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yave1964

Flyers offseason primer

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Down to the final three teams, the two from the SCF and your Flyers. As always I call em as I see em, hopefully an outsiders view doesn't both anyone. Just a Hockey nerds take on your Flyers.

 

 FINAL RECORD 42-26-14 96 POINTS made playoffs lost in first round to the Penguins in six games.

 

  The Flyers have went through a couple of GMs and Valiolette to Berube to Haksoi but the results are the same over the past six years, miss the playoffs one year make it in and lose in the first round the next. In spite of some world class talent dotting the roster the Flyers have not won a postseason series since 2012.

  A lot happened this past year, at the draft Schenn was sent out for little immediate help but the Flyers do have the Blues first rounder (pick 14) so it is too early to call it a bad trade althoughSchenn did develop into a solid 1C in St. Louis and Lehtera, the warm body portion of the deal scored 3 goals and was awful. But from that deal Couturier blossomed when given a chance to play big time minutes (31-45-76) to go with arguably the best defense of any forward in the game and finally had the breakout year they have hoped for and is now established as a true force at both ends of the ice. Claude Giroux after having his points drop from 86 to 76, 63 and 58 turned it around with a monster 103 point regular season winning nearly 60 percent of faceoffs and having a truly Hart worthy season. Voracek continues to be one of the best passers on the wing in all of hockey with 65 assists and 85 points. Travis Konecny made the team and managed 24 goals in spite of very limited power play time and established himself as an NHLer, he will be used more in key situations going forward and has tremendous untapped potential. Simmonds had kind of a meh season but managed 24 goals 11 on the PP. Nolan Patrick had moments where he showed his potential but was in and out although there are 30 other teams who would be thrilled to have him. Like Konecny his ice time is expected to take an uptick especially in offensive zone time and doubling his rookie output of 30 points is very doable based off his talent. Scott Laughton had a fine year mostly on the 4th line but bouncing up and down the lines as a swiss army knife player as needed. His 11 minutes a night needs to go up to take advantage of his untapped offense.

  On defense, Ghostisbehere had 65 points and was a power play monster with 7 goals and 26 assists with the man advantage. Provorov (17-24-41) plays in all situations and has established himself as one of the leagues top two way defenders. Hagg and Sanheim established themselves as NHL worthy and more is to be expected of both. This quartet and throw in former first rounder Morin combine to make almost every GM in the game envious of the talent on the back end. Brandon Manning and McDonald were okay and especially McDonald is simply keeping a seat warm until Morin is recalled for good.

  Like anyone else, there were lowlights as well and the Flyers had more than there share, Filpulla continues to atrophy as a player into irrelevance, Lehtera was God awful Jordan Weal is an AHL all Star who is half a step too slow and three inches too short to translate into the NHL, he simply does not belong on any roster that is serious about winning. Rumors are that Dale Weise was signed to play for the Flyers but other than collecting a paycheck on payday nobody ever saw him. Matt Read finally ran out the string and is probably done after 1 goal in 19 games. Gudas had a pretty mediocre year as a stopgap on defense and was nicked up quite a lot. In other words the veteran role players were poorly chosen and let the team down considerably forcing too much pressure on the top two lines. A handful of kids namely Goulbourne, Leier, Lindblom and Martel were given a few games here and there and for the most part did nothing with the opportunity to prove worthy of a longer look. 

  In net Elliott was the Flyers top goalie, this is not a compliment. He managed to get on the ice for only 43 games and won 23 of them so he wasn't that bad but he is at best a stopgap until Hart arrives but he is what he is. Nuevirth was a body, more bad than good, injuries and what not forced the Flyers to trade for Mrazek from Detroit and after looking brilliant in a few starts he turned back into Mrazek again, a good game followed by a meh one followed by a bad one, rinse and repeat. This is not a playoff winning goalie trio. As a backup playing 25 games I think any of the three are capable but to rely on them to be the last line of defense for a good team is indefensible.

 

FREE AGENTS

Read, Filpulla and Oduya are all UFA and wont be back. Manning wasn't bad last year but is being squeezed by kids coming from within the organization and will likely be allowed to walk. Mrazek and Hagg are RFA. Cap room is not an issue as they have at least 17 million in cap space and potentially more depending on where the cap winds up this offseason. Simmonds has one more year to go on his 3.9 million dollar deal and his situation will need to be addressed.

 

TOP PROSPECTS

When I say top prospects I am referring to who will make an impact next season with the big club and one who jumps off the page to me is Nicolas Aube-Kubel who will play wing on the bottom six with a bit of a scoring touch and responsible in his own zone and loves to hit. On defense Morin and Phillipe Myers are likely making the team and hitting everything that moves with good puck moving abilities so there is a good chance that the Flyers top six defenseman will all be gifted kids pushing each other. The hope is that Lindblom will take a middle six winger spot and provide good secondary scoring, he will be given every chance to do so. Carter Hart is the real deal as a goalie prospect but his time is not now. Same with forward Morgan Frost who may be given a 9 game chance to prove he belongs in the NHL as a scoring winger and if not be returned to the OHL. German Rubtsov is a first rounder who the Flyers envision as their 3C of the future with upside to move up from there. 

