What Does JVR Brings to the Flyers?

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(Photo: Kate Frese)

By Jeff Quake, Sports Talk Philly staff writer 

Former Flyers second-overall pick James van Riemsdyk is coming back to the City of Brotherly Love after signing a five-year, $35 million deal with a $7 million annual average value.

van Riemsdyk spent the past six seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs and posted some remarkable numbers.

In four of his six seasons with Toronto, van Riemsdyk surpassed the 50-point mark. The only two seasons he did not accomplish this was in the lockout-shortened 2013 season, when he had 32 points in 48 games during the lockout year, and and injury-shortened 2015-16 season, when he had 29 points in 40 games.

Now what could this mean for Philadelphia?

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Making Sense of the Flyers Crowded Crease

By Jeff Quake, Sports Talk Philly staff writer 

For the Philadelphia Flyers, the goaltending situation continues to get complicated.

There are a number of questions that surround the Flyers goaltending lineup now and in the future.

Will Michal Neuvirth be moved and Alex Lyon brought up as back up for instance?

How far away is Carter Hart?

What about Anthony Stolarz' future with all his injuries?

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Flyers Offseason Preview: Draft Day

By Jeff Quake, Sports Talk Philly staff writer 

Flyers GM Ron Hextall has always said from the beginning that he plans to build from within the draft from the time he became GM in 2014. Since then he has drafted Travis Sanheim, Oskar Lindblom, Ivan Provorov, Travis Konecny, Felix Sandstrom, Mikhail Vorobyov, German Rubtsov, Carter Hart, Tanner Laczynski, Nolan Patrick, Morgan Frost, and Matthew Strome.

Those are just a handful of current and future NHL players that could make a big difference for Philadelphia.

Now for the 2018 NHL Draft, they currently have nine picks going into the draft, which takes place on June 22 and 23. Among those picks are ones acquired from St. Louis (14th overall), Arizona (127th overall) and Montreal (190th overall). The Flyers also sent their third-round pick to Detroit in the Petr Mrazek trade, so they will not select in the third round unless they acquire a pick during the weekend.

With that being said the Flyers have the 14th and 19th overall pick in the first round and have some possibilities to consider.

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Flyers Offseason Preview: Line Combinations and Free Agents

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(Kate Frese)

By Jeff Quake, Sports Talk Philly staff writer 

If the Philadelphia Flyers want a longer playoff run in the near future, head coach Dave Hakstol certainly has to give the team that opportunity in who he puts together on a line, along with who gets the most amount of ice time.

This was one of the Flyers’ biggest weakness in the playoffs and a good reason why they lost in six games to the Pittsburgh Penguins. The key to success in today’s league is all about speed, skill and depth. If you look at a team similar to Pittsburgh, then it makes complete sense on why they won consecutive Stanley Cups. Their GM Jim Rutherford made minor, but key moves to cunningly improve the team.

While acquiring a player such as Derek Brassard was a big move, it took smaller moves like getting Riley Sheahan from the Detroit Red Wings to improve their roster.

The Flyers have to do the same if they want to succeed, and they have the tools to do it. In Part 1 of our Flyers Offseason Preview, we looked at the contracts that are expiring and how Ron Hextall may address them. In Part 2, we'll look at what the Flyers line combinations could look like at the start of the 2017-18 season.

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Flyers Offseason Preview: Contracts

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(Kate Frese/SB Nation)

By Jeff Quake, Sports Talk Philly staff writer 

The Philadelphia Flyers season came to an end a week ago after losing to the Pittsburgh Penguins. While battling back from being down 3-1 in the series and making it to a Game 6 was impressive, there are a lot of questions in what should be one of the more exciting offseasons in a few years.

According to CapFriendly.com, the Flyers have seven players whose contracts expire this upcoming offseason. Four of them are unrestricted free agents and three of them are restricted free agents. The UFAs consist of Valtteri Filppula, Matt Read, Johnny Oduya and Brandon Manning, while the RFAs are Petr Mrazek, Robert Hagg, and Taylor Leier.

GM Ron Hextall spoke on Thursday as part of exit interviews on the season and had revealed some interesting notes. 

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Flyers Remain in Control of Their Own Destiny

By Jeff Quake, Sports Talk Philly staff writer 

After Thursday night’s vigorous 4-3 win over the Carolina Hurricanes, the Philadelphia Flyers are only one point away from securing a spot in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The current clinching scenarios for Philadelphia are as follows.

If the Flyers gain one point in any fashion against the New York Rangers or the Florida Panthers fail to gain one point in either of their final two games, which are at home against the Buffalo Sabres and on the road the Boston Bruins, the Flyers are in.

Ultimately, it means the Flyers are in control of their own destiny when it comes to clinching a playoff spot.

