The Flyers are now 10 games into the 2021-22 season after a busy summer by general manager Chuck Fletcher where he flipped a large portion of the roster. The Flyers have started the season 6-2-2 on the backs of the new players, so why not take stock of the individual performances?
six goals, eight points
Cam Atkinson, where have you been all our lives? Ever since the days of Jeff Carter and Mike Richards, the Flyers have lacked a true shoot-first mentality, but they finally found a solution in Cam Atkinson. The 32-year-old currently leads the team with 6 goals and is third on the team in shots on goal. He’s been a breath of fresh air for the offense, and his personality and his embrace of the city of Philadelphia has immediately made him a fan favorite player. As long as the offense continues to flow throughout the season, he could go down as the Flyers’ best acquisition in many years.
two goals, seven points
Brassard was signed as a last minute depth forward to address the lack of center depth on the main roster, but due to the injury to Kevin Hayes, he has been called upon as the team’s second line center. He definitely can still play hockey at a high level, but he’s also clearly in a bit over his head centering the second line. Once Hayes returns and Brassard can retreat to a bottom-six role where he’d fit better, we should once again see the potential he brought during the early days of the season.
one goal, four points
It’s hard to grade someone who hasn’t been in the lineup, but in the three games he was healthy to start the season, Ellis was the exact type of player the flyers desperately needed on the blue line. He’s a great partner for Ivan Provorov and a man who can do a little bit of everything. We knew about his injury history when he was acquired, so missing potentially 15-30 games a season should have been expected. It’s not great, but the positives he brings in between will outweigh his prolonged absences.
zero goals, one point
A polarizing figure if there ever was one, Ristolainen has been a decent defenseman all things considered. His physicality has come as advertised, and even though it’s an unpopular opinion, he has been a perfectly fine addition to the blueline. The pair of he and Travis Sanheim has had its moments both good and bad, but as long as this version of Ristolainen sticks around he’ll be a solid top four defenseman.
zero goals, five points
Admittedly, there weren’t many Panthers fans that have had nice things to say