Ten games have come and gone. The Philadelphia Flyers are a commendable 6-2-2. Within the Metropolitan Division, they’re in third place. Good enough to pace for a playoff spot early on. Now, the Flyers are hot on the tail of the New York Rangers for sole ownership of second.
Looking solely at the 6-2-2 record, Philadelphia is a dangerous team. The record doesn’t accurately imply how lethal this 2021-2022 Flyers team could be. Ryan Ellis played three games. Kevin Hayes and Wade Allison missed every game thus far.
A lot of people underestimated Philadelphia’s depth. Derick Brassard is an “Alain Vigneault guy” who contributed seven points in ten contests. Nick Seeler, a “Chuck Fletcher guy,” has become a more permanent fixture than Ellis.
The two former teammates, reuniting on the Flyers, are generating a sort of career renaissance.
Braun and Brilliant
If there is a silver lining from last season, it’s the bond established between Justin Braun and Ivan Provorov. He’s been brilliant in place of Ryan Ellis.
Braun hasn’t been exclusive to the third pair with Keith Yandle. This season, he’s off to as good of a start he had in 2019-2020. In the second year of his extension received before 2020-2021, Braun is turning back time a little bit.
$1.8mil per season for two years, especially after 2020-2021, seemed like an allergic reaction to Matt Niskanen retiring.
He’s trending closer to his 2013-2014 performance as a San Jose Shark. Back then, Braun had seventeen points and was on the good side of puck control. He also led all Sharks defensemen in defensive-zone draws that season. His performance at 34-years-old is close to how he performed when he was 26.
For a point of reference, he’s Braun over ten games:
- Seven points. (1G, 6A)
- Mitigating giveaways, but on the wrong side of puck control.
- Averaging 1min less TOI compared to 2013-2014.
Sure, Braun may have lost a step eight years later. That’ll contribute to being pick-pocketed more often. He’s still a key contributor to a 6-2-2 Philadelphia Flyers team in 2021-2022, as he was in 2013-2014 during San Jose’s 8-1-1 start.
Jonesing For A Rebirth
Chuck Fletcher took a gamble on Martin Jones. Last season, he didn’t have a winning record. Brian Elliott did and took on the starting load of the Philadelphia Flyers goaltending.
Fletcher took $2mil, pushed it to the center of the table, and placed his bet. After a 3-0-0 start when called upon, he may have hit the backup goaltender jackpot with Jones in 2021-2022.
It’s the third time Jones has started with three wins in his career. The first time was with the Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings in 2013-2014. Then he did with the San Jose Sharks (and Justin Braun) in 2015-2016 on the road to another Stanley Cup appearance. Now, it’s the Flyers (again with Braun.)
The engaging trend is what happens to the team when Jones begins with a 3-0-0 record.
Could Philadelphia trend towards the Stanley Cup? It’s too early to tell. Coincidence or not, Jones has been a brick wall between the pipes. Carter Hart is on a bounce-back of his own from last season. Chalk this acquisition as another victory for Fletcher and a complement to Kim Dillabaugh.
Braun Helped Sell Jones
Chuck Fletcher built a team around locker room chemistry, veteran leadership, and mentorship. The real victory would be to sustain the success two seasons in a row. Over the last decade, the Philadelphia Flyers were synonymous with mediocrity. Surrounding younger players with veteran mentors could mature this roster shortly.
Justin Braun helped direct Fletcher in securing Martin Jones.
“He’s a great teammate. Great guy to play behind,” Jones said of Braun back in July. Before signing, Braun noted that many of the goals allowed by Jones in 2020-2021 were “impossible” to stop. The overall feeling was that Jones is better than he’s shown recently, especially in a rekindled relationship with coach Kim Dillabaugh.
Right now, Braun’s analysis of 2020-2021 Jones was accurate. He’s giving Philadelphia his best in place of Carter Hart.
The Flyers were poised to return to form this season. Hart won’t make every start. Ryan Ellis requires more tender loving care than the “City of Brotherly Love” expected. Despite that, the waters are calm. Two ships crossed at different times from San Jose to Philadelphia.
Photo Credit: Alex McIntyre