Season number 51 for the Philadelphia Flyers is in the books, and depending on how you look at it, some would call it a success. Expectations weren’t the highest going into the season, but there were goals many fans expected them to accomplish.
Rookies were brought up, a new goalie was brought in, and our hopes and dreams were brought crashing down in game 6 of the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. We experienced the lows of a ten-game losing streak in November and December, and the highs of a ten-game point streak in February. Many overtimes, shootouts, games that should have been won in regulation. Simply put, calling this season a roller coaster doesn’t even do it justice.
We watched the number 2 overall pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft come out of his shell once Hakstol moved him to the second line, and look like the best player on the ice in his first ever playoff series. We saw rookie blue liner Robert Hagg lead the league in hits for a majority of the season, and finish 7th overall after sitting for the last few weeks of the season. We even saw Travis Sanheim crack the lineup, along with Oskar Lindblom as well.
This season was Sean Couturier’s coming out party, where he let the whole NHL know that he isn’t just a shut-down forward anymore, he’s going to score on you as well. He also was named a finalist, finally, for the Frank J. Selke award. This was also Claude Giroux’s best season ever, putting up over 100 points in the orange and black for the first time since Lindros donned the colors. He could also be in the running for some hardware this offseason, being mentioned as a possible finalist for the Hart Trophy.
Ivan Provorov staked his claim as one of the best defensemen in the league, and Shayne Gostisbehere reminded the league how lethal he can be when he has the puck on his stick. The two defensemen together formed one of the best offensive defensive pairings in the league, and people took notice.
The goaltender situation started out well, with Brian Elliott taking the helm and looking pretty darn good, too. Neuvirth would come in relief every now and then, until the injury bug hit hard. Elliott went down against Arizona, and Neuvy went down shortly thereafter, leaving he Flyers goaltender situating in dire straits. Hextall reached into his bag of tricks and acquired Petr Mrazek from Detroit, and boom, problem solved.
Mrazek started out on fire with the orange and black, but that faded quicker than a candle in the cold November rain, right Axl? The crease was the achilleas heel of the Flyers for the umpteenth time in how many years. However, things are looking up, and the cavalry is on the way in the form of 19-year-old Carter Hart, and the Flyer faithful is growing more impatient by the second.
This was one of the craziest seasons I have endured in my 27 years of existence. I said at the beginning of the year that the Flyers would squeak into the playoffs on the last day of the season, and I couldn’t believe I was right. I said the Penguins would win in 6 games, and I was right again, although upset at the outcome.
I’m not here to toot my own horn though, I’m here to salute you, the reader.
When I began writing here for Philly Sports Network, I had no journalism background. I had no experience writing for a website. I was a news photographer, now financial solutions advisor. This was a passion project, but little did I know, this would become one of the most rewarding accomplishments of my life.
I was given the chance of a lifetime to write for a team that I grew up watching and rooting for. I never would have thought that what I do would spark so many wonderful discussions amongst friends, family, and complete strangers. Those strangers, are now friends, and those friends, are now family. You have all been so incredible in my first year of writing for this website, and I am forever indebted to all of you.
Without you all, my word would mean nothing more than a few words typed down on a Microsoft word document. To some of you, my word means just that. However, I want my word to be an invitation. With every article I write, I want to invite you into a discussion. Whether you agree or disagree, whether you think I made a great point or something I said struck a nerve, let me hear it!
I digress. The point I am trying to make here, is that writing has become an escape for me, and every one of your responses, criticisms, and compliments, I have taken to heart. I wouldn’t have this platform if it weren’t for you. So this article won’t be about the Flyers. It won’t be about whether or not Dave Hakstol should be on the hot seat. It won’t even be about the terrible decision making exemplified by Radko Gudas in game 6.
No, this article is about all of you reading this right now. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for giving me the opportunity to do what I love to do. Thank you for following, not just me, but the whole PSN Flyers crew this season, and making it one of the most special seasons I will ever be a part of. To break it down in the simplest of terms that I can, and I mean simple, because I’m not exactly the brightest street lamp on the block, thank you for reading a normal Joe’s, in this instance Derrik’s, opinions and engaging him in conversation about a team he enjoys covering.
This season was a dream. You people made it reality. Please, continue to support all of us, continue to conversate with us. Continue expressing your opinions. We love it when you do. You guys all made this possible, and for that, we thank you, and I thank you.
Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports