Our Philadelphia Flyers Preview 2019 – 2020 notes that the Flyers failed to make the playoffs last season. This Philadelphia Flyers Preview 2019 also notes that the prior season they made a first round exit. Last season, they finished with a 37-37-8 record which placed them sixth in the Metropolitan Division. While they have had their fair share of trouble, the Flyers do possess a very talented roster. Our 2019-2020 Philadelphia Flyers season preview looks at whether the Broad Street Bullies can return to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Or, as we wonder, will they once again miss the postseason?
Philadelphia Flyers Preview 2019 – 2020: Goaltending
Carter Hart emerged as the Flyers clear number one goaltender last season. The rookie made his NHL debut in December and has been extremely solid ever since. Hart finished the year with a .917 save percentage and a 2.83 GAA. Our Philadelphia Flyers Preview 2019 notes that the Flyers went through a record number of goaltenders last season with seven playing at least a game for the club. Now that they have found their starter for the future, look for Philadelphia to drastically cut down on their goals against. Last season, they allowed the third most goals in the league, much in part due to the rotating corral of netminders. Brian Elliott is slated to be Hart’s backup. Elliott played in 26 games for the Flyers last season but was inconsistent. He finished the 2018-2019 season with a 2.96 GAA and a .907 save percentage.
Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier project to be Philadelphia’s most valuable forwards. Giroux had 85 points in 82 games last season, leading the team. Couturier led the club in goals with 33 while registering 43 assists. Couturier is also one of the most reliable defensive forwards in the NHL and will be counted on in shutdown moments. He will center the first line and should see upwards of 20 minutes a night.
The Flyers’ offseason addition of Kevin Hayes helped to solidify the club’s top-six group. He will slot in as the second line center behind Sean Couturier. Between his time with the New York Rangers and the Winnipeg Jets last season, Hayes had 55 points. He had 42 points in 51 games for New York but just 13 in 20 games as a Jet. His drop in production can partially be attributed to his being the team’s fourth line center during this time. Hayes should see increased production while back in a top-six role. His addition also allows the team to drop Nolan Patrick down to the third line. Patrick had 31 points and, at this point in his career, is more suited for a third line role.
Philadelphia is also expected to get offensive contributions from Jakub Voracek, James van Reimsdyk, and Travis Konecny. Voracek had 66 points last season. Van Reimsdyk had missed 16 games but managed to finish the season with 27 goals and 21 assists. Konecny had a solid season with 49 points in 82 games and could improve upon these numbers in his age-22 season.
Philadelphia Preview – Defense
The Flyers will need Shayne Gostisbehere to rebound after a rough 2018-2019 campaign. Just a single year after posting 65 points from the blueline, Gostisbehere saw his production drop to just almost half of that. He finished the year with 37 points and a -20 plus-minus rating. The Flyers rely heavily on him and will need a bounce-back year from him for the team to see success.
The Flyers will also look to Ivan Provorov and Travis Sanheim to be leaders on the backend. Provorov led the team in time on ice playing 25:07 minutes per game. He finished with 26 points and is likely to lead the club in ice time again. Sanheim had somewhat of a breakout last season as he more than tripled his point total from 2017-2018. He finished last season with 35 points while seeing almost four more minutes of ice time per game (19.34). Overall the Flyers defense looks solid on paper, although they will need Gostisbehere to have a big season.
The Flyers’ biggest addition on defense this summer was Matt Niskanen. Niskanen spent the last five seasons in Washington before being traded this offseason. Niskanen will likely play significant minutes for Philly. Last year, the right shot blueliner had 25 points while playing 21:56 minutes per game. He will provide a reliable and stable presence on the backend. His addition immediately helps the Flyers.
Philadelphia Flyers Preview 2019-2020: Outlook
The Flyers may have had a lackluster season last year, although they used this time to sort out kinks in their lineup. The most significant problem which they worked out was their goaltending. Carter Hart had a great first NHL season and solves the longstanding goaltending issues in Philly. They now have a very solid lineup from front to back. The addition of Kevin Hayes also gives the Flyers a very solid top-six forward group. Their blueline has the talent to be very good this season as well. If Shayne Gostisbehere has a bounce back season, the Flyers will be in a very good position to make a run for a playoff spot.
Philadelphia Flyers Preview 2019-2020: Projection
Record: 44-26-12, 100 points
Finish:4th in Metropolitan Division, 2nd Eastern Conference Wild Card
NHL 2019 Preview Link