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 season in recent memory. Without further delay here is the season preview for your 2019-20 Flyers.
1.) Giroux, Couturier, Konecny
2.) Lindblom, Hayes, Voracek
3.) JVR, Laughton, Farabee
4.) Raffl, Bunnaman, Twarynski
Unfortunately, the injury to Nolan Patrick put a damper on four balanced lines. However, the Flyers now have the depth down the middle to withstand such an injury. Thankfully Chuck Fletcher signed Kevin Hayes. Just imagine how the top brass would be scrambling to fill such a void left by Patrick’s injury.
Hayes will be an intrical part to the Flyers overall success, to include the Penalty Kill. Much like how important Claude Giroux is for the club. Coming off a great camp, Giroux will have another solid year garnering 90 points for the engine that runs the Flyers. Hayes playing with Voracek has sure rubbed off in a good way, “He’s a real smart player,” Voracek said following a victory against the Boston Bruins, “It’s still preseason but we are both big guys and there is no reason not to be on the puck most of the time, especially in the O zone because he is smart and is really good defensively, so it gives me more leeway to take more chances.”
Konecny, Couts, Farabee, Bunnaman, Hayes, JVR, and Twarynski have all had good camps. Konecny has been all over the ice, and looks possessed at times. On the other hand, the Flyers needed a threat while being a man or two down, and Hayes provides just that.
While Joel Farabee has really opened some eyes throughout the pre-season, he can play both the Penalty Kill and Power Play. He provides much needed depth on both sides of the ice. Farabee is committed to a two-way game, and that is a breath of fresh air as he does it well. He is a complete 200ft player. The only question of Farabee is can he physically last an 82 game season.
Patrick is fresh off his second year in the NHL, and will hopefully make his season debut at some point. He will have to remain healthy in order for him to be consistent. Points will soon begin to flourish for this young kid, but he just has to stay healthy. Couts is Couts, and he is the leader this team so desperately needs. Finally, Couts appears to be 100% healthy, and he will post an 85 point season (39g, 46a), en route to his first Selke Trophy (Best Defensive Forward).
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 previously had a 20 goal season, while Bunnaman proved in his first pro season he knows how to find twine. Both Bunnaman and Twarynski are out to show the top brass that they are mainstays in the NHL. This line could wreak havoc for opponents in the early going. All in all these lines should work in unison with one another for a balanced well-oiled machine, at least until Patrick is 100%. Here are the pre-season statistics for all these players mentioned:
Giroux- 4 assists, 3 pre-season games played.
Konecny- 2 goals, 3 pre-season games played.
Couts- 1 assist, 3 pre-season games played.
Farabee- 0 points (Snake bit) in 4 pre-season games played
Bunnaman- 1 goal, 4 pre-season games played
Twarynski- 2 goals, 5 pre-season games played
Voracek- 1 goal, and 3 assists in 4 pre-season games played. Tied with Giroux in Flyers scoring during the pre-season.
Predictions for Forwards:
Giroux will post 90 points.
Farabee will stay with the Flyers well past his 9 game tryout.
JVR will flourish again, and pot 35 goals.
Voracek will post another 80 point season, 87 to be exact.
1.) Provorov – Niskanen
2.) Ghost – Braun
3.) Sanheim – Myers
For the first time in a few years. The Flyers enter their opening contest with a clear understanding of who has made the team defensively. The orange and black enter Saturday night carrying a total of eight defensemen. Robert Hagg, and Samuel Morin will be the extra defensemen.
The Provorov/Niskanen pairing will be insane. These two will wreak havoc on their opponents on a nightly basis, and both will transition out of the zone with ease.
Ghost and Braun worked fantastic together throughout camp and the pre-season. It was like they played with each other for years. Braun is an excellent penalty killer, and makes smart decisions with the puck, to transition from defense to offense. Moreover, Braun also makes it difficult for opponents to enter the offensive zone, as he is very good at standing up players at the blue line. Ghost will rebound in a big way, and post a 60 point season. Sanheim has been pretty good, and he is very tough to beat one-on-one, which is very encouraging entering Saturday’s contest.
Predictions for Defenseman:
Sanheim will finish the season with a plus 12 rating.
Provorov will post a 45 point season.
Ghost will have 19 Goals/”Ghost bombs,” and post a 60 point season.
Goaltending entering Saturday’s contest.
1.) Carter Hart
2.) Brian Elliott
Carter Hart enters his first full season as a Flyer, and this one will be no sophmore slump. Hart will be the Flyers best Penalty Killer all season, thus moving the Penalty Kill to within the top 10 in the league. A Goaltender has to be the most important Penalty Killer, and Hart will do just that. Hart made 56 saves on 57 shots faced this pre-season, which gives him a whopping .982 Save Percentage.
The key for Brian Elliott is staying healthy. The Flyers will need him for approximately 35 appearances. Hopefully, he is able to provide that for the Flyers this season.
Prediction for Goaltenders:
Hart will post a 2.45 GAA, with a .915 Save Percentage
Elliott will appear in 34 contests
This season will be a season of good fortune for the orange and black. The Flyers will rebound and make the playoffs again with 99 points, good for 3rd in the division. I remain optimistic this year due to the youth infusion, the new coaching staff, and the goaltending will be far better than last year. Moreover, using some key young players like Lindblom, Laughton, and Farabee on the Penalty Kill should help that once struggling unit. The proud orange clad fans need something to cheer about, so Let’s Get Flyered Up for the Orange Crush.
The statistics in this article does not include the exhibition in yesterday’s game against Lausanne HC.
Mandatory Photo Credit: AP Photo/Tom Mihalek