The 2021-22 Philadelphia Flyers season is just a month away and the anticipation for the Fly Guys to hit the ice is at its peak. Not only is the anticipation high, but the expectations are as well. With a crucial season on the way, way not make some bold predictions for the 2021-22 Flyers club?
Number 5: Alain Vigneault gets fired
Hopefully it doesn’t come down to this, but all the pressure of the season will fall squarely on the shoulders of Alain Vigneault. Chuck Fletcher did his job and built a brand new roster for his coach to utilize to the fullest, and if for some reason he can’t get the train back on the track, the blood will be on Vigneault’s hands. As long as the Flyers are in the playoff hunt during the season, it shouldn’t happen, but something worth keeping an eye on if things go wrong.
Number 4: Wade Allison breakout season
Even with all the young prospects that have made their Flyers debut over the last handful of seasons, Wade Allison brought an excitement level with him when he made his Flyers’ debut in 2021 that we haven’t seen previously. He scored four goals and seven points in 14 NHL games last year and, combined with his bubbly personality and antics, feels like a very easy player to root for and get excited about. He’ll have some hurdles to overcome with the depth on the team in front of him, but if he gets out of the gate hot, there’s no reason to think he won’t carve out a niche soon enough.
Number 3: Rasmus Ristolainen is actually good
The biggest debate heading into the 2021-22 season is the merits of defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen and what level of play he will bring to his new team. But hear me out… what if he’s actually good? It’s something most won’t admit out loud even if it ends up being true, but he’s got the benefit of the doubt that a lesser role on a new, better team should provide a healthy environment for the soon-to-be-27-year-old to get his career back on track.
Number 2: Carter Hart wins the Vezina
Carter Hart will return for his fourth NHL season, but first full campaign, with a shiny new $12 million contract in tow and a lot to prove. We’ve seen many faces of Hart over the last few seasons. From a beast at home but a mess on the road during the 2019-20 regular season, to a borderline unbeatable force in the 2020 bubble, to a flat out disaster in 2021. Not only has Hart had a full offseason to refocus and heal up, he has a much improved team in front of him to help out. The goalies deserve a lot of heat for their lackluster performances last year, but they had practically no support in front of them either. With a new defense, a couple solid depth two-way forward additions and a better locker room, all signs point to Hart having a very good rebound season, and if he plays at a level we all know he can, there’s nothing stopping him from taking home some hardware at season’s end.
Number 1: Flyers win the Cup
As a life long fan, I can honestly say the feeling I have about the current Flyers team is one that we haven’t experienced in a very long time. There are still some questions as to how this team ends up shaking out, and how a team looks on paper doesn’t always mean it’ll turn out well in real life- see: the 2021 season. But if all the stars align and the Flyers can handle the regular season with some ease and the proper adjustments are made at the trade deadline, maybe this is the year the Flyers end their 47-year Cup drought.
A boy can dream, right?
By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)
photo credit: nhl.com / sportingnews.com