A team that has dealt with various setbacks, ranging from injuries to key players and inconsistent goaltending, the Philadelphia Flyers are now in a position to reach the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs, after missing the postseason in the 2019 NHL season.
The Philadelphia Flyers have a track record of making the postseason every-other year since 2012; the year of their deepest run in that span, as they were defeated in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals by the New Jersey Devils. Since 2012, the Flyers have failed to reach the second round in their previous three playoff runs, losing to the New York Rangers (2014), Washington Capitals (2016), and Pittsburgh Penguins (2018) – all of which have made it to the Stanley Cup Finals in that timeframe. Their failures have been credited to a lack of offensive production, insufficient depth on defense and poor goaltending. Not to mention, the Flyers have gone through five head coaches in the span of six years, with former Rangers HC Alain Vigneault as the new commander in chief. Despite all of the setbacks, the Flyers have an impressive 30-18-7 record, in their 2020 campaign.Their effective changes have resulted in being one point away from sitting in the No. 1 Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference.
Adjusting to the younger and faster NHL with a veteran core is a difficult process that leads many teams into long-term struggles, as seen with the L.A. Kings and the Chicago Blackhawks. Philadelphia on the other hand, has done an exceptional job by incorporating younger players among the veterans, averting the need to rebuild. Players such as Travis Konecny and Sean Couturier have emerged as legitimate forwards in the NHL, as they have 46 and 49 points respectively, despite Konecny missing three of the first 50 games of the season. In regards to their depth on defense, the Flyers have a solid core highlighted with 2-way defensemen Ivan Provorov and Matt Niskanen, the former Washington Capital and a veteran who brings the experience of winning a Stanley Cup to a young roster. Apart from the talented youngsters in the lineup, highly skilled veterans makeup the rest of this roster including Jakub Voracek and captain Claude Giroux. With a healthy balance of the new and young and the experienced veterans, the Philadelphia Flyers have a roster that can develop into an imposing threat in the East in the not-so-distant future.
Come One Come All
The Flyers were one of the most aggressive teams in the 2019 offseason as they acquired two of the highest valued targets in Free Agency: Kevin Hayes and James van Riemsdyk. Prior to their FA signings, they drafted defenseman Cameron York No. 14 overall from the USNTDP, who is currently developing in the NCAA at the University of Michigan; he’s one of the many prospects currently developing in the Flyer’s system or one of the thousands of junior leagues in North America and Europe. Should the Flyers maintain their prominence, they will have no difficulties finishing top 3 in the Metropolitan division of the Eastern Conference.