  This is a deep and talented bunch of kids who have a shot at earning spots on the team and running with it for the next decade plus.  Most pundits rank the Flyers farm system as among the deepest in the game. They are brimming over with kids who want ice time at the big level.

 

OFFSEASON QUESTIONS

C'MON REALLY, ELLIOTT/NEUVIRTH/MRAZEK? IS THAT THE BEST THEY CAN DO?

 I like the Flyers quite a lot but these three in net is kind of like letting a 16 year old kid drive your Beemer,  they are just not true NHL worthy starts. I get it that Hart is the future but IMHO there is no way the Flyers win anything with these three Goof Troop rejects in net. Elliot cannot stay healthy and is average, Neuvirth is a body and Mrazek God onlyknows what you are gonna get from night to night. The team is too good and too deep to continue to throw them out there every night.

 

WHAT TO DO ABOUT SIMMONDS

He is 30 this year and looks to be in the decline phase of his career, going from a 30 goal ferocious fighter with 120 or so PIMs to a 20 goal guy who is more of a threat than an actual deterrent nowadays. My original thought was they need to wrap him up but with the kids coming and based off of his slipping production he may be best dealt. What may prevent that is the Schenn deal where he was dispatched to the Blues and had a nice 70 point season centering Taresenko, the Flyers would not want to get egg on their face twice. Branch Rickey used to say always trade players at or before their 30th birthday and that may be the best thing to do with Simmonds.

 

THE FLYERS HAVE PICKS 14 AND 19, DO YOU USE THEM TO MOVE UP? The Flyers have a ton of cap space and two middle first picks, they may use them to add a top six veteran forward or remain where they are or package them to move up to get a player who they truly want such as Brady Tkachuk or Zadina. Hextall has proven to be aggressive at and around the draft so there is a very real chance that they make a splash at the draft or before.

 

WHAT TO DO WITH ALL THAT CAP ROOM

There are a half a dozen top tier players who are UFA at the end of the upcoming season ranging from Karlsson to Doughty and Seguin, the Flyers are in a position to make a move and add one without disrupting the salary cap and they have the picks/prospects to make it happen. I would not be surprised if the Flyers make a move for a top tier winger in the next two weeks.

 

ARE THEY CURRENTLY A CUP CONTENDER? No. No team alive can win with that trio in net, just being honest but they are really close. A well built organization with depth everywhere, Hart is likely a couple of years away and they have the room to make a move in net but there are limited options available. I love the future for the team but until the netminding is properly addressed they are a pretender, albeit an intriguing one with tons of potential.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

@yave1964

 

First of all, "Thank you" for taking the time to do these reviews.  Even though I may not comment on every single team, I sincerely enjoy reading them.  You are a valuable member here at HF.net  and we are so lucky that you are part of our hockey community. :)

 

Now on to the Flyers ......

 

I agree with a vast majority of your assessment.   The glaring weakness in goal is so apparent that even Stevie Wonder can see it.  The 3 stooges in goal known as Elliot / Neuvirth / and Mrazek simply must be addressed.  I'm all for shipping out Mrazek and Neuvy (who seems to get hurt in the most innocuous ways).  Help is on the way in Hart, but this team needs a stop gap.  Soome may argue against me, but is Bernier a FA?  He did well in Colorado and helped get that team to the playoffs.  He is not a savior by no means, but he has got to be better than than the latter two.

 

The Schenn trade.......  See the lengthy discussion on the Flyers forum and you will get a myriad of opinions.  Initially at the onset of the season it looked like a huge blunder by Hexy.  Schenn explode onto the Blues scene with many points.  Then he tailed off significantly.  Was part of it because both Schwartz and Tarensenko shared time on IR?  Or IMO, is it because Schenn does not drive the play?  He is a one trick pony on the PP.  It showed because his point production dropped of significantly during the second half of the season.  So did the Flyers really lose on this trade?  After all they did manage to get the Blues 14th overall draft pick for this year.  It will be interesting to see what Hexy does with #14 and #19.

 

This off season and upcoming season is IMO, a turning point for this franchise.  Finally having some cap room and finally jettisoning some trash, the Flyers are in position to make an even more significant stride.  Of course the questions remain with Lehtera / Weal / Filpulla.  This team finally has young talent waiting in the wings we just have to patient 1 more year.

 

I'm on the fence with Simmonds ........

