Finally the Philadelphia Flyers will begin pounding the ice. It will be a feel good season for the orange and black. More importantly, their proud orange clad fans will have tons to cheer about. The words are coming out of my mouth from a famous singer Cece Peniston, “Finally it has happened to me right in front of my face, My feelings can’t describe it.” It’s no secret that the Flyers must get off to a good early start this season. With a young team being fragile, the orange and black can ill afford a bad start to the season.
The youth infusion that the orange and black will undergo this season has inspired so many people throughout the region. Gone are the days of overspending, as we don a new era of Flyers hockey. Some of these young great prospects from the farm system made the big club. Will all of them work out? Maybe not, but some will. This has Flyers fans pumped for the most anticipated in recent memory. Without further delay here is the season preview for your 2017-18 Flyers.
1.) Giroux, Couturier, Voracek
2.) Weal, Patrick, Simmonds
3.) Weise, Filppula, Konecny
4.) Leier, Laughton, Raffl
While looking at these formidable lines. The two lines that stick out the most are the top and the fourth lines. What once started out as an experiment with Giroux shifting to the left wing, who would have thought this move would become permanent. This shows the Flyers top brass that he is all in on the season. Giroux will do anything for the the orange and black to have a successful season. Coming off a great camp, one has to hope for a rebound year for the engine that runs the Flyers.
Konecny, Weal, Patrick, and Simmonds have all had good camps. Konecny has been all over the ice, and looks possessed at times. While Weal has been the same way throughout the pre-season. Patrick of course just made the big club after a successful pre-season campaign. Simmonds is Simmonds, and he is a beast that is the heart and soul of this team. Unfortunately, Weise is not a 3rd line player. He is more of a grinder at this stage in his career. One would think Matt Read would be placed there, but he was placed on waivers yesterday afternoon as a temporary measure for Shayne Gostisbehere’s injury.
This could possibly be the best fourth line in a long time for the Flyers. I cannot recall a better fourth line unit that could put the puck in the back of the net at any given time. Raffl has previously had a 20 goal season. Laughton and Leier are out to show the top brass that they are both mainstays in the NHL. This line could wreak havoc for opponents. All in all the two lines that could see some work are the second and 3rd lines. Here are the pre-season stats for these four players:
Patrick- 3 assists, and was a plus 3 in 7 pre-season games.
Konecny- 3 goals, and 3 assists for 6 points in 7 pre-season games played.
Weal- 1 assist and was a plus 1 in 6 pre-season games played.
Simmonds- 2 goals, and 2 assists for 4 points in 4 pre-season games played.
1.) Provorov, Macdonald
2.) Gostisbehere, Hagg
3.) Manning, Gudas
As it stands right now no one knows except for General Manager Ron Hextall and the Flyers top brass, who has won the last bid for a defensive position. The Flyers enter Wednesday night carrying a total of 8 defenseman. Of course this is due to the upper body injury to Gostisbehere. However, he did travel with the team yesterday to California so that is an encouraging sign. The Flyers will not carry 8 defenseman all season, rather it will be the norm of 7. Honestly, Travis Sanheim is on the outside looking in here, as Samuel Morin is more seasoned for the NHL. Whomever makes the big club they will start, and Manning will be the extra defenseman. As previously stated this will all become clear after the Flyers receive the diagnosis from Gostisbehere’s injury.
Macdonald and Provorov played together last season. Unfortunately, if Provorov should break out offensively this year as we all hope, then he needs a new partner. Hagg should be better suited to play with a force in Provorov. Hagg is much better in transition from what we saw in the pre-season, than Macdonald.
Elliott comes to the Flyers after signing a 2-year $5.5 million this past off-season. He took the Calgary Flames back to the playoffs last season, while posting a 2.55 GAA, and a .910 save percentage. After a rocky start to the 2016-17 season, Elliott was rock solid the second half of the year. He managed to post a record of 26-18-3. In 3 games played this pre-season, Elliott posted a 1-1 record with a 2.58 GAA, and a .896 save percentage. Moreover, Elliott made 60 saves on 67 shots faced. For the majority of his career he has played in a tandem. This year shall be no different as Head Coach Dave Hakstol has publicly stated the Flyers would ride the hot hand for goaltending.
Neuvirth enters the new season healthy and ready to go. For the pre-season he posted a 2.31 GAA, and a .917 save percentage good for a 0-0-1 record in 2 games played. Moreover, Neuvirth faced 48 shots and made 44 saves. The one question mark for Neuvirth is can he stay healthy. If the Flyers are successful this season, then the goaltending has to be far better than last season.
This season will be a season of good fortune for the orange and black. The Flyers will rebound and make the playoffs with 102 points, good for 3rd in the division. I remain optimistic this year due to the youth infusion, and I personally believe the goaltending will be far better than last year. Giroux is the engine that runs the Flyers, and he will post 82-85 points in this rebound season. The proud orange clad fans need something to cheer about, so Let’s Get Flyered Up for the Orange Crush.
Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports