Can the hockey season just come on already? Many die-hard hockey fanatics are chomping at the bit to kick off the 2018-19 NHL season. Rightfully so, as the Flyers look to become a more consistent hockey team this year.
Ron Hextall shocked the hockey world with opening the teams wallet with the addition of a once beloved Winger in James Van Riemsdyk. Hextall then added some blueline depth last week with the addition of RHD Penalty Killing specialist in Christian Folin. One question remains are the Flyers done adding this off-season? For the time being yes, but that doesn’t rule out the possibility of trades. Moreover, Hextall will hopefully have some house cleaning to do with re-upping Ivan Provorov, Travis Konecny, and Wayne Simmonds. Without further delay, here are our answers to your questions.
Isaac Ratcliffe is an absolute freak of nature, that looks possessed. Ratcliffe is turning into a steal, and he’s more than proving that Ron Hextall was right moving up in the draft to snag him in the 2nd round (35th overall) of the 2017 NHL Draft.
Ratcliffe will be the Captain of the Guelph Storm for the 2018-19 season. He appears to be one to two years away at this point. However, Ratcliffe could be one reason Hextall trades Simmonds eventually (assuming Simmonds resigns), when Ratcliffe proves he’s ready for the big show. The young prospect in Ratcliffe stated to Charlie O’ Connor at Developmental Camp that he can play both Right Wing and Left Wing. This affords Hextall a ton of flexibility and wiggle room to make a move or not.
Mike thanks so much for the support. Your support is amazing. Can’t say thanks enough. Your podcast for @flyersfaceoff on Saturday’s is a goodie.
Would you do a pros and cons analysis of moving G to center? #Flyersmail
— Patrick Powell (@Gordsie) July 12, 2018
Pros: I had to search long and hard with the roster as is, for a pro in regards to moving Claude Giroux back to Center. The only pro I could find is that it would make the Flyers deep down the middle. As the roster stands right now the Centers to start the season would be in no particular order Giroux, Sean Couturier, Nolan Patrick, and Scott Laughton (If Giorux was moved back to Center).
Nolan Patrick- Why stunt his growth? Let’s see what this god gifted young man can do in a large expanded role.
Why mess with something good- Couturier, Giroux, and Travis Konecny had career years. Let’s keep them together for a full season as a trio.
Couturier- “Couts,” was nominated as a Selke Candidate because he became an offensive powerhouse.
Young Prospects- Let’s see what the Flyers have in Scott Laughton (Possibly 3rd line Center), Mikhail Vorobyev, Mike Vecchione, and possibly Morgan Frost.
Patrick I cannot thank you enough for all your support. You’re the man. Without you this site doesn’t exist today. God bless you and your family.
This move of keeping Lappy as the PK coach shocked me this off-season. I thought Lappy would be toast, and moved to within another part of the organization when the season ended. Lappy is a great guy, and a class act. However, the PK has been horrid for years now. Last year the Flyers ranked 29th, almost dead last for the PK. Hopefully, the Flyers adopt the attack system this coming season, as the orange and black finally have the personnel to pull off this Defensive style. This type of Defensive style should help the PK, as this would make them more aggressive while being a man down. They wouldn’t sit back any longer waiting for their opponents to create with tons of space.
Alex I can’t thank you enough for your support. Your loyal support to this site is one main reason it’s up and running today. God bless you and your family.
The Flyers potentially have 5 goalies under contract Elliott, Neucy, Lyon, Hart & Stolie how do you see them utilized? Hart situated to get regular playing time & possibly starting goalie 4 Phantoms. Where do you see Stolie/Lyon used? Can LHV carry 3 goalies? Stolie 2 ECHL?
— Kevin Fortier #OskarStrong (@ksfortier) July 12, 2018
There are currently four goalies under contract for the Flyers. As of course you are aware Anthony Stolarz has yet to sign the qualifying offer the Flyers have presented. An interesting tidbit on Stolarz is he couldn’t file for arbitration, as he needs one more year as a pro until he can do such. One cannot blame him for not signing the offer, as it’s more than likely he will begin the season in ECHL with the Reading Royals, until of course an injury arises. This log jam at the goaltending position is great to have, however my fear is it may block Carter Hart from seeing game action with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Would Alex Lyon be ok being Hart’s backup? Who knows, I hope Hextall finds a way to move Michal Neuvirth, and is able to roll with a Brian Elliott/Alex Lyon tandem to start the season.
Kevin you’re an asset to phillyisflyer and now @flyersfaceoff pod cast on Saturday’s. Your knowledge of Flyers hockey makes me want to strive to get better. Thanks so much for your loyal support.
Why in the world would anyone consider Laughton at C over Weal? Laughton is a bust! Why does he get a free pass? If he were a legit NHLer- he would have embraced and excelled as a PK beast-he is not! Waste of a roster spot!
— Jay Shellem (@jay_shellem) July 12, 2018
Laughton has zero offensive skill where as Weal has great hands and instincts-has played with stiffs this past year!