 

I do think you missed one vital part regarding this team.  Hak.......  At times he seems to be over is head and many of us want him gone ......and then there are times he stays calm cool collected and the Flyers go on a 10-0 run.  He is like the Jekyll and Hyde of coaching.  At times I honestly believe he holds this team back.  I think this is the year he has to prove himself.  I can't see Hexy waiting another year or two to see if Hak gets it or not at the  NHL level.

 

Bottom line ...this is a HUGE season coming up for the Flyers.

 

Anyway this is just my observation.  Great write up @yave1964 !  Thank you for all your hard work! :)

Edited by pilldoc
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12 hours ago, yave1964 said:

although Schenn did develop into a solid 1C in St. Louis

 

 

Great read.

 

Thanks for the outside view always helps.

 

The Schenn developing into a solid 1C is the only part i disagree with. Sure he lit on fire till it turned Christmas time racking up a good portion of his points and production early in the season.

 

And i would expect that from him being pissed off the best player NOT in the NHL already traded twice before turning 26 has to hit on the ego.

 

However when it was crunch time and all the chips were on the table and the Blues were fighting for a playoff slot the Schenn i have come to know reappeared and just fired blanks when the team needed what they got from him in October and November.

 

Now am i shocked no.

 

He had done that before.

 

And it is all on him the Blues struggled in net with their starter not playing well and injuries cropped up.

 

Yet Brayden at the end of the day just doesn't help make guys around better he struggles having to lug the puck into the offensive zone....the less time he has to have the puck the better it is for his team mates.

 

Best thing the Blues can do if they are smart is drop Brayden down to 2C if they are set on keeping him at center.

 

Myself i think he is better on the wing. But that is not the Flyers problem anymore. I like their return for him despite having to watch Lehterable for one more season.

 

Frost is going to play a long time for the Flyers it seems right now. One more year of junior should allow him to add some more strength and size to help prepare him for the rigors of the NHL in a year or two.

 

Thanks for taking the time you have a good feel for the pulse of the Flyers even though you are a loyal Wings fan.

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Posted (edited)
39 minutes ago, OccamsRazor said:

The Schenn developing into a solid 1C is the only part i disagree with. Sure he lit on fire till it turned Christmas time racking up a good portion of his points and production early in the season.

 

And i would expect that from him being pissed off the best player NOT in the NHL already traded twice before turning 26 has to hit on the ego.

 

However when it was crunch time and all the chips were on the table and the Blues were fighting for a playoff slot the Schenn i have come to know reappeared and just fired blanks when the team needed what they got from him in October and November.

 

Now am i shocked no.

 

He had done that before.

 

And it is all on him the Blues struggled in net with their starter not playing well and injuries cropped up.

 

Yet Brayden at the end of the day just doesn't help make guys around better he struggles having to lug the puck into the offensive zone....the less time he has to have the puck the better it is for his team mates.

 

Best thing the Blues can do if they are smart is drop Brayden down to 2C if they are set on keeping him at center

 

Pretty much sums up my feelings .......  best part ....like you said...He is no longer the Flyers problem anymore. :)

 

 but many around here don't even consider Schenn a 'real' 1st line guy.

(from the Blues Message Board)

 

Interesting perspective from Blues fans about the Schenn trade. 

Hidden Content

    Give reaction or reply to this topic to see the hidden content.

 

So who really won the Schenn trade???

Hidden Content

    Give reaction or reply to this topic to see the hidden content.

 

 

 

Edited by pilldoc
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19 hours ago, pilldoc said:

So who really won the Schenn trade???

Hidden Content

    Give reaction or reply to this topic to see the hidden content.

 

I thought that was a fairly well-reasoned assessment.  My only slightly negative comment (and commented as much on the page), is that the thing about Frost being 19 playing against 17 and 18 year olds is as unfair as it is untrue.   He didn't turn 19 until after the season (on May 14).  So, he was an 18-year old dominating 17 and 18-year olds.  

 

 

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Posted (edited)

@yave1964

 

Thank you for all of your write-ups. Like the others said, it's nice particularly in this case to have an outsider's take on the team I follow.  I read this shortly after you posted but haven't had time to comment until now.

 

On 6/17/2018 at 3:03 AM, yave1964 said:

The Flyers have went through a couple of GMs and Valiolette to Berube to Haksoi but the results are the same over the past six years, miss the playoffs one year make it in and lose in the first round the next. In spite of some world class talent dotting the roster the Flyers have not won a postseason series since 2012.

 

Quite true.  The results are the same, but I like to think heading in the right direction.   Lots of weeds to dig out and new crops to plant over the last several years.  We waited until stage 4 and crap started falling off before starting chemo.

 

On 6/17/2018 at 3:03 AM, yave1964 said:

at the draft Schenn was sent out for little immediate help but the Flyers do have the Blues first rounder (pick 14) so it is too early to call it a bad trade althoughSchenn did develop into a solid 1C in St. Louis and Lehtera, the warm body portion of the deal scored 3 goals and was awful

 

You go on to mitigate the impact of this statement some, but it's interesting to me how this is viewed outside of Philly and even among some Flyers fans (less so as time's progressed, but there are still holdouts!).   With Frost's development--I really think he was the target of the trade to Hextall's mind, so I don't think it was simply a 1st rounder with a slot number--and with the potential of the #14 coupled with the likelihood of buying out Lehtera this summer, this will ultimately be a success in terms of both personnel and cap reduction.   It also allowed other incumbents to move around the lineup and succeed (Couts and Giroux, in particular.  Please don't include Filppula in this. LOL).  That's not to say the Flyers necessarily won this.  I think each team got what they wanted and needed -- though, as has been said, I don't think Schenn is actually a #1 center.   I'm not as concerned with his making others better.  If he can keep up with his linemates like he showed in the first couple months, that's sufficient and not terribly dissimilar from Coots.  It's the lack of consistency in him that bothers me at 1C.  Time will tell, but I agree with his being at center rather than wing but wonder if he's not better-suited at 2C.

 

On 6/17/2018 at 3:03 AM, yave1964 said:

Filpulla continues to atrophy as a player into irrelevance, Lehtera was God awful Jordan Weal is an AHL all Star who is half a step too slow and three inches too short to translate into the NHL, he simply does not belong on any roster that is serious about winning. Rumors are that Dale Weise was signed to play for the Flyers but other than collecting a paycheck on payday nobody ever saw him.

 

My only reason for highlighting this is to comment that it was both funny in the way it was written and quite true.  Well-said and very entertaining to read!

 

On 6/17/2018 at 3:03 AM, yave1964 said:

In other words the veteran role players were poorly chosen and let the team down considerably forcing too much pressure on the top two lines. A handful of kids namely Goulbourne, Leier, Lindblom and Martel were given a few games here and there and for the most part did nothing with the opportunity to prove worthy of a longer look. 

 

I think true, if possibly a little unfair in the case of Lindblom.  I thought he played well but hasn't yet shown the results.  I think the second line and next to a rookie center may have been an unfair role the coach put him in.   The vet role players, given cost and term, might have been a dice roll with only small chance of upside but placeholders until more cavalry can arrive.  No matter how you frame it, though, the production from that bunch was abysmal and caused exactly what you said regarding two lines.

 

 

On 6/17/2018 at 3:03 AM, yave1964 said:

Same with forward Morgan Frost who may be given a 9 game chance to prove he belongs in the NHL as a scoring winger and if not be returned to the OHL. German Rubtsov is a first rounder who the Flyers envision as their 3C of the future with upside to move up from there

 

Yeah. This is more thrown out there for other Flyers' fans: the 9-game chance might be a possibility but I'm wondering if he doesn't stay with the Phantoms.  At 19, he could certainly benefit from another year in juniors, but I wonder if there isn't some hope he's ready for the NHL in 2019-20.    Maybe getting him ready against bigger opponents is warranted.  I've argued the other way on this, so just wondering.   Rubstov seems like a 3C candidate and I think that's where they slot him.  But now I'm wondering what they do with Frost unless they throw him out to wing.  I'd like to see him learn wing somewhere other than the NHL, though.

 

On 6/17/2018 at 3:03 AM, yave1964 said:

C'MON REALLY, ELLIOTT/NEUVIRTH/MRAZEK? IS THAT THE BEST THEY CAN DO?

 I like the Flyers quite a lot but these three in net is kind of like letting a 16 year old kid drive your Beemer,  they are just not true NHL worthy starts. I get it that Hart is the future but IMHO there is no way the Flyers win anything with these three Goof Troop rejects in net. Elliot cannot stay healthy and is average, Neuvirth is a body and Mrazek God onlyknows what you are gonna get from night to night. The team is too good and too deep to continue to throw them out there every night.

 

 

Could you please email this to Hextall?     I think, though, Elliot could better stay healthy if the coach didn't run him into the ground.  I know that's hard because you have Neuvirth who is actually better in some ways but gets hurt putting his skates on, and Mrazek who you know all too well.

 

On 6/17/2018 at 3:03 AM, yave1964 said:

THE FLYERS HAVE PICKS 14 AND 19, DO YOU USE THEM TO MOVE UP? The Flyers have a ton of cap space and two middle first picks, they may use them to add a top six veteran forward or remain where they are or package them to move up to get a player who they truly want such as Brady Tkachuk or Zadina. Hextall has proven to be aggressive at and around the draft so there is a very real chance that they make a splash at the draft or before.

 

We've talked about this ad nauseum in the Flyers' forum.  The really odd thing about this is that I've spent so much time scouting the players likely in the 12-25 realm that I'd almost be disappointed by trading both picks to go up.   That would probably fade when I see who we get higher up, but ...  I could see them moving up, I can see them trading back with 19, and I can see them trading one and a player to move up (not as high).  I can see them picking with both.  At this point, I'll have no idea until Friday is over.

