, Hextall has stated in prior weeks that money wouldn’t be a problem for the right player. Simmonds of course would be the right player for this young, up and coming team in the locker room. I hope Simmonds and the Flyers can work things out before camp opens, but who knows with money right.

The Penalty Killing has been downright dreadful for a few years now. Hopefully, the Flyers will adopt the attack style system this coming season. The Flyers finally have the speedy personnel, and Forwards that are dedicated to a two-way game to pull this off. Gone…cross our fingers…are the days of the sit back style. Attack the opponents before they enter our Defensive Zone, thus making things a little more difficult for our opponents. Simply put, stand some of our opponents up at the blue line. This would make our opponents more predictable with the dump and chase system. The PK needs help, and this is one solution for it, as the Flyers have to take space away from their opponents. Their opponents are given too much space to create opportunities.

It’s great you mention the mediocre Power Play. If I’m Dave Hakstol I would keep Nolan Patrick on the top unit, and move JVR to the top unit, in favor of Jakub Voracek. It would be a breath of fresh air for the top unit. JVR would provide the net front presence to have that unit flourishing at a high rate once again, and he has the hands to shoot from anywhere.

Something has to change on the top unit, as it’s too predictable. Voracek to me seems to think pass first while on the top unit. Just shoot when you have the open shot anything can happen to the puck on its way to the net. Here would be my opening PP units:

PP1: Giroux, Couturier, JVR, Patrick, Ghost

PP2: Simmonds, Konecny, Voracek, Sanheim, Provorov

Michal Neuvirth has the Flyers in a conundrum at the Goaltending position at least to start the season. One team that could be interested in Neuvirth’s services is the Calgary Flames. Neuvirth is a solid goaltender when healthy, but he can’t stay healthy. It’s actually quite a shame. This is why I foresee the Flyers starting the season with a Brian Elliott/Neuvirth tandem.

Rob you’re the man, and a very knowledgeable Flyers fan at that. God bless you and your family. Without you this site doesn’t exist today.

Flyers protect seven Forwards, Three Defensemen, and One Goaltender

Forwards:

Claude Giroux

Sean Couturier

Travis Konecny

Oskar Lindblom

Nolan Patrick

Nicolas Aube-Kubel

JVR

Defenseman:

Philippe Myers

Shayne Gostisbehere

Ivan Provorov

Goalie:

Anthony Stolarz (If he’s still in the Flyers system)

Carter Hart and Morgan Frost do not need protection as they will be within the two-year limit as a professional, and the same will go for Felix Sandstrom. Alex Lyon will be a free agent, thus making him exempt from being protected. One last interesting tidbit is Travis Sanheim will remain a Flyer with a handshake deal with Seattle’s General Manager, as George Mcphee did such for Las Vegas.

Tim thanks so much for your support. You have supported me from day one my friend. Without your support this site doesn’t exist today. God bless you and your family.

Top 6 2021:

Morgan Frost, Nolan Patrick, Travis Konecny

Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier, O’Brien

Giroux would be a top 6 fit, just not a top line fit with a ton of miles on his tires. However, Giroux can still be lethal for the young orange and black club. I could see Voracek getting scooped up by Seattle, after the Flyers leave him exposed in the 2020 Expansion Draft. Joel Farabee, Wade Allison, Isaac Ratcliffe, Olle Lycksell, Noah Cates,  Matthew Strome, German Rubtsov, NAK, Pascal Laberge, Tanner Laczynski, and others may not be ready for the top 6 role while still getting acclimated to the NHL. Moreover, Allison and Laczynski still haven’t signed their ELC’s, whereas I’m confident O’Brien will do so after his freshman season at Providence College.

Mwolff this was a great question. A brain teaser for sure. I love taking risks, so I appreciate the question. Thanks for your continued support, and may God bless you and your family. Without you this site doesn’t exist today.

The biggest surprise of the tournament for me was Defenseman Adam Ginning for Team Sweden. He really looked composed in a game against the United States. Ginning drove Brady Tkachuk off the puck at the tale end of the first period against the United States. As Tkachuk tried driving towards the net. Ginning used his long reach to force the puck away from Tkachuk, and then he drove Tkachuk into the boards. This type of play is exactly the missing element from the Flyers. A Defenseman that can stifle their opponents, and clear the porch with ease. Ginning has no offense right? Well, he potted the game winning goal late in the tournament against Finland. Joel Farabee, and Jay O’Brien both were phenomenal at the WJSS, but Noah Cates may have scored the goal of the tournament against Canada. Moreover, Olle Lycksell turned my head with being a solid puck mover that tallied 1 goal, and 1 assist for the showcase. Overall, I was very impressed with the Flyers prospects at this showcase.

The one player who disappointed me the most was Morgan Frost. He potted 0 goals, and 1 assist in 3 games played at the showcase. Craig Button called Frost, “A brilliant playmaker,” before the USA played Canada. Am I concerned about Frost? Absolutely not. I think the amount of games played caught up to him, especially in a short amount of time. Let’s not forget the Soo Greyhounds had a deep playoff run, as well.

Donovan you’re amazing. Without your knowledge and support of us this site doesn’t exist. May God bless you and your family.

