Saturday, September 16, 2017

Philadelphia Flyers 2017-18 season preview



                    After surprising the league and making the playoffs in 2015-16, the Philadelphia Flyers disappointed in 2016-17, with just 88 points, for sixth in the Metropolitan division. But, they beat the odds and won the NHL draft lottery, and were awarded the second overall pick. They used the pick to select C Nolan Patrick. The Flyers didn't do much in the offseason, and lost a lot of players. Here is a look at their offseason.

                   Notable additions: G Brian Elliott, C Jori Lehtera.

                   Notable subtractions: C Brayden Schenn, G Steve Mason, D Michael Del Zotto, C Nick Cousins, C Pierre-Edouard Bellmare, D Nick Schultz.

                                           Forwards
Here are my projected forward lines.

Travis Konecny - Claude Giroux - Jakub Voracek
Jordan Weal - Nolan Patrick - Wayne Simmonds
Oskar Lindbom - Sean Couturier - Michael Raffl
Valtteri Filppula - Jori Lehtera - Mike Vecchione

The first line looks potent on paper, but after 14 goals last year, Giroux needs to have a good year, so the Flyers don't need to consider moving him. Simmonds, the reigning all-star game MVP, can be a good linemate to Patrick, a rookie. After one day at camp, reports showed he showed chemistry with Simmonds and Weal. Lindblom is coming from oversees, and is another rookie to watch out for. Don't be fooled by the fourth line tag. Filppula and Lehtera will still get plenty of ice-time. Vecchione was a Hobey Baker candidate, and is looking for a good rookie season. Matt Read has dropped, and will be a healthy scratch, along with Dale Weise. The Flyers should trade one of them if there is any takers.

                                          Defensemen
Here's my projected defensive pairs.

Shayne Gostisbehere - Sam Morin
Ivan Provorov - Robert Hagg
Andrew MacDonald - Radko Gudas

Gostisbehere had a sophomore slump in 2016-17, and is looking to follow his 2015-16 season in 2017-18 so he can be successful. Morin and Hagg are two rookies trying to break into the league. Provorov is looking to avoid the sophomore slump. Travis Sanheim, another rookie, can beat out MacDonald.

        Goalies
        Brian Elliott
        Michal Neuvirth
Elliott was a great signing for the Flyers. Neuvirth is an okay backup, but not a starter, like most of his career. Though he's currently injured, Anthony Stolarz will be the third goalie when he's healthy.

                                         Prediction
The Flyers are still a lot like their 2016-17 team that missed the playoffs. I think they'll compete for a wild card spot, but their mediocrity will hurt them. 

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