 

On 6/17/2018 at 3:03 AM, yave1964 said:

ARE THEY CURRENTLY A CUP CONTENDER?

 

I've read enough of your primers to know this is a standard-format question for you.  But it's still funny.  (No.  Not with this goaltending).

 

 

Really appreciated this.  You should do this as a blog; I think it would be well-received in wider distribution.

Edited by ruxpin
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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, ruxpin said:

Time will tell, but I agree with his being at center rather than wing but wonder if he's not better-suited at 2C.

 

I honestly don't think he should be a C at all. Granted, I haven't watched many Blues games, but I certainly saw enough of him in his time in Philly to say he was a better wing than center by a substantial margin.

 

I didn't dislike Schenn. He had a good shot, which is always nice. Some players thrive when responsibility is thrust upon them. I'm not really sure that's the case for him, but it might be. If so, he wasn't going to get that here at any point. Giroux being Giroux, and now with the emergence of Couturier, there's just no room for him at the top of the locker room. I don't know what the situation is like in St Louis, but they really don't seem to have that kind of leadership player from what I can tell (Pietrangelo maybe?). Oddly enough, maybe Schenn picks up the mantle out of sheer necessity. 

 

There's a long list of players who grew into a stronger and more complete game following a trade. I honestly do hope Schenn goes down as one of them. As far as the Flyers perspective goes, he really did not fill such shoes in his time here -- not even close. He was definitely expendable. In fact, the return we got seems very fair so far.

 

The way he played in PHI, he was at his best as a top six scoring winger. His game just wasn't suited to the center position at this level. Time will tell, but it's entirely possibly that becomes his legacy in STL as well. It certainly wouldn't be a shock by any means. Of course, there's certainly nothing wrong with scoring wingers either. Every team needs them (we do at the moment in fact)!

 

The idea of him being a 1C seems very unlikely to me. People can change of course. As I mentioned, responsibility in particular can prompt such changes in certain people. So who knows?

 

As of this writing, it seems much too early to answer a "who won the trade?" type of questioning. Past behaviour being the best predictor of future behaviour, my best guess is Schenn will continue to be Schenn. That is, he'll continue to be a top six player who is at his best when someone else is making space and feeding him pucks. Again, teams need those guys too! They don't generally play at center though, and for very good reasons...

 

At the same time, Frost has been dynamite, and we do get another 1st this year out of it. There's really no telling if Frost's skill will translate to the NHL of course. Answering the question above will likely rest on that, which isn't something we'll know for at least a few more years.

 

If I was to map out a qualitative scale and put some PHI forwards from the last decade on it:

 

Fringe NHLer / Bottom six / Top six plug / Solid top six / Top line elite

 

 Laughton / Filpulla / Raffl / Couturier / Giroux

 

I'd say Schenn is probably somewhere in between Raffl and Couts. If Frost comes in around the same point, then I'll say we won the trade. If Schenn blossoms into one of the top two rungs in his time in STL, then probably they win it.

Edited by elmatus
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@elmatus

 

I didn't like Schenn. The only time I really liked him is when I thought he was going to pop Crosby in the mouth. 

 

I was going to reply that I actually preferred him at center, at least on the offensive side. I'm going to still say that, but the honest truth is when he was playing wing I insisted he should be at center. The complete opposite was true when he played center (I'd say he should be on wing)! 

 

The truth is, he simply didn't fit in Philly. He moved up and down the roster and from center to wing and back and never seized the opportunity at any of those positions.  They sadly never tried him at center between Giroux and Voracek (to my knowledge) and maybe that works, but while he was here there was nothing he did that would have made that occur to me (of course, I didn't spend much time thinking about Giroux on wing, either).   

 

The only place that he seemed at home was on the power play, but his salary is an awful lot for just a power play specialist. 

