|2016-17 season: 39-33-10, 88 points
Did not qualify for playoffs
|Head Coach: Dave Hakstol (2015)|
|6th Place Metro Division||General Manager: Ron Hextall (2014)|
|11th Place Eastern Conference||AHL Affiliate: Lehigh Valley Phantoms
ECHL Affiliate: Reading Royals
|Draft Position: Will have the 13th greatest odds in the NHL Draft Lottery|
|D||26||Michael Del Zotto||51||18||6||12||-5||50.5|
|POS||Age||Name||Games Started||W/L Record||Shutouts||GAA||Save %|
Trades Made During the Season
|What They Acquired||Team They Traded With||In Exchange For|
|F Valtteri Filppula
2017 4th RD Pick
Conditional 2017 7th RD Pick
|Tampa Bay Lightning||D Mark Streit|
|Conditional 2017 or
2018 7th RD Pick
|New Jersey Devils||RW Petr Straka|
Impending Free Agents
|POS||Age||Name||2016-17 Cap Hit|
|D||26||Michael Del Zotto||$3,875,000|
- The Flyers have ten picks in the upcoming draft, including two in the 3rd and three in the 4th. They also have one of the best young defense cores in the league that will be graduating to the NHL within the next few years. It’s good enough that they could rival those of the Hurricanes, Predators, and Wild. They also have two good, young goaltenders in Anthony Stolarz and Carter Hunt who will make up the future starting tandem. What the franchise needs now are forward prospects. Their NHL roster is getting older and will need some help from prospects in the near future. I would like to see them begin working on their depth down the middle where only Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier appear to be members of their future core.
What I Said About Them Before the Season
- I slotted the Flyers in as a potential Wild Card team again this season, believing that Jakub Voracek and Claude Giroux would both have bounceback seasons. I also thought that Shayne Gostisbehere would build off his rookie season and players like Ivan Provorov and Travis Konecny would play big roles on the team this season. Mostly, I was just a believer in the plan that the Flyers front office has put forth and that it will eventually lead them to continued success.
- Somewhat Successful – I’m not certain that the Flyers were truly attempting to make the playoffs this season based on the moves they made last offseason. If they were it was never going to be a playoffs-or-bust season for Philly. They had some good successes this season, including the bounceback season for Jakub Voracek, Wayne Simmonds continuing to show that he is an elite goalscorer, and the development of Ivan Provorov and Travis Konecy as bonafide NHLers. They also got to see what future starting goaltender Anthony Stolarz can do in the NHL by giving him four starts. On the other hand, they also has some failures. Captain Claude Giroux has continued his slide from the 86 point season he had in 2013-14, finishing with just 58 points in a full 82 games this season. Defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere didn’t continue building off his excellent rookie year last season and instead found himself a healthy scratch on several occasions. That is a big deal for the Flyers as he should be one of the foundational pieces for the franchise moving forward. The biggest struggles for the team, in my opinion, were their personnel moves, or the lack thereof. Trading away Mark Streit made all the sense in the world since he an unrestricted free agent after this season, but acquiring Valtteri Filppula in return, is so questionable. If there weren’t an Expansion Draft looming after this season this move would be great for the Flyers as they need that solid two-way center. However, Filppula has a no-movement clause on his contract so he must be protected by the Flyers in the Draft, taking up one of their protection slots when they would like to protect as many of their players as possible. I also question them extending goaltender Michal Neuvirth for two more seasons. I get that they needed to sign a goalie to expose to Vegas because they will want to protect Anthony Stolarz but they could have exposed Neuvirth by extending him just one year. The only thing I can think of is that Neuvirth wouldn’t agree to an extension unless he got more than one year. Regardless, I don’t think that he is the type of player Vegas is going to want so the Flyers will probably have both he and Stolarz next season. Finally, the moves the front office didn’t make this season are the most questionable. Not trading Nick Schultz or Michael Del Zotto at the trade deadline seems like an oversight by the team. I can understand them not moving Del Zotto if they plan on trying to re-sign him after the season, but I doubt Schultz is in the plan for the team going forward, as he is 34 years old already. Defensemen are always valuable at the deadline and even trading him for a lower round draft pick would be beneficial to the team.
- The biggest thing that the Flyers need for next season is for Claude Giroux to actually play like a number one center. He currently has the 11th highest cap hit of any player in the league but had the 47th most points this season. He was paid a crazy high $142,672 per point this season when Sidney Crosby was paid $97,753 and Nicklas Backstrom just $77,907. A player who takes up as much of a team’s cap space as Giroux does has to perform at a higher level than he has been the past three seasons. Jakub Voracek needs to follow suit for the Flyers to be a playoff team next season. Beyond that, the team needs to see their young players like Ivan Provorov, Travis Konecny, Shayne Gostisbehere, and Anthony Stolarz continue to develop in the NHL. They are all part of the team’s future core and need to begin taking bigger roles on the roster. The Flyers would also benefit from the development of their prospects in the minors such as defensemen Samuel Morin and Travis Sanheim, and forwards German Rubtsov, Pascal Laberge, and Wade Allison. Philadelphia has built itself one of the best farm systems in the league and they should begin reaping the rewards from that system in the coming years. This will be further added to by efficiently using their ten draft picks and further strengthen their depth. As far as player personnel decisions go, the team needs to make a decision on Michael Del Zotto after the Expansion Draft and whether or not to re-sign him. He played fairly well this season despite missing time due to injury and could serve a good purpose on a blueline that figures to be fairly young next season. I would sign him to a three year deal at most and see if he can pair with one of their young defensemen. They also need to re-sign Shayne Gostibehere as he is a restricted free agent this offseason. Prior to the season, I projected that perhaps he could be in line for a deal similar to Aaron Ekblad’s but after Gostibehere’s down season, I don’t think that will happen. He will probably want to sign a shorter deal for now and try to build back up to that massive deal in a few seasons. The Flyers also don’t want to pay someone that much money when he hasn’t shown he can be consistent yet. In terms of free agency, I would like to see the Flyers add to the fringes of their forward group. They have a good core right now that should get better as their prospects develop, but they need help on the bottom six. Dale Weise, in my opinion, is more of a fourth liner and a third liner, and signing a player to allow him to move down a line is important. If they do these things I think that the Flyers could be a borderline Wild Card team in 2017-18.
*All stats and information came from hockey-reference.com, rosterresource.com, spotrac.com, NHL.com, hockeydb.com, capfriendly.com, tsn.ca, and eliteprospects.com*