As the Playoffs Draw Near, the Flyers would Appear to have Hit a Wall

(Photo by Jason Mowry/Getty Images)

You have to admit that for much of this season, the rebuilding Philadelphia Flyers managed to exceed expectations so much so that they found themselves seated in third place in the Metropolitan Division for over 100 days straight!

But recently, something has changed. After making it through possibly the most brutal stretch of their season where, the club was able to pick up some huge points against playoff-bound teams like the Boston Bruins, the Carolina Hurricanes, the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Florida Panthers, and the New York Rangers, it seemed as though the Flyers all but solidified themselves the opportunity of a postseason run because they would only have to face one playoff caliber team in their final nine games.

However, since gaining those much-needed points against those aforementioned playoff contenders. The Flyers have somehow managed to hit a wall. And what I mean by that is that they have lost seven straight games since then, with most of these losses being dealt to them by teams who are among the worst in the league that have already been eliminated from playoff contention for some time now.

What may be the cause of this, you may be asking? Well, for most of the season, the Flyers have had to be dependent on guys like Travis Konecny and the team’s promising youth that consists of Owen Tippett, Joel Farabee, and Tyson Foerster to carry much of the load offensively. All of these players have shown significant improvement this season and have or are on pace to set new career highs in both goals and total points. Despite their efforts, though, these players are not and should not be considered elite. Therefore, they are unable to turn it up a notch at this time of year and take their play to another level.

Let me explain. Because of the Flyers’ prior administration decisions to try and acquire or hold onto who they thought to be elite. I.E., the misuse of funds in which they overpaid the often injured Sean Couturier to the tune of $7.75 million a season until 2030 and trading for players like Cam Atkinson, who has been nonexistent this year but is still somehow allowed to cash checks that pay him $5.8 million a season, and Ryan Ellis who the Flyers are stuck paying for until 2027 despite them only managing to get four games out of him for their troubles.

New management and head coach, John Tortorella, have been forced to try and squeeze the most they could out of the players they have on their roster. So, I don’t want to hear that Torts has lost the locker room because it should go without saying that when you’re stuck trying to get Ferrari-type performance out of a bunch of Honda Civics, you can expect to have it all blow up in your face. For example, when you compare the Flyers’ leading goal scorer this year, Travis Konecny, who has scored 31 goals on the year (which ties his career best), with the league-leading goal scorer Auston Matthews, who currently has 64 goals on the year, you’ll see that there is a 33 goal difference meaning Travis would have to play two seasons in order to reach Auston’s goal totals from this year. And if we look at our point leader, who just so happens to be Travis as well, you’ll see that his 65 points scored this season is a little off the pace of the NHL’s leader in that category as the Lightnings Nikita Kucherov has already totaled 136 points on the season (a 71 point difference).

Now, this is in no way meant to be a knock on Konecny or anybody else currently on their roster but used as an eye-opening realization that without a superstar talent on the roster to lead them down the stretch, Philadelphia will be forced year in and year out to check playoff updates on their phone in between holes at their favorite golf course.

This is why, to combat this issue, the team’s general manager, Danny Briere, has been working tirelessly to continue to gain future assets in order to build for the future like he did when he traded away both defenseman Ivan Provorov and Sean Walker for first-round picks and so much more.

So don’t be surprised if you hear some shocking names appear on the old trade block sooner rather than later as the Flyers off-season draws ever closer, especially since rumors would already have it that Dealing Danny has been in discussions of late with Montreal about the possibility of moving Travis Konecny for quite the package which would include the Flyers adding another first-round pick this year. Again, these are all rumors at this point, but with Briere at the helm, you can be sure to expect further changes to come.

Lance Green

I’m a lifelong Flyers fan who has been playing the sport of Ice Hockey we all know and love competitively for over 30 years now. I grew up playing in-between the pipes where I was able to take in the whole game and analysis just what the team needed to do to help us win. Over the years I always enjoyed reading and gaining as much knowledge as possible about this great sport, but always thought it lacked something. A players prospective!