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      Down to the final three teams, the two from the SCF and your Flyers. As always I call em as I see em, hopefully an outsiders view doesn't both anyone. Just a Hockey nerds take on your Flyers.    FINAL RECORD 42-26-14 96 POINTS made playoffs lost in first round to the Penguins in six games.     The Flyers have went through a couple of GMs and Valiolette to Berube to Haksoi but the results are the same over the past six years, miss the playoffs one year make it in and lose in the first round the next. In spite of some world class talent dotting the roster the Flyers have not won a postseason series since 2012.   A lot happened this past year, at the draft Schenn was sent out for little immediate help but the Flyers do have the Blues first rounder (pick 14) so it is too early to call it a bad trade althoughSchenn did develop into a solid 1C in St. Louis and Lehtera, the warm body portion of the deal scored 3 goals and was awful. But from that deal Couturier blossomed when given a chance to play big time minutes (31-45-76) to go with arguably the best defense of any forward in the game and finally had the breakout year they have hoped for and is now established as a true force at both ends of the ice. Claude Giroux after having his points drop from 86 to 76, 63 and 58 turned it around with a monster 103 point regular season winning nearly 60 percent of faceoffs and having a truly Hart worthy season. Voracek continues to be one of the best passers on the wing in all of hockey with 65 assists and 85 points. Travis Konecny made the team and managed 24 goals in spite of very limited power play time and established himself as an NHLer, he will be used more in key situations going forward and has tremendous untapped potential. Simmonds had kind of a meh season but managed 24 goals 11 on the PP. Nolan Patrick had moments where he showed his potential but was in and out although there are 30 other teams who would be thrilled to have him. Like Konecny his ice time is expected to take an uptick especially in offensive zone time and doubling his rookie output of 30 points is very doable based off his talent. Scott Laughton had a fine year mostly on the 4th line but bouncing up and down the lines as a swiss army knife player as needed. His 11 minutes a night needs to go up to take advantage of his untapped offense.   On defense, Ghostisbehere had 65 points and was a power play monster with 7 goals and 26 assists with the man advantage. Provorov (17-24-41) plays in all situations and has established himself as one of the leagues top two way defenders. Hagg and Sanheim established themselves as NHL worthy and more is to be expected of both. This quartet and throw in former first rounder Morin combine to make almost every GM in the game envious of the talent on the back end. Brandon Manning and McDonald were okay and especially McDonald is simply keeping a seat warm until Morin is recalled for good.   Like anyone else, there were lowlights as well and the Flyers had more than there share, Filpulla continues to atrophy as a player into irrelevance, Lehtera was God awful Jordan Weal is an AHL all Star who is half a step too slow and three inches too short to translate into the NHL, he simply does not belong on any roster that is serious about winning. Rumors are that Dale Weise was signed to play for the Flyers but other than collecting a paycheck on payday nobody ever saw him. Matt Read finally ran out the string and is probably done after 1 goal in 19 games. Gudas had a pretty mediocre year as a stopgap on defense and was nicked up quite a lot. In other words the veteran role players were poorly chosen and let the team down considerably forcing too much pressure on the top two lines. A handful of kids namely Goulbourne, Leier, Lindblom and Martel were given a few games here and there and for the most part did nothing with the opportunity to prove worthy of a longer look.    In net Elliott was the Flyers top goalie, this is not a compliment. He managed to get on the ice for only 43 games and won 23 of them so he wasn't that bad but he is at best a stopgap until Hart arrives but he is what he is. Nuevirth was a body, more bad than good, injuries and what not forced the Flyers to trade for Mrazek from Detroit and after looking brilliant in a few starts he turned back into Mrazek again, a good game followed by a meh one followed by a bad one, rinse and repeat. This is not a playoff winning goalie trio. As a backup playing 25 games I think any of the three are capable but to rely on them to be the last line of defense for a good team is indefensible.   FREE AGENTS Read, Filpulla and Oduya are all UFA and wont be back. Manning wasn't bad last year but is being squeezed by kids coming from within the organization and will likely be allowed to walk. Mrazek and Hagg are RFA. Cap room is not an issue as they have at least 17 million in cap space and potentially more depending on where the cap winds up this offseason. Simmonds has one more year to go on his 3.9 million dollar deal and his situation will need to be addressed.   TOP PROSPECTS When I say top prospects I am referring to who will make an impact next season with the big club and one who jumps off the page to me is Nicolas Aube-Kubel who will play wing on the bottom six with a bit of a scoring touch and responsible in his own zone and loves to hit. On defense Morin and Phillipe Myers are likely making the team and hitting everything that moves with good puck moving abilities so there is a good chance that the Flyers top six defenseman will all be gifted kids pushing each other. The hope is that Lindblom will take a middle six winger spot and provide good secondary scoring, he will be given every chance to do so. Carter Hart is the real deal as a goalie prospect but his time is not now. Same with forward Morgan Frost who may be given a 9 game chance to prove he belongs in the NHL as a scoring winger and if not be returned to the OHL. German Rubtsov is a first rounder who the Flyers envision as their 3C of the future with upside to move up from there.    This is a deep and talented bunch of kids who have a shot at earning spots on the team and running with it for the next decade plus.  