— Jay Shellem (@jay_shellem) July 12, 2018
Scott Laughton had a decent campaign for the 2017-18 season, providing 10 goals, and chipping in 10 assists. He did everything he was asked of by Head Coach Dave Hakstol. Unfortunately, he was never given a shot as a third line Center, rather Valtteri Filppula occupied that role for the season. With that being said, we don’t know if Laughton could or could not handle that role on a full-time basis.
Laughton provides more size down the middle than Jordan Weal. The young 24 year old in Laughton stands at 6’1,” and weighs 177 pounds. Weal stands at 5’10,” and weighs 179 pounds. Weal certainly wasn’t lights out last year by no means, but I’m confident that he finds his groove this coming campaign. I like Weal. If Morgan Frost does not make the team, or Mikhail Vorobyev/Mike Vecchione can’t handle that role out of camp. Moreover, if Laughton wins the job over Weal, then I’m more than confident with Laughton as a third line Center. The Flyers gave up on prospects in the past, a la Patrick Sharp, and Sergei Bobrovsky. Let Laughton prove to us that he doesn’t deserve to be in that third line Center role. He may shock you in the end.
Jay as always thanks for your support. It means a lot, and we would not be here as a site without your support. God bless you and your family.
It’s very hard to gauge if Hextall would move on from his aging core at some point. I’m confident to say that the core will remain intact for at least this season, with the exception for maybe Wayne Simmonds (Trade possibly). Moreover, if the Flyers were looking to obtain Artemi Panarin on the Wing, then things could get a little interesting. Hextall has stated in the past he has faith in the core.
Don’t forget the expansion draft is looming in 2020. If Jakub Voracek is still here at this point, then it’s possible he is left exposed. Things will get interesting when the young prospects can possibly make the roster full-time, with the likes of Morgan Frost, Isaac Ratcliffe, German Rubtsov, Mikhail Vorobyev, and Matthew Strome just to name a few. Right now I do think Hextall is confident in his core, and will not move on from them yet.
Michael your support is amazing. I cannot express enough appreciation. We wouldn’t be here today without your support.
If Hak uses Christian Folin like he did Brandon Manning last year (as a ~4 defenseman, at times in all situations), at the expense of Sanheim or Hagg riding bench, at what point would Hexy step in?
— Mike Aceto (@Flyer_AF) July 12, 2018
Hextall will not allow that to happen at all this coming season. The young will play 100%. I will admit my wrong, if I’m wrong. Hextall gave Hakstol free reins last season at the expense of some of our youth. However, I think that struck a nerve with Hextall even though he backed Hakstol. Travis Sanheim, Robert Hagg, and possibly Philippe Myers (If he makes the team) will play full-time barring injuries. If an injury arises, then Christian Folin will play.
Mike thanks so much for your support. Without you this site wouldn’t be here today. Your doing a great job on the @flyersfaceoff podcast on Saturday’s.
How do you think the top 6 will shake out? Will they reunite the Giroux-Couturier-Voracek line and have JVR-Patrick-Konecny as line 2? Or will they keep Konecny up on line 1 to bring that speed element and Voracek on line 2 to make it a huge bruising power forward line with skill
— FauxlanPatrick (@FauxlanPatrick) July 12, 2018
Here are my Flyers lines as of right now:
Giroux, Couturier, Konecny
JVR, Patrick, Voracek
Lindblom, Laughton, Simmonds
Raffl, Vorobyev/Vecchione/Weal/, NAK/Weal
I agree with your assessment of Voracek on that second line. Let him feed JVR and Patrick all night long. The second line is a massively skilled line. I did not include Frost as a third line Center this year, as Hextall appeared to hint that he needs more time at the Developmental Camp presser with the media. However, if he blows the walls off at training camp, then Frost should make the club.
This is why I’m excited about JVR. He stated in a press release to the media following his signing, “I couldn’t be more excited to be coming back to Philadelphia. They have a great thing in place, and I’m happy to be a part of that now and I’m looking forward to getting on the ice.”
FauxlanPatrick I appreciate your support very much. This site wouldn’t be here today without your support.
Do you want any more moves this off-season?
— Be__a_Flyer (@Flyersfan281953) July 13, 2018
There are a few moves I would to see the Flyers make before the season starts in the fall. The first move I would love Hextall to make is finding a trading partner for Michal Neuvirth. This log jam at the goaltending position concerns me. I hope it doesn’t block Carter Hart from seeing live game action down with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, if indeed the Flyers ride with five goaltenders to start the season.
Another move I would love for the Flyers to make is to add Artemi Panarin from the Columbus Blue Jackets. However, I think this would be a move to make at the trade deadline. These are just wishes, as I like the roster as it currently stands. One thing is certain, the future is bright in Flyer land.
Flyers I cannot thank you enough for your loyal support. It means a lot, and you’re one reason why this site is still here today.
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: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports