The Flyers have just completed what could be described as the most disappointing season in a string of disappointing seasons for a team decades away from its last Stanley Cup victory.
However, it’s interesting that the Oranges and Blacks haven’t missed the playoffs in consecutive seasons since 1993-94. For the past nine seasons, they’ve competed in the playoffs in even years and stayed home in odd years.
Well, for those who matter, the next playoffs are going to be an even year, which means the Flyers are sure to be better in the 2021-22 season, right?
Training camp kicked off this week in South Jersey, and it’s no mystery what the main storylines and concerns are for the squad, which has undergone a facelift this offseason thanks to several players including the longtime winger Jake Voracek and former second-round pick Nolan Patrick.
Will the reinforcements brought by GM Chuck Fletcher be enough to realign the Flyers as contenders in 2021-22?
Here are the four most intriguing storylines as camp continues.
Can Carter Hart Bounce Back?
This is the most important scenario for the Flyers and it’s really not close. After a stellar season that made Hart, now 22, the appearance of a franchise goalie in 2019-20, his follow-up campaign made him look like every other up-and-coming goaltender besides the Flyers. have recruited over the years.
|W / L||40-26||9-11|
|To safeguard %||.915||.877|
|% starting quality||.557||.360|
|G is recorded above average||11.4||-22.6|
From every point of view he was horrible last season – in part due to poor defense in front of him, but there is a marked regression. During the offseason, Hart has gathered volume and is doing all he can to bounce back.
“I like his face right now and his behavior,” said head coach Alain Vigneault. ” He smiles. He looks taller with his jersey and the perfect fit. The fact that he was able to train during a normal summer with other players and his goalkeeper coach. I think it was a great summer for him and for the rest of our group. I think this will help move forward.
Hart himself has been asked by members of the media when fans should expect to see a difference, and his response beamed with confidence.
“Right away,” he said. “I just needed a break from last season. I took some time on the ice and had to recharge my batteries a bit. I got into tennis this summer so it was fun. recharge and relax a bit. I also had a great summer training. “
How will the Flyers deal with early injuries (to key guys)?
It didn’t take long for the injury virus to bite the Flyers – and hard. Kevin Hayes, one of the Flyers’ key offensive stars last year, has had abdominal surgery that will keep him out for at least a month, and potentially two.
Sam Morin will also be missing six to eight weeks with a knee injury. The Flyers are shorthanded even before the puck falls in a regular season game.
It’s too early to say how their absences will affect the roster – although Morgan Frost’s case to make the opening day roster has certainly received a boost. But the Flyers will always count on Hayes to be a point guard even if he stays off the ice.
“As you grow as a team and build team bonds, Kevin is a big part of that for us,” said James Van Reimsdyk. “He’s locker room life in that sense. People tend to gravitate around him and love to be around him. We’re happy to have him with him and it’s a tough break for him when it comes to them. injuries. He’ll be ready to go when he gets back there. “
Will list changes make a difference?
After clinging to what seemed to be the same core for years, the Flyers have shaken things up in a big way. Ryan Ellis, Derrick Brassard, Rasmus Ristolainen and Keith Yandle are the biggest new names that will be playing every day in Philly. The theme of the acquisitions the Flyers have made is that they’ve recruited guys with playoff experience who can be veteran leaders with oozing young talent.
“I feel like all the guys Chuck got his hands on,” said Vigneault, when asked which new faces stand out the most, “whether through or signatures as free agents. I know some of them. . I had known some of the other trades guys. A lot of the players are good people. They want to be here and they want to be successful. I saw a lot of this behavior and attitude off the ice. I saw him on the ice today for the first time with them. It was a step, but it was a very good step.
“We have an older team and I think the guys we recruited have a lot of experience,” added captain Claude Giroux. “Some guys feel like they have something to prove and as a team we really feel like we have something to prove. Day one was great.”
Are the young people going to break through?
There are spots up for grabs in camp and some very talented recent draft picks vying to make the jump to the NHL. The name that comes to mind is Frost, who got some precious ice time to start the ice alongside the regular starters. Is this a preview of his upcoming role?
“With Hayesy out, Morgan is a young player who hasn’t played much hockey in the past two years, but has high expectations, a high-end prospect,” said Vigneault. “With Hayes falling, it gives him a quick opportunity to show what he can do and what his skill set is supposed to be. He’s supposed to be in the top six, in theory, so I’m going to give him that. opportunity. I don’t “I don’t know how long this will last. We live our first five days, then two exhibition games. We’ll see how everyone reacts and see if there’s some chemistry with the guys on the ice, a lot of new faces. It will probably take a little while. “
Other names to watch out for include defenseman Cam York, striker Tanner Laczynski and currently injured prospects Zayde Wisdome and Wade Allison. Youth Egor Zamula, Tyson Forester and German Rubtsovs are also bodies to watch out for (they would need some very impressive camps and a little luck).
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