It’s the most wonderful time of the year, right? The Philadelphia Flyers are currently third in the Metropolitan division, and have the fifth most points in the NHL. Four straight wins, allowing seven goals total, it’s safe to say the Flyers are on a roll.
Even taking into account their standing in the league, there’s still a few needs that fans, and writers like us, want to see the Flyers address. Given the time of year, a couple of us here at Philly Sports Network share what we have on our wish lists for the orange and black.
First and foremost, my Christmas wish is for Oskar Lindblom to beat cancer and get back to playing. Actually, my wish is for everyone who is fighting cancer to be able to beat it. Now onto hockey.
For the Flyers, my wish is for them to make a move for a veteran defenseman that can be paired with Phil Myers. Myers will eventually be on the top defensive pairing with Ivan Provorov. After watching how Provorov has grown with Matt Niskanen and how Justin Braun’s presence has helped Travis Sanheim, I am wondering if a veteran defensemen will help Myers reach his full potential. Now this may take work as the Flyers cap situation is not ideal. Who could help? Well, I would go after a left handed defender like Mark Giordano. Giordano, like Myers, was an undrafted free agent. Another option could be Alex Goligoski. This is just an idea as I’m not ready to give up on Shayne Gostisbehere.
The Stanley Cup Playoffs are the most eccentric playoffs in all of sports. Outside of Philadelphia, it is by far the most entertaining tournament. Mix that with the passion of Philadelphia fans, and you get the best atmosphere on earth.
The Wells Fargo Center may be lacking some attendance because of ticket prices, but start winning and the people will pay. Monday night’s game against the New York Rangers is a prime example of that. You felt the energy of the sell-out crowd through your TV. Please, Flyers, bring this playoff vibe back to Philadelphia.
On my Flyers Christmas list, I simply have the return of Nolan Patrick. His migraines list him as week-to-week, but like Chuck Fletcher, I’m confident he returns. Patrick would be a welcomed addition with Scott Laughton and Michael Raffl still not back. Philadelphia’s offense would receive a boost. At this rate, with a playoff appearance in mind, Patrick’s return would be the proverbial bow on top.
For me, it boils down to one thing. Win a round in the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Would I love for this team to bring the Stanley Cup to Philadelphia? Of course, I would. However, the realist in me can’t help but whisper the words “pump the brakes.” This team isn’t quite there yet. The uncertainty surrounding injuries and the gap between our veterans and young players have me wary of setting the bar too high. All I want is proof that this team is ascending instead of remaining in mediocre limbo. The current on-ice product has me hopeful and making it out of the first round of the postseason would maintain my optimism throughout the offseason.
Under Dave Hakstol, special teams took a bit of a back seat to other issues surrounding the team. This year, the penalty kill has been superb and the powerplay is finally finding its footing. I want sustained success with special teams.
The powerplay has come on as of late, registering a man-advantage tally in four of the past five games after coming up empty in six straight contests. Keeping up that pace on the powerplay isn’t too much to ask considering the weapons the Flyers have at their disposal.
The penalty kill has floundered a bit as of late, giving up six powerplay goals in five games. For the 10 games before that, they only gave up three powerplay goals. It’s been a little streaky, but the special teams have improved vastly from where they were last year.
If they Flyers can maintain this level of play on special teams, they will be a force to be reckoned with come April.
On behalf of all of us at Philly Sports Network, have a wonderful Holiday Season!