Dom Lunardo | Sept 1st, 2019
“Getting strong now…won’t be long now”. (Cue the iconic and timeless theme song from the classic Rocky Balboa films). Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Home to the famous Liberty Bell, the “Philly Cheesesteak”, and die-hard sports fans who good or bad, ruthlessly cheer for their Phillies, Eagles, 76ers, and of course, the black and orange, Philadelphia Flyers. Let’s take a closer look and delve into what the upcoming season has in store for one of the most legendary franchises in the National Hockey League.
It was a disappointing 2018/19 season for the Philadelphia Flyers under the tutelage of Flyers legend and current General Manager, Ron Hextall. After another year of development for their talented plethora of youngsters, and the addition of fan-favorite James van Riemsdyk, in the off-season, the Flyers had their sights set on the postseason. But when all was said and done, and the dust settled, the team was left on the outside of the playoff picture looking in. Those close to the team could even make the astute observation that the Flyers looked lifeless, and even uninspired or unmotivated on the ice. Definitely not something Ron Hextall (or Philly fans) would like to hear. Even with the emergence (and strong play) of one of the finest young goaltending talents in the NHL, Carter Hart, it was still not enough to see the black and orange through to the finish line, come seasons end. Those “in the know” knew that action would be taken, and low and behold there certainly was this summer.
Top Priority/Restricted Free Agents: D Ivan Provorov
Team Summary: This summer brought many changes to the City of Brotherly Love. For starters, Dave Hakstol is out and Quebec native Alain Vigneault is in behind the bench. In addition, the aforementioned Carter Hart will undoubtedly carry the ball right from the getgo and provide Philadelphia with solid goaltending all season long. On the back end, the Flyers have an excellent young core of youngsters with the likes of Philippe Myers, Samuel Morin, Robert Hagg, and Travis Sanheim to compliment players like Shayne Gostisbehere and Matt Niskanen, who was acquired in a trade with the Washington Capitals. The biggest news on the blue line surrounds RFA Ivan Provorov. With the start of NHL training camps set to begin in less than 2 weeks, Ivan Provorov is still without a contract coming out of his 3-year entry-level deal. He joins a long (and talented) list of players from around the NHL in need of new deals for the 2019/20 season and is the Flyers top priority heading into the season. Upfront, the Flyers possess a talented group of forwards who will have something to prove this season. Captain Claude Giroux will once again serve as the heart and soul of the squad, and will hopefully anchor the team to a spot in the playoffs by seasons end.
Prediction: After a miserable 2018/19 season, the future looks extremely bright for the Philadelphia Flyers. This is a team that is oozing with talent and potential in all areas of the ice, and boasts an excellent balance of veteran leadership and skill from their “young guns”. Names like Philippe Myers, Sam Morin, Ivan Provorov, Travis Sanheim, Travis Konecny, Scott Laughton, Nolan Patrick, Carter Hart, and Morgan Frost are only the tip of the iceberg with what is an excellent crop of youngsters. With the coaching dynamic of Alain Vigneault and a healthy roster, there’s no reason why the Flyers shouldn’t push for a top-3 spot in the Metropolitan Division in the spring of 2020.
Check out our other 2019-2020 NHL Team Previews:
Colorado Avalanche|Florida Panthers|Dallas Stars|Arizona Coyotes|New Jersey Devils|San Jose Sharks|Buffalo Sabres|Los Angeles Kings|Vancouver Canucks|Winnipeg Jets|Carolina Hurricanes|Boston Bruins|Ottawa Senators|New York Islanders|Minnesota Wild|Vegas Golden Knights|Detroit Red Wings|Pittsburgh Penguins|Chicago Blackhawks
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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images