It doesn’t sound like Ron Hextall is breaking up any of his core players just yet, with the exception for possibly Wayne Simmonds (Only do to expiring contract at years end). Hextall appears to have complete faith in their core. The earliest I could realistically see the Flyers moving on from one of their core players is the 2020 Expansion Draft. Jakub Voracek I think gets left exposed, and Seattle could very well take him off the Flyers hands. Of course, if a team comes knocking for one of the Flyers core players via trade, Hextall I’m sure will listen to their pitch.

Michael I cant say thank you enough for all you have done for this site. Your continued support is amazing, and mark my words  Nolan Patrick will be a beast this season. The future is bright in Flyer land. God bless you and your family.

 

Get ready for the new NHL season with cheap, OFFICIAL Flyers gear from Fanatics right here! 

The Penalty Killing has been downright dreadful for a few years now. Hopefully, the Flyers will adopt the attack style system this coming season. The Flyers finally have the speedy personnel, and Forwards that are dedicated to a two-way game to pull this off. Gone…cross our fingers…are the days of the sit back style. Attack the opponents before they enter our Defensive Zone, thus making things a little more difficult for our opponents. Simply put, stand some of our opponents up at the blue line. This would make our opponents more predictable with the dump and chase system. The PK needs help, and this is one solution for it, as the Flyers have to take space away from their opponents. Their opponents are given too much space to create opportunities. This might be Lappy’s last chance with coaching the PK unit.

Oskar Lindblom, Travis Konecny, and Scott Laughton would be three solid additions to the PK Unit on a full-time basis. Lindblom did very well on the PK for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms last season. Moreover, one other player that is pretty solid on the PK is RHD Christian Folin. If there is an injury to a Defenseman, then Folin can fill in admirably on the PK.

Kevin thanks so much for your support. You’re a true asset to @phillyisflyer. God bless you and your family. Without you our site doesn’t exist.

With the looming Expansion Draft in 2020. The Flyers could lose a pretty good player. With all the young prospects in the system. This would be a perfect time for General Manager Ron Hextall to use this as a salary dump. For that reason, I could very well see Jakub Voracek being exposed by the Flyers, and being scooped up by an organization that needs some play making veterans to assert themselves in their inaugural season.

The Flyers could have a solid core of young Defensemen by 2020. As it may appear, the orange and black could lose a young Defenseman. For instance, Samuel Morin or Travis Sanheim/Philippe Myers, whomever the Flyers can’t protect. Here’s my protection list for Flyers Defensmen (Assuming the Flyers-use the 7-3-1 method):

Defenseman:

Philippe Myers

Shayne Gostisbehere

Ivan Provorov

A handshake deal will keep Seattle away from selecting at the very least Sanheim. I can really see Hextall playing “Let’s make a deal,” like other General Managers did with George Mcphee of the Vegas Golden Knights, to keep his young star in Sanheim with the club for the foreseeable future.

Andre your continued support is amazing. Without you our site doesn’t exist today. May God continue to bless you and your family.

@ryanswope- I really want you to talk about Scott Laughton. We discussed this in the past. I know recently Hexy and Hack talked about Jordan Weal stepping up and becoming much more important and figuring out his game and elevating it to a higher level going into this year. But I really also want to see Laughton be on the third line. So much of what he does doesn’t get put on the stat sheet. He really goes all out and puts so much frustration on the opposing players. I know Patrick too is very important. I love Patrick. He also needs to be used a lot of course. His second half last year was very good. But I really want them to find a way to have Laughton be used more in important situations especially when in pressure situations and shut down situations. Do you feel they can somehow use him a lot on the third line as well as in penalty kill situations and times they are needing to get after it’s opponents and not sit back. He doesn’t get to do that on the 4th line. Laughton is a third liner in my eyes. He needs to be out there more. They are missing and overlooking the skills he has and them not being able to show on or be displayed when he plays on the 4th line because of him not needing to give or do as much since he’s not going up against better players.

One thing that Valtteri Filppula did to the Flyers last season was block Scott Laughton from being a third line Center. The orange and black could have known exactly what ceiling they have in Laughton, if he was given a shot at such last season. Laughton will try to impress this Training Camp for the third line Center position. He will do everything in his power to make it.

Unfortunately, it sounds like Jordan Weal may be the front runner for the position, with the way Ron Hextall has recently talked of Weal. However, this could be a motion to motivate Laughton this off-season. Laughton will take on a bigger role this coming season. He will be used on a struggling PK Corps, and let’s say he doesn’t win the third line Center position to start the season. Laughton still had a 10 goal, and 10 assist season, with an intermixing fourth line unit at times last season. Simply put, all hope is not gone for him. He could start out the season as fourth line Center, and then see time as third line Center as the year progresses. Anything is possible, as I have high hopes for Laughton this coming season.

Ryan thanks so much for your support. God bless you and your family. This site wouldn’t be here without your support. “Good night, Good hockey,” my friend.

If you would like to see your questions submitted in our weekly mailbag. Just submit your question on our Facebook page or on Twitter using #Flyersmail. This mailbag will continue throughout the off-season. Just because the season is over, we don’t stop here at this site. Thanks to all the fans for another great mailbag, and Let’s go Flyers. Without your support we wouldn’t be here today.

 

 

Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Jamey Baskow, 34, Flyers Guru, Sports Enthuiast
Follow me on Twitter@JameyBaskow

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