Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Philadelphia Flyers 2019-20 season preview

From NBC


          It was a very eventful offseason for the Flyers. It was the first for new GM Chuck Fletcher, they saw a new Head Coach enter, as well as multiple players. They also didn't give up too much, and they still have over $13 million in cap space to sign two big RFAs. By no means is the offseason over in Philadelphia.

           Additions: Kevin Hayes, Matt Niskanen, Justin Braun, Tyler Pitlick, Kurtis Gabriel, Andy Welinski, Nate Prosser

           Subtractions: Radko Gudas, Ryan Hartman, Andrew MacDonald, Jori Lehtera, Corban Knight, Phil Varone

          Forwards
In 2018-19, Claude Giroux did something that he has done a lot in his career: lead the Flyers in points. While he dropped off significantly from his career high 102 points in 2017-18, he was still a point per game player, with 85 points, and 63 assists. Sean Couturier scored a career high 33 goals with 76 points, and finished 6th in Selke voting. He has become a top defensive forward in the league. Jakub Voracek scored exactly 20 goals for the third consecutive season, with 66 overall points. In his return to Philly, James van Riemsdyk scored 27 goals, but he played in just 66 games, so he was on pace for 33.5 goals. The Flyers traded for Kevin Hayes' rights, but then signed him to an excessive seven year deal worth $50 million. Hayes' 55 points in 2018-19 was a career high, but he has only scored 20 goals once (25 in 2017-18). Currently an RFA, Travis Konecny scored 24 goals, with a career high 49 points. He looks to hit 25 goals and 50 points after just missing both benchmarks in consecutive seasons. Oskar Lindblom had a decent rookie season, with 17 goals and 33 points. A former first rounder, Scott Laughton scored a career high 12 goals and 32 points. He also kills penalties. Nolan Patrick, drafted 2nd overall in 2017, has battled injuries in his two year NHL career, and has scored 13 goals with 30-31 points in both seasons. He looks to take his game to the next level. Tyler Pitlick was acquired from Dallas. He had wrist surgery, but could be ready to go by Opening Night. He scored eight goals in 47 games with the Stars last year. That's a 14 goal pace, which matches his career high. Michael Raffl has had a very inconsistent career. He's only played in 70 games once, he has scored 20 goals once, and he has 30 points once. And they all didn't come in the same season. He scored just six goals with 18 points in 2018-19. German Rubtsov eyes an NHL role after scoring 10 points in 14 AHL games last year. A 2016 first rounder, Rubtsov has dealt with multiple injuries since he was drafted. Kurtis Gabriel played in a career high 22 games for the Devils last year, with four points. He had 59 penalty minutes.

          Defensemen
Ivan Provorov had a down season, with a career low 26 points and -16 rating. This is coming after 17 goal, +17 season. He is currently an RFA. After a 65 point 2017-18, Shayne Gostisbehere had a down season, with 37 points and a -20 rating. He had a great rookie 2015-16, struggled in 2016-17, was great in 2017-18, and struggled in 2018-19, so I'd bet a good season from Gostibehere in 2019-20. Travis Sanheim had a good first full season. He had 35 points as a 22 year old. Matt Niskanen comes to the Flyers after a down season in Washington. His 25 points were his lowest since 2012-13. Robert Hagg had a solid second season, with 20 points, a career high. Justin Braun comes from San Jose after spending his first nine years there. A defensive defenseman, Braun had 16 points last year. His -14 rating was a career low. Philippe Myers made his NHL debut in 2018-19. In 21 games, he had two points. In 53 AHL games, he had 33 points. A 2013 first rounder, Sam Morin has played in just eight games over the last three seasons. He missed most of the season with a torn ACL.

          Goalies
The Flyers sent out an NHL record eight goalies in 2018-19. The only two to play in 15 games, and also the only two with a GAA under 3, return. That's not counting the AHL bound Alex Lyon. Carter Hart, the hopeful savior of the Flyers, made his NHL debut as a 20 year old. He had a 2.83 GAA and .917 SV%. Brian Elliott, a 12 year veteran, returns to Philly for a third season. He had a .907 SV% and 2.96 GAA last season.

          Deep Depths
Russian forward Mikhail Vorobyev made his NHL debut in 2018-19, with two points in 15 games. Nicolas Aube-Kubel also made his NHL debut, playing in nine games. Nate Prosser signs with the Flyers after playing all but one of his 354 career games for the Wild. He played in 15 games last year. Andy Welinski signs in Philly after playing in 33 games over the past two seasons for Anaheim.

          Up and Coming
A 2018 first rounder, Joel Farabee had a great first season at Boston University, with 36 points in 37 games. A 2017 first rounder, Morgan Frost dominated the OHL for a second consecutive season. He scored 37 goals with 109 points in 58 games. Over the past two seasons, Frost has scored 79 goals with 221 points in 125 games. A 2017 second rounder, Isaac Ratcliffe scored 50 goals in 62 OHL games. Ratcliffe, Farabee and Frost are all third line options over Rubtsov.

          2019 draft class
Round 1, 14th overall: Cam York
Round 2, 34th overall: Bobby Brink
Round 3, 72nd overall: Ronald Attard
Round 4, 103rd overall: Mason Millman
Round 6, 165th overall: Egor Serdyuk
Round 6, 169th overall: Roddy Ross
Round 7, 196th overall: Bryce Brodzinski

           Management
The Flyers hired a new coach in the offseason, and it is Alain Vigneault. An NHL Head Coach for 16 seasons, Vigneault teams have a .588 winning percentage. He went to the Stanley Cup final in 2011 with Vancouver and in 2014 with the Rangers, but lost both of them. Chuck Fletcher had a long tenure in Minnesota, and had an active first offseason in Philly.

           Projected Lineup
Claude Giroux - Sean Couturier - Travis Konecny
James van Riemsdyk - Kevin Hayes - Jakub Voracek
Oskar Lindblom - Nolan Patrick - German Rubtsov
Michael Raffl - Scott Laughton - Tyler Pitlick
Extras: Kurtis Gabriel, Nicolas Aube-Kubel, Mikhail Vorobyev

           Ivan Provorov - Travis Sanheim
           Shayne Gostisbehere - Matt Niskanen
           Robert Hagg - Justin Braun
Extras: Philippe Myers, Sam Morin, Nate Prosser

                         Carter Hart
                         Brian Elliott
Extras: Alex Lyon

            Prediction
The Flyers are a team with optimism they could make the playoffs, or they could finish in last place. Unfortunately, my prediction for the Flyers in 2019-20 is the latter.

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