With the Philadelphia Eagles being the talk of the town. The Phillies rollercoaster ride of emotions having our blood pressure fluctuating. The Ben Simmons soap opera keeps making us all sick. It may be easy to forget the new-look Philadelphia Flyers. By the time the puck drops on the opening night of the regular season, it will be 158 days since the Flyers ended the 2020-21 regular season. We all know how that ended. Flyers hockey is coming and things are different.
With the revamping of his defense, general manager Chuck Fletcher upgraded the blue line by signing Keith Yandle. Fletcher added more depth upfront as the Flyers inked center Derick Brassard. The Flyers signed both to one-year deals.
The Flyers were not sitting on their wallet this offseason as they made big moves and shipped out one of their faces of the franchise. They traded away young defenseman Philippe Myers and former No. 2 overall pick Nolan Patrick to bring in one of the top offensive defensemen in the NHL, Ryan Ellis. They then added Rasmus Ristolainen for a high price. Philadelphia sent Jakub Voracek to Columbus in return for Cam Atkinson to help boost the offense.
Konecny Looking for ReSurgence
24-year-old Travis Konecny was a first-time NHL All-Star Game participant and the Flyers’ leading regular-season scorer in 2019-20. Konecny had scored 24 goals in three straight seasons heading into this past season. He struggled during the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs in the Bubble. He went goalless with seven assists in 16 postseason games. Konecny followed it up with a disappointing 2020-21 season by his normal play standards. He missed time in February due to a bout with COVID-19 and had been a one-game healthy scratch in late January. He dressed in 50 of 56 games. Travis posted 11 goals and 34 points during the season, with just seven tallies coming at even strength.
Now does the weird COVID season cause some issues in his and the rest of the team’s play? Maybe but other teams had to deal with it. Hopefully, with a real offseason and the addition of his new kid he can get his head straight, and we can get back to the Allstar caliber player we know he can be.
Couturier Here for the Long Run
The Philadelphia Flyers have signed center Sean Couturier to an eight-year contract extension worth an average annual value (AAV) of $7.75M. The contract will go into effect beginning with the 2022-23 season. Since making his NHL debut in 2011 as an 18-year-old, Couturier has spent all 10 seasons in the league with the Flyers where he has posted 174 goals and 269 assists for 443 points in 692 regular-season games.
Last season Couturier led the team in points-per-game (.91) which was the third-highest of his career and goals-per-game (.40) which was the second-highest of his career. He recorded 41 points (18g-23a) in 45 games after missing 11 games to a shoulder injury.
He won the Bobby Clarke Trophy as Team MVP for the third consecutive season becoming just the third player in Flyers history to do that since Hextall in 1986-89 and Lindros in 1993-96. Couturier has twice been a finalist for the NHL’s Frank J. Selke Trophy (2017-18 & 2019-20). The list goes on.
The Youth is Coming
Morgan Frost and Cam York, two of the Flyers’ top prospects, have a chance to make the 2021-22 roster. But, finally, a normal year of development at a pro-level an hour-plus drive from the Flyers could be really good for two important and talented prospects.
York played 11 games between his time with Lehigh Valley and the Flyers last season. This season will be his rookie year at the pro level. After the way last season transpired, a year in which the Flyers trusted a lot of younger players in new roles, Fletcher put an emphasis this summer on gaining as much experience as possible.
Allison, a winger who turns 24 years old next month, is one of the Flyers’ top prospects and vying for a job in the team’s season-opening lineup. Wade Allison was forced to exit the Flyers’ rookie game Sunday after getting tangled up in an awkward play along the boards with Rangers prospect Braden Schneider.
Can Hart Bounce Back?
Last season, Carter Hart posted just a .877 save percentage after two seasons with a .917 and .914. His new backup, Martin Jones, has posted three straight seasons with a save percentage of .896. If the Flyers can’t solve their woes in the net (and possibly between the ears), none of the additions they made upfront will matter much. Time will tell because Flyers hockey is coming soon.