It’s been 47 years since the Philadelphia Flyers won their last Stanley Cup. Every year since, the team in one way or another has found away to let everybody down. But not this year. The 2021-22 NHL season is the year things finally go the way of the Philadelphia Flyers. They’re going to win the big one and the city will revel when the reigning champs #BringItToBroad.
Number 5: Kevin Hayes Playing Inspired
Even though he will start the season on the injured list, Hayes has quite a bit of weight to shoulder when he returns to the team. Not only has he become one of the faces of the Philadelphia Flyers thanks to his big personality, but he also plays an important role on the ice as well. He had a rough summer, between a core muscle surgery and the loss of his brother, Jimmy, he has a mountain to overcome when he is cleared to play. He stated that he will be playing the season for his brother, and what better way to honor him than to bring a Cup home. The injuries will be hard to overcome, but expect him to be extra driven when he finally does return to the ice, and that drive will hopefully rub off on his teammates.
Number 4: Carter Hart
All eyes will be on the Flyers goaltending heading into the new season after the atrocity that was 2021. Carter Hart will once again get the call as the starting goaltender in what looks to be his first full 82-game campaign now four seasons into his career. By all accounts his head is clear and is focused on the new season and putting last year’s debacle behind him. If the Flyers get even slightly above average goaltending from Hart, they will more than likely be a playoff team, if Hart can re-find his form from the 2020 playoffs for a bulk of the season, he could very well be the difference maker from a good to great team.
Number 3: Ryan Ellis’ Presence
During the 2019-20 season, one of the most important players on that team was veteran defenseman Matt Niskanen. He helped will that team to a successful season, and was a huge missing link during the 2021 campaign. Chuck Fletcher went out and addressed the hole at the top RHD spot and found 30-year-old 10-year NHL veteran Ryan Ellis. The new guy has been bonded at the hip with his new partner Ivan Provorov both on and off the ice, and he is already turning heads with his play during training camp and the preseason. If he can bring a borderline elite level play for himself and manage to buoy Ivan Provorov as well and a real top defense pair is born, an otherwise gaping hole for the Flyers is closed.
Number 2: The New Team Leadership
Chuck Fletcher spent the summer not only overhauling the team on the ice, but making significant changes to the leadership group off it. Shipping out some stale veteran voices in the room, and adds a flurry of players that wore “A’s” for their previous team. The theory is “a rising tide lifts all ships” so they expanded the leadership group, and it brings experience that the young players can now soak up and continue to progress in a better, more successful direction.
Number 1: Claude Giroux Finally Gets His
“He’s missing one thing to his legacy and that’s what he wants to get to. I’m hoping to help him achieve that.” said head coach Alain Vigneault of his captain Claude Giroux during one of his training camp interview sessions. It’s no secret Claude Giroux is getting older and the opportunities he has left to chase the Cup are starting to dwindle. Luckily for him, and the entire team, Giroux still seems more than capable of playing at a high level. For the first time since his early days with the franchise, Giroux finally has a competent team around him and new voices in the room for his leadership to resonate with. A new crew mixed with his drive and determination, Giroux is going to will the Flyers to a Stanley Cup before it’s too late.
By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)
photo credit: nhl.com