Most pundits rank the Flyers farm system as among the deepest in the game. They are brimming over with kids who want ice time at the big level.   OFFSEASON QUESTIONS C'MON REALLY, ELLIOTT/NEUVIRTH/MRAZEK? IS THAT THE BEST THEY CAN DO?  I like the Flyers quite a lot but these three in net is kind of like letting a 16 year old kid drive your Beemer,  they are just not true NHL worthy starts. I get it that Hart is the future but IMHO there is no way the Flyers win anything with these three Goof Troop rejects in net. Elliot cannot stay healthy and is average, Neuvirth is a body and Mrazek God onlyknows what you are gonna get from night to night. The team is too good and too deep to continue to throw them out there every night.   WHAT TO DO ABOUT SIMMONDS He is 30 this year and looks to be in the decline phase of his career, going from a 30 goal ferocious fighter with 120 or so PIMs to a 20 goal guy who is more of a threat than an actual deterrent nowadays. My original thought was they need to wrap him up but with the kids coming and based off of his slipping production he may be best dealt. What may prevent that is the Schenn deal where he was dispatched to the Blues and had a nice 70 point season centering Taresenko, the Flyers would not want to get egg on their face twice. Branch Rickey used to say always trade players at or before their 30th birthday and that may be the best thing to do with Simmonds.   THE FLYERS HAVE PICKS 14 AND 19, DO YOU USE THEM TO MOVE UP? The Flyers have a ton of cap space and two middle first picks, they may use them to add a top six veteran forward or remain where they are or package them to move up to get a player who they truly want such as Brady Tkachuk or Zadina. Hextall has proven to be aggressive at and around the draft so there is a very real chance that they make a splash at the draft or before.   WHAT TO DO WITH ALL THAT CAP ROOM There are a half a dozen top tier players who are UFA at the end of the upcoming season ranging from Karlsson to Doughty and Seguin, the Flyers are in a position to make a move and add one without disrupting the salary cap and they have the picks/prospects to make it happen. I would not be surprised if the Flyers make a move for a top tier winger in the next two weeks.   ARE THEY CURRENTLY A CUP CONTENDER? No. No team alive can win with that trio in net, just being honest but they are really close. A well built organization with depth everywhere, Hart is likely a couple of years away and they have the room to make a move in net but there are limited options available. I love the future for the team but until the netminding is properly addressed they are a pretender, albeit an intriguing one with tons of potential.    
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      @yave1964   Thank you for all of your write-ups. Like the others said, it's nice particularly in this case to have an outsider's take on the team I follow.  I read this shortly after you posted but haven't had time to comment until now.     Quite true.  The results are the same, but I like to think heading in the right direction.   Lots of weeds to dig out and new crops to plant over the last several years.  We waited until stage 4 and crap started falling off before starting chemo.     You go on to mitigate the impact of this statement some, but it's interesting to me how this is viewed outside of Philly and even among some Flyers fans (less so as time's progressed, but there are still holdouts!).   With Frost's development--I really think he was the target of the trade to Hextall's mind, so I don't think it was simply a 1st rounder with a slot number--and with the potential of the #14 coupled with the likelihood of buying out Lehtera this summer, this will ultimately be a success in terms of both personnel and cap reduction.   It also allowed other incumbents to move around the lineup and succeed (Couts and Giroux, in particular.  Please don't include Filppula in this. LOL).  That's not to say the Flyers necessarily won this.  I think each team got what they wanted and needed -- though, as has been said, I don't think Schenn is actually a #1 center.   I'm not as concerned with his making others better.  If he can keep up with his linemates like he showed in the first couple months, that's sufficient and not terribly dissimilar from Coots.  It's the lack of consistency in him that bothers me at 1C.  Time will tell, but I agree with his being at center rather than wing but wonder if he's not better-suited at 2C.     My only reason for highlighting this is to comment that it was both funny in the way it was written and quite true.  Well-said and very entertaining to read!     I think true, if possibly a little unfair in the case of Lindblom.  I thought he played well but hasn't yet shown the results.  I think the second line and next to a rookie center may have been an unfair role the coach put him in.   The vet role players, given cost and term, might have been a dice roll with only small chance of upside but placeholders until more cavalry can arrive.  No matter how you frame it, though, the production from that bunch was abysmal and caused exactly what you said regarding two lines.       Yeah. This is more thrown out there for other Flyers' fans: the 9-game chance might be a possibility but I'm wondering if he doesn't stay with the Phantoms.  At 19, he could certainly benefit from another year in juniors, but I wonder if there isn't some hope he's ready for the NHL in 2019-20.    Maybe getting him ready against bigger opponents is warranted.  I've argued the other way on this, so just wondering.   Rubstov seems like a 3C candidate and I think that's where they slot him.  But now I'm wondering what they do with Frost unless they throw him out to wing.  I'd like to see him learn wing somewhere other than the NHL, though.     Could you please email this to Hextall?     I think, though, Elliot could better stay healthy if the coach didn't run him into the ground.  I know that's hard because you have Neuvirth who is actually better in some ways but gets hurt putting his skates on, and Mrazek who you know all too well.     We've talked about this ad nauseum in the Flyers' forum.  The really odd thing about this is that I've spent so much time scouting the players likely in the 12-25 realm that I'd almost be disappointed by trading both picks to go up.   That would probably fade when I see who we get higher up, but ...  I could see them moving up, I can see them trading back with 19, and I can see them trading one and a player to move up (not as high).  I can see them picking with both.  At this point, I'll have no idea until Friday is over.     I've read enough of your primers to know this is a standard-format question for you.  But it's still funny.  (No.  Not with this goaltending).     Really appreciated this.  You should do this as a blog; I think it would be well-received in wider distribution.