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Flyers Young Core Handling Significant Roles

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(Kate Frese/SB Nation)

By Jeff Quake, Sports Talk Philly staff writer 

Without some key moves to shift around the lineup, some of the Flyers youngest players have been thrown into key roles. A future core consisting of Nolan Patrick, Travis Konecny, Ivan Provorov, Robert Hagg, Travis Sanheim, Oskar Lindblom and Alex Lyon have all played notable roles for the Orange and Black.

After drafting Patrick second overall in this past year’s draft, the Flyers decided to move Brayden Schenn in a trade with the St. Louis Blues, so the highly-touted rookie could center the second line.

Second-year Flyers Provorov and Konecny, who were both drafted in the 1st round of the 2015 NHL Draft, are performing exceptionally well in their sophomore years in the NHL.

Provorov, who is only 21, has a career high in goals (13) and points (34) and often leads the Flyers in ice time. Konecny also has a career high in goals (22), assists (22) and points (44) and has spent a good portion of the season on the Flyers top line.

Even at such a young age, Provorov is playing like a true NHL veteran, making some tremendous plays deep in his own zone and averaging roughly 20 minutes of ice time per game.

On another positive note, both Konecny and Patrick have blossomed since jumping up to the top two lines. Konecny and Patrick’s speed benefits the top six, but Konecny also possesses the grittiness to battle against the boards and get to the dirty areas that not many other players are willing to do.

For Patrick, it’s the little things that he has been doing that has most notably caught the eye of head coach Dave Hakstol.

"Patty’s a good player," Hakstol said. "His approach to the game and his hockey sense and intelligence is what gives him an opportunity to be successful in any situation. Each time, we’ve been able to give him a little more opportunity and he’s taken advantage of that. Again, it’s not the areas of the game that end up under a spotlight or highlight reel that, a lot of times, are important at this time of the year. 

"It’s the little things and Nolan is doing a lot of those little things on a nightly basis, up and down the middle of the rink, playing a good 200-foot game. The fact that he’s taken pride in that is really the foundation of his game."

The 19 year-old Patrick said back in late February that "the last 15 or 20 games, I’ve been feeling myself. Gradually over time, you get more comfortable. [Hakstol] has been great. When I first got here, they made me work for everything. They didn’t put me in situations that I wasn’t ready for. Even now, when I’m not playing great, he does what’s best for the team. He’ll hold me back or not put me out there when I’m struggling on face-offs. He notices that and he’s been huge for me."

Blueliner Hagg has also been phenomenal in his rookie season. Although he only has nine points -- three goals and six assists -- in 70 games, his role has been more effective as a shutdown defenseman and a heavy hitter breaking up plays. Hagg is third in the NHL in hits with 238. Sanheim is playing a different role as an offensive threat, but of course still shows that defensive factor.

The good news for Philadelphia is that the young guns are heating up at the right time and showing promise at such an early point in their NHL careers. That rapid development could propel them and the rest of the Flyers into the playoffs.


Alex Lyon Proving to Be Reliable Option for Flyers

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(Kate Frese/SB Nation)

By Jeff Quake, Sports Talk Philly staff writer 

Alex Lyon couldn’t have imagined what the path he chose would lead him to when he first played goalie at Yale University. Lyon only played for three years at Yale, but in the years he attended the Ivy League school, the now 25-year-old from Baudette, Mn. posted some impressive numbers between the pipes.

At first, there were signs of struggle from Lyon, who was considered one of the top goalie prospects for the Flyers. Turn the clock forward one month and now Lyon has been a pretty reliable goalie for the Orange and Black whether as the starter or backup.

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With Neuvirth Now Injured, What Now for the Flyers in Goal?

By Jeff Quake, Sports Talk Philly staff writer 

Now that Michal Neuvirth is potentially out due to injury, joining fellow netminder Brian Elliott on the Flyers injured list, where do the Philadelphia Flyers and GM Ron Hextall look?

Neuvirth was injured in Sunday's game against the New York Rangers in the first period on Mats Zuccarello’s 10th goal of the season, in just his fourth start since Elliott went on injured reserve. Alex Lyon came in relief for Neuvirth, but did not have a backup for the rest of the game.

With the NHL trade deadline approaching in one week, Hextall may not have a choice anymore but to agree to a deal to bring in either a veteran goaltender in or at least a goaltender with some prior NHL experience this season.

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Ghost, Provorov Reminiscent of Another Top Pairing in Flyers History

By Jeff Quake, Sports Talk Philly staff writer 

The Flyers top defensive pair of Ivan Provorov and Shayne Gostisbehere are sharp defensemen but this isn't the first time that the Philadelphia Flyers have seen this type of dynamic duo on defense.

The way that those two play could remind the Philadelphia faithful of two other defensemen that were well known during their time with the Orange and Black. Brad McCrimmon and Mark Howe not only were two of the top defensemen in Flyers history, but were one of the most lethal defensive pairings in the history of the organization.

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