It’s no secret that frustration was felt to the highest level last month when the Flyers were essentially silent during free agency. With all eyes on the likes of Johnny Gaudreau and a potential “aggressive retool,” as self-stated by the organization, the Flyers instead brought back Justin Braun, signed fourth-line forward Nicolas Deslauriers, and essentially ran it back with the rest of the roster, now under new head coach John Tortorella.
It bonded the fans of the franchise in a seemingly unprecedented way. An already frustrated and apathetic fan base hit rock bottom and fully directed its frustration clearly upon Chuck Fletcher and the entire front office, as well as Dave Scott and the ownership group of Comcast.
A month later, and as expected, very little has changed in the sentiments of the disgruntled fan base. In a poll conducted by The Athletic ranking NHL front office confidence levels based on fan input, the Flyers ranked dead last, 32nd in the NHL.
This wasn’t for lack of representation either. The Flyers had the fourth-highest vote total among fan entries, meaning more fans put their thoughts out there to have their voices heard.
Some of the responses from fans are telling on the current state of the franchise.
“The Flyers are an embarrassment. To have their resources combined with such high-level incompetence and gross mismanagement is difficult for fans to watch.”
“I never thought it could get so bad so quickly. This team had a bright future just two years ago. That’s all gone. I refuse to spend money on any Flyers-related purchases.”
“I’ve never seen a front office be so delusional about the current state of the roster. There’s no clear direction, and I don’t see a way out anytime soon.”
Voting was conducted for various areas the front office manages, such as roster building, cap management, draft and development, trades, free agency, and overall vision. The Flyers were graded with a D- across the board.
The timing of this speaks volumes as well, since it is just over one month from the open of training camp. There couldn’t be less excitement from the fan base over the dawn of a new season, and it won’t be long before everyone gets the chance to see how that reflects on the bottom line for the franchise: ticket sales and attendance.
According to ESPN, the Flyers ranked 18th in average fan attendance (16,540) and 21st in the average percentage of attendance based on fan capacity (84.7 percent). Those numbers reflect paid attendance, of course, which includes tickets sold whether patrons attend or not.
There were plenty of nights in the last few months of the 2021-22 season where the building was as empty as it has ever been for Flyers home games. That figures to only get worse for a franchise that doesn’t have much support on the home front, at least based on what they think of the front office and direction of the team.