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      @yave1964   First of all, "Thank you" for taking the time to do these reviews.  Even though I may not comment on every single team, I sincerely enjoy reading them.  You are a valuable member here at HF.net  and we are so lucky that you are part of our hockey community.   Now on to the Flyers ......   I agree with a vast majority of your assessment.   The glaring weakness in goal is so apparent that even Stevie Wonder can see it.  The 3 stooges in goal known as Elliot / Neuvirth / and Mrazek simply must be addressed.  I'm all for shipping out Mrazek and Neuvy (who seems to get hurt in the most innocuous ways).  Help is on the way in Hart, but this team needs a stop gap.  Soome may argue against me, but is Bernier a FA?  He did well in Colorado and helped get that team to the playoffs.  He is not a savior by no means, but he has got to be better than than the latter two.   The Schenn trade.......  See the lengthy discussion on the Flyers forum and you will get a myriad of opinions.  Initially at the onset of the season it looked like a huge blunder by Hexy.  Schenn explode onto the Blues scene with many points.  Then he tailed off significantly.  Was part of it because both Schwartz and Tarensenko shared time on IR?  Or IMO, is it because Schenn does not drive the play?  He is a one trick pony on the PP.  It showed because his point production dropped of significantly during the second half of the season.  So did the Flyers really lose on this trade?  After all they did manage to get the Blues 14th overall draft pick for this year.  It will be interesting to see what Hexy does with #14 and #19.   This off season and upcoming season is IMO, a turning point for this franchise.  Finally having some cap room and finally jettisoning some trash, the Flyers are in position to make an even more significant stride.  Of course the questions remain with Lehtera / Weal / Filpulla.  This team finally has young talent waiting in the wings we just have to patient 1 more year.   I'm on the fence with Simmonds ........   I do think you missed one vital part regarding this team.  Hak.......  At times he seems to be over is head and many of us want him gone ......and then there are times he stays calm cool collected and the Flyers go on a 10-0 run.  He is like the Jekyll and Hyde of coaching.  At times I honestly believe he holds this team back.  I think this is the year he has to prove himself.  I can't see Hexy waiting another year or two to see if Hak gets it or not at the  NHL level.   Bottom line ...this is a HUGE season coming up for the Flyers.   Anyway this is just my observation.  Great write up @yave1964 !  Thank you for all your hard work!
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      I thought that was a fairly well-reasoned assessment.  My only slightly negative comment (and commented as much on the page), is that the thing about Frost being 19 playing against 17 and 18 year olds is as unfair as it is untrue.   He didn't turn 19 until after the season (on May 14).  So, he was an 18-year old dominating 17 and 18-year olds.      
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      Great read.   Thanks for the outside view always helps.   The Schenn developing into a solid 1C is the only part i disagree with. Sure he lit on fire till it turned Christmas time racking up a good portion of his points and production early in the season.   And i would expect that from him being pissed off the best player NOT in the NHL already traded twice before turning 26 has to hit on the ego.   However when it was crunch time and all the chips were on the table and the Blues were fighting for a playoff slot the Schenn i have come to know reappeared and just fired blanks when the team needed what they got from him in October and November.   Now am i shocked no.   He had done that before.   And it is all on him the Blues struggled in net with their starter not playing well and injuries cropped up.   Yet Brayden at the end of the day just doesn't help make guys around better he struggles having to lug the puck into the offensive zone....the less time he has to have the puck the better it is for his team mates.   Best thing the Blues can do if they are smart is drop Brayden down to 2C if they are set on keeping him at center.   Myself i think he is better on the wing. But that is not the Flyers problem anymore. I like their return for him despite having to watch Lehterable for one more season.   Frost is going to play a long time for the Flyers it seems right now. One more year of junior should allow him to add some more strength and size to help prepare him for the rigors of the NHL in a year or two.   Thanks for taking the time you have a good feel for the pulse of the Flyers even though you are a loyal Wings fan.
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      Pretty much sums up my feelings .......  best part ....like you said...He is no longer the Flyers problem anymore.    but many around here don't even consider Schenn a 'real' 1st line guy. (from the Blues Message Board)   Interesting perspective from Blues fans about the Schenn trade.  Hidden Content Give reaction or reply to this topic to see the hidden content.   So who really won the Schenn trade??? Hidden Content Give reaction or reply to this topic to see the hidden content.      

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