The highly anticipated 2021-22 Philadelphia Flyers season is just a month away and there are many reasons to be optimistic about the changes Chuck Fletcher made to the team during the summer. Though even with the sweeping moves, there are still some questions about the state of the team heading into the new season. From players hitting their stride to the new guys fitting in their new environments, these are the biggest burning questions heading into the 2021-22 Flyers season.
Number 5: What is Joel Farabee’s ceiling?
One of the lone bright spots during the atrocious 2021 campaign was the emergence of Joel Farabee as the team’s top scorer. He was the only player to break the 20-goal plateau during the season. He did have three separate six-goal pointless droughts, but that can be chalked up to a pathetic team around him. The Flyers have desperately needed a young player to step and and take the torch for the next generation and so far it feels like Farabee is that guy. He technically avoided his sophomore slump, but most players succumb to struggle at some point early in their careers. Even if Farabee stumbles a bit this season, at just 21 years old, focusing on the long game should still be the goal. Hopefully Farabee keeps his ascent going this year and becomes a leaguewide sensation. If he can avoid any major hangups this year, we’ll have a much better outlook at what Farabee’s future will hold.
Number 4: Will Travis Konency rebound?
For much of his early career, Travis Konecny has been the picture of consistency. 24-goals, 49 points. Though he hit a snag in the 2020 playoff bubble and just hasn’t been the same player since. He tied his career low of just 11 goals, a number he hasn’t seen since his rookie season, and was just generally not the bubbly pain in the keister he typically is. Luckily the Flyers have quite a bit of reinforcements on the right wing, so a complete bounce back isn’t a do-or-die situation for the team’s offensive output, but having Konecny back at his peak only makes the entire team better.
Number 3: Travis Sanheim and Rasmus Ristolainen’s ability to gel
When two polarizing figures end up one the same pair, who ends up successful? It’ll be a burning question through much of the season. In a perfect world, Ristolainen becomes a stay-at-home physical defenseman who will make plenty of room for Carter Hart in the crease while Sanheim can finally put his puck moving offensive ability on display. But these are two defenseman who regularly feel the ebb and flow of the season and often struggle to stay consistent. There are other potential options for the blueline, but there’s a good chance this duo will be together for most of the season, so hopefully they can find some level of cohesion or the Flyers are in for another painful season on defense.
Number 2: Will Carter Hart Bounce Back?
We’ve been positive about Hart’s chances of returning to a high level, but until the Flyers actually take the ice, Carter Hart’s production remains a real concern. He posted very respectable numbers in both of his first two seasons with the team and was borderline invincible during the 2020 playoff bubble, so it’s not like there’s no base in assuming Hart will get his head together during the 2021-22 season. With fans back in the building and a much improved team in from of him, let’s all cross out fingers and hope that Carter Hart returns to the Flyers back to his usual self.
Number 1: How will the chemistry in the room look with the new additions?
Chuck Fletcher did the impossible this offseason rebuilt a large portion of the Flyers’ roster. With some many old voices leaving and new voices arriving all at once, one has to wonder what the chemistry in the room will look like out of the gate. Will the team get a much needed breath of fresh air or will it be a case of too many cooks in the kitchen? While all the additions worn an “A” with their previous team, it doesn’t feel like a situation of bringing in big personalities, but rather humble leaders who have been there and done that. Hopefully the new mixture of voices leads the team to victory rather than a sourse of its demise.
By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)
photo credit: nhl.com / sjmagazine.net / cyncentral.com