The beginning of a new season for both the Flyers and the NHL means it’s another chance to be wrong about the upcoming season. Surely, no one could have predicted all of the changes made mid-season by the Flyers during a year that quickly snowballed into another missed playoff appearance.
With the start of another season, our Flyers staff takes a shot at some predictions for both the Flyers and the rest of the league.
What is the Key to the Flyers Season?
Kevin Durso - Defense, Defense, Defense. Every year, it seems like goaltending is the biggest issue. This season, the Flyers appear to have a goaltending tandem in place, led by their 21-year-old budding star. While the goaltending itself may not be an issue. The play around the netminder has been for several years. The biggest key to the Flyers success is cutting down on goals against in any way possible -- that’s even strength breakdowns, turnovers that lead to transitions, penalty killing. It all applies and the Flyers need to show improvement in all areas when defending to just give their goalie a chance.
Rob Riches - How players can adapt to Alain Vigneault’s system, and how long it can take to get their legs under them as a result. Vigneault is the no-nonsense type, as we’ve seen flashes of so far in the preseason, and a stark contrast from the mild-mannered Dave Hakstol. Guys like Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek and Sean Couturier, who were around during the Peter Laviolette era, have an idea of what it was like. There’s definitely a big adjustment the Flyers are in store for, and how they respond will play a pivotal role for them.
Matt Mastrogiovanni - Consistency. Giving 100 percent effort night in and night out, strong starts, playing with a chip on their shoulder, and proving that last season was just a nasty bump in the road.
Jeff Quake - Getting off to a good start. The last several years the Flyers have not gotten off to the best starts and always found themselves playing catch up in the end when it matters most. This year Philadelphia needs to get off to not only a strong first few games, but a strong month. With new coaching in every spot, this year will look vastly different than any of the last three (Dave Hakstol's entire tenure). Everywhere from offense, to special teams, to defense.
Players to Watch
Kevin Durso - Ivan Provorov - It was a disappointing third season for Provorov and he’ll be looking for a rebound year. The Flyers leader in ice time is going to carry a lot of responsibility once again in leading the defense.
Rob Riches - Shayne Gostisbehere - Considering how up-and-down his game has been since setting the world on fire in his 2015-16 rookie campaign, I’m curious to see what he can do alongside Justin Braun or Matt Niskanen — an experience vet who can take on the tough defensive minutes while allowing ‘Ghost’ to unleash his tools offensively.
Matt Mastrogiovanni - Shayne Gostisbehere - He's had an up and down career so far. Last season, he was pretty bad, yet with a new coaching staff and defensive partner could benefit from the changes and flourish like his first, almost Norris-caliber season.
Jeff Quake - Kevin Hayes - Hayes has a lot to prove in his first year with the Flyers, just like Bryce Harper had to with the Phillies after both signed rather large contracts. However, slotting him in as the number two center and already having prior experience playing for Alain Vigneault will help both him and the team. I expect Hayes to put up 50-60 points this year.
Kevin Durso - The Flyers will win a round in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Rob Riches - Carter Hart will deal with adversity at multiple points in the season, but he’ll bounce back pretty strong.
Matt Mastrogiovanni - A late season surge propels the Flyers into a playoff berth and they make a splash in the postseason.
Jeff Quake - Travis Konecny will score 40 goals.
|Leading Scorer||Goals by Defenseman||Players with 10+ Goals||Leader in PP Goals||Final PK Ranking||Total Combined Goals for Joel Farabee and Morgan Frost||Metropolitan Division Finish|
|Kevin Durso||Claude Giroux (87)||Shayne Gostisbehere (12)||10||James van Riemsdyk (13)||15th||15||4th|
|Rob Riches||Claude Giroux (101)||Travis Sanheim (12)||11||Sean Couturier (12)||16th||27||4th|
|Matt Mastrogiovanni||Claude Giroux (97)||Ivan Provorov (17)||14||Sean Couturier (12)||12th||22||4th|
|Jeff Quake||Sean Couturier (101)||Shayne Gostisbehere (15)||13||Claude Giroux (18)||22nd||34||3rd|
NHL Division Winners
|Atlantic Division||Metropolitan Division||Central Division||Pacific Division|
|Kevin Durso||Tampa Bay Lightning||Washington Capitals||Nashville Predators||Vegas Golden Knights|
|Rob Riches||Tampa Bay Lightning||Washington Capitals||Nashville Predators||Vegas Golden Knights|
|Matt Mastrogiovanni||Tampa Bay Lightning||Washington Capitals||Colorado Avalanche||Calgary Flames|
|Jeff Quake||Tampa Bay Lightning||Washington Capitals||Colorado Avalanche||Vegas Golden Knights|
NHL Playoff Results
|Eastern Conference Champion||Western Conference Champion||Stanley Cup Champion|
|Kevin Durso||Tampa Bay Lightning||Vegas Golden Knights||Vegas Golden Knights|
|Rob Riches||Boston Bruins||Calgary Flames||Boston Bruins|
|Matt Mastrogiovanni||Washington Capitals||Colorado Avalanche||Colorado Avalanche|
|Jeff Quake||Carolina Hurricanes||Vegas Golden Knights||Vegas Golden Knights|
|Art Ross||Hart||Vezina||Jack Adams||Maurice Richard||Norris||Calder|
|Kevin Durso||Nikita Kucherov (TB)||Connor McDavid (EDM)||Ben Bishop (DAL)||Joel Quenneville (FLA)||Alex Ovechkin (WSH)||Brent Burns (SJ)||Kaapo Kakko (NYR)|
|Rob Riches||Nikita Kucherov (TB)||Connor McDavid (EDM)||Carey Price (MTL)||Jeremy Colliton (CHI)||Nikita Kucherov (TB)||Seth Jones (CBJ)||Cale Makar (COL)|
|Matt Mastrogiovanni||Connor McDavid (EDM)||Connor McDavid (EDM)||Andrei Vasilevskiy (TB)||Joel Quenneville (FLA)||Alex Ovechkin (WSH)||Victor Hedman (TB)||Jack Hughes (NJ)|
|Jeff Quake||Nikita Kucherov (TB)||Nathan MacKinnon (COL)||Carey Price (MTL)||Joel Quenneville (FLA)||Alex Ovechkin (WSH)||Drew Doughty (LA)||Jack Hughes (NJ)|