(Photo: Kate Frese)
The Flyers roster was finalized on Monday, which means the next step is puck drop and the start of the 2018-19 season.
With a new season comes a clean slate, a fresh start to a new chapter in Flyers franchise history. There is always reason to have excitement at the start of a new season.
Here are four things to be excited for in 2018-19:
JVR and the Top 6 - After career years for Claude Giroux, Jake Voracek, Sean Couturier and Travis Konecny, adding a piece like James van Riemsdyk in free agency was a big splash for Ron Hextall. It should be a spark to take everything to the next level.
JVR should easily be an additional 25 goals. Giroux, Couturier and Konecny can be a lethal top line when everyone is clicking. JVR could have some great chemistry with Nolan Patrick and Voracek.
The Flyers are finally going to be rolling two top lines, and that should be a scary thing for defenses who were able to withstand the top line a year ago. There’s another wave or two behind the top three.
A Dynamic Top Pairing - Ivan Provorov and Shayne Gostisbehere can both give you those must-see moments.
Gostisbehere is an offensive dynamo. He’s got such good hands and a tremendous shot that he’s always an offensive threat. Provorov is just 21 years old and already a stud defenseman. He’s got the offensive tool and is an absolute workhorse on defense.
Here is the exciting part: both play on the same pairing. It’s already one of the better top pairings in the league.
Gostisbehere took a huge stride forward a year ago, bouncing back from a rough sophomore season and Provorov just continued to improve as the year went on. Both are poised for big things this season.
Year 2 of Nolan Patrick, Oskar Lindblom - Patrick is a firm part of the top six. Oskar Lindblom has a spot on the third line, but could easily jump into the top six with lineup shuffling.
Both are entering their second year in different places. Patrick’s skill and talent was never brought into question, but his health hindered him to start last season. There is no health issue to slow him down this year, so he should be on top of his game fairly early.
For Lindblom, it was an up and down year between the minors and the NHL. He had a great season with the Phantoms, earned some playing time with the Flyers in the last couple months of the season and the playoffs, but didn’t have the impact on the scoresheet that many had hoped. He showed flashes of talent and work ethic in his brief time with Flyers, but the points just weren’t coming for him. This season provides an opportunity to start fresh and be a high-end player with scoring talent.
A New Wave of Kids - Mikhail Vorobyev is the only prospect to make the team out of camp this year, but there are a wave of kids who are close.
First off, Vorobyev had a great camp and preseason, earning the third-line center spot. His development has gone so well and fans should be excited for a good two-way center to be joining the fold.
Additionally, Phil Myers and Carter Hart just missed the cut and are closing in on being NHL ready. Both should be fixtures of the team within a few seasons, but their time is coming. With all the Flyers goaltending woes and injuries, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Hart back up with the Flyers this season and Myers is essentially one injury away from getting the call.
It’s fair for them to start the season in the minors. Myers completed his first pro season last year and Hart is making the jump from juniors to pro this season. With such limited professional, maybe now is not the time for the NHL, but it’s getting close.