The Philadelphia Flyers issued their final roster. Now, we wait for tonight’s faceoff versus the New Jersey Devils at 7pm.
Last season was disastrous, and the odds remain stacked against the Flyers. The odds of them winning the Stanley Cup are +20000, per Draft Kings. Only the Chicago Blackhawks and Arizona Coyotes have worse odds.
Many believe Philadelphia will finish towards the bottom of the standings, but the team believes they’ll surprise critics, proving them wrong against a tough Metropolitan Division.
Eric Reese, Regina Ham, and I decided to provide our predictions for the 2022-2023 Flyers season. Our predictions will include team standing placement and points, the team leading scorer, the most improved player, and a surprise prediction. In 2021-2022, Philadelphia totaled 61pts (25-46-11) to finish eighth in the Metropolitan Division. Travis Konecny was the leading scorer, Travis Sanheim received the Pelle Lindbergh Memorial Trophy, and Claude Giroux went to the Florida Panthers at the NHL Trade Deadline.
Points/Finish: 83pts; 6th in Metropolitan Division
Against all odds, the Flyers avoid a last place finish in their division. Early this season, there will be growing pains in getting used to John Tortorella, but the players will noticeably improve. The Metropolitan Division is stacked and Philadelphia will hold their ground, competing.
Kevin Hayes, Joel Farabee, and eventually, Sean Couturier will help this roster grow while simultaneously remaining competitive. Tony DeAngelo fills a huge defensive void, will help drastically improve the powerplay, and the penalty kill under Brad Shaw already shows life. Finishing behind the Flyers will be the Columbus Blue Jackets and New York Islanders.
Leading Scorer: Owen Tippett
Tippett is poised for a breakout year. He was the centerpiece to the trade that sent Giroux to the Panthers. One of his strengths is attacking the net, and he creates a lot of scoring chances. It’s finishing that needs work.
He’ll find his scoring touch in 2022-2023. Alongside Hayes in the preseason, he found chemistry. Last season, he already featured in the top-nine forwards. He’ll ascend up the lineup and take on more responsibility on the powerplay.
Most Improved Player: Morgan Frost
If Tippett leads the team in points, a lot of that will benefit Morgan Frost. At the end of last season, Frost began to become more confident. He built upon that confidence during this training camp with Tortorella and the preseason, snagging three assists in five games.
Frost has the best opportunity to establish himself with Couturier still unavailable. He can also play along the wing, away from the middle; availability is the best ability. The kids are going to take a major step forward.
Biggest Surprise: Chuck Fletcher isn’t fired.
Without a postseason for the third consecutive season, the improvement on ice will meet the expectations set by Tortorella, saving Chuck Fletcher. He should be on the hot seat, despite a bad hand dealt in terms of injuries over the last two seasons.
On paper, his rosters could compete, but Murphy’s Law has a say. The upcoming season will challenge, but the expectation is stabilizing and improving upon 2021-2022. If my prediction hits, a 22pt increase in the standings keeps Fletcher in Philadelphia.
Points/Finish: 77pts; 8th in Metropolitan Division
They’ll be just good enough to likely not contend for Connor Bedard. Certainly, there is a spike in the points standings from 2021-2022, but not enough to consider 2022-2023 an improvement. Remember, the Flyers finished with the fourth worst record in the NHL. While 77pts is an improvement from 61pts, it won’t change the placement in the Metropolitan Division.
Leading Scorer: Tony DeAngelo
Philadelphia is a score by committee team. It’s why I’m looking away from forwards in terms of who leads the team in scoring.
DeAngelo, from the blue line, will rack up assists. Jamming traffic in front of opposing goaltenders will lead to prime scoring opportunities. One of the better net-front presences, James van Riemsdyk, could benefit largely from DeAngelo. By volume, DeAngelo will have more opportunities generally from the blue line and on the powerplay to score a point versus a forward unit spreading the wealth on committee.
Most Improved Player: Ivan Provorov
Ivan Provorov will benefit directly from DeAngelo. First, by subtraction.
At times, Provorov tries to do too much in the defensive zone. He isn’t the best option to quarterback a powerplay, either. It’s why Cam York was such an attractive addition before he was surprisingly cut.
For the first time since Matt Niskanen, Provorov has a steady partner. Ryan Ellis was supposed to take that position, but he likely will miss all of the upcoming season. Provorov has a lot to live up to in 2022-2023. Sanheim earned the Barry Ashbee Trophy, claiming his stake as the teams most outstanding defenseman. Provorov isn’t competing against the opponents; he’s also competing to show he’s the true 1LD.
Biggest Surprise: Fletcher creates cap space and acquires draft picks.
Something that doesn’t happen, but needs to.
As the Flyers are strapped to the cap, trades must be made to acquire picks and open cap space. Stabilizing the roster means figuring out what will and will not be on the roster in 2023-2024. Justin Braun, van Riemsdyk, and Frost all suggest trade value.
Frost is on a prove-it deal. His value will ascend. Braun and van Riemsdyk are veterans you hope to get a draft pick for at the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline. Last season, Braun returned a 2023 third-round pick. We’ll see how Fletcher feels about van Riemsdyk, who he didn’t package for Johnny Gaudreau.
Points/Finish: 70pts; 7th in Metropolitan Division
We’ve heard it all. “They’re going to finish last in the Metropolitan Division.” “They’re going to finish with the least amount of points in the NHL.”
Health is wealth for this team. If they are healthy, they’ll be a pain to play against.
Farabee could be in the lineup on opening night. Couturier and Ryan Ellis are out. There is a ton of youth on a well-conditioned roster, but the Metropolitan Division is the toughest featuring the Carolina Hurricanes, New York Rangers, and Washington Capitals. The Flyers won’t make the playoffs, but they’ll contest teams closely throughout the season.
Philadelphia will finish towards the back of the Metropolitan Division, in either sixth or seventh, breaking 65pts.
Leading Scorer: Cam Atkinson
Cam! Could he be the man? He’ll likely be the leading scorer.
He’ll miss the season opener and didn’t play during the preseason. “But Regina, how is he going to be a leader?” If anyone knows the way a Tortorella offense thrives, it is Cam Atkinson. A physical, fast winger, I predict he’ll score 24 goals in 2022-2023.
Hayes will give Atkinson a run for his money, becoming the workhorse of the team.
Most Improved Player: Travis Konecny
Konecny has something to prove in 2022-2023. He is a wildcard of sorts, on the doorstep of multiple 25 goal seasons during his career. In the preseason, he looked smooth against the Buffalo Sabres, putting a puck in the back of the net.
Alongside Farabee, Konecny is a critical cog of the forwards. Leading the team in points (52) last season, expect an uptick in goals scored in 2022-2023.
Biggest Surprise: DeAngelo trade pays off.
Trading for DeAngelo was an interesting decision. Controversial, he does fit the fabric of a Tortorella roster.
DeAngelo is smooth across the blue line and will support Provorov in the defensive zone. He addresses a team need to boost an awful Flyers powerplay. One of the better offensive minded defensemen in the NHL, DeAngelo could act as a significant boost on special teams.
(Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire)