It’s never to early to look ahead right? The Flyers are only 28 games into the 2018-2019 season and we’re already talking about who potentially may not be here next season. But the fact of the matter is that the Flyers are struggling and can’t seem to find consistency. So why not dive in and see what current Flyers won’t be here when the 2019-2020 season gets underway.
Goalie- Brian Elliott:
You really can’t say “Moose” has played terrible in his tenure with the Orange and Black. What you can say is that he has been inconsistent. Elliott signed with the Flyers last offseason when the Flyers were desperate for a starting goaltender. Some people were ecstatic and others were disappointed with the signing. After this season comes to an end though, he will become a unrestricted free agent. The 6’2″ goaltender has turned in average results as a Flyer and that’s just not good enough for the Flyers to contend with the top teams in the Eastern Conference. Last season, Elliot finished with a 23-11-7 record with a 2.66 GAA and a .909SV%. Those numbers are far from terrible but they’re also far from great. Not to mention he is currently on the shelf with a lower body injury. He’s 33 years old and beginning to regress. The Flyers need someone who is younger and someone who can be that reliable and consistent goalie this team needs. That leads to the conclusion that Brian Elliott will not be resigned this off-season and will be forced to test free agency.
Goalie- Michal Neuvirth:
Where do I even begin with Neuvy? Oh yeah, that’s right, injuries. Michal Neuvirth has had his chance with this team. People say “he’s good when he’s healthy”. The problem is he never is healthy anymore. He seems to get hurt every time he steps out on the ice. Last season, Neuvirth played in only 22 games going 9-7-3 finishing with a goals against average of 2.60 and a save percentage of .915. That’s not bad. The problem is that when the Flyers needed him most, he was sitting up in the press box dressed in a suit and tie ruled out with some type of injury. The funny thing about this is that Neuvirth could be a pretty solid goaltender if he could stay healthy. He could even start for some teams, but he wont get the chance to do that anytime soon if he doesn’t figure out a way to stay on the ice. I can almost guarantee he definitely wont get the opportunity to do that with the Flyers. The fans are ready to move on and I have a really strong gut feeling that the front office is to.
LW- Michael Raffl:
The Flyers PK is already a disgrace. They currently rank last in the NHL in that department with a PK percentage of 71.7%. But without Michael Raffl, that percentage could be a lot worse. He has been by far the Flyers best asset on the penalty kill this season along with Scott Laughton. The problem with Raffl is he doesn’t produce enough offensively. In fact, since the beginning of the 2016-17 season, Raffl has played in a total of 142 games but tallied only 37 points. Not to mention he hasn’t scored yet this year and tallied only four assists in 14 games played. I really believe the Flyers need someone who can provide more offense. Don’t get me wrong, he is a hard working player who definitely gives it his all everyday, but unless he’s willing to sign somewhere between a one to two year contract worth very little money, the Flyers will let him go. Will they go out and find a replacement for Raffl? That is not yet known. They may use someone like Mikhail Vorobyev or next season on the penalty kill. We will just have to wait and see.
Its not easy to say, but there’s a high percentage chance “The Wayne Train” will be leaving the station either before the trade deadline or after the season comes to an end. Simmonds reportedly is looking for a pretty big contract and the Flyers just aren’t willing to give it to him. I cant say I blame them either. Sure Simmonds is great on the powerplay, but 5 on 5 he doesn’t produce enough. The 6’2″ right wing has no doubt netted plenty of goals the past few seasons. In fact, he has scored 65 goals since going back to the start of the 2016-17 season. The only problem is that 29 of those goals have come on the powerplay. It’s not a bad thing, but the Flyers need someone who can be a bit more effective when at even strength. Which brings me to my next point. Why not trade Simmons before the trade deadline? I mean the guy can clearly provide a spark offensively on the powerplay. He’s definitely an asset many teams would like to acquire. Whether he’ll be a rental or not who knows. The good thing is that the Flyers will get someone or something in return for him. By this, I mean a few draft picks which isn’t such a bad thing. If you don’t trade him then he gets set free and the Flyers get nothing in return. You have to be smart in this situation and I’m curious to see what Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher does with # 17. We will just have to sit back and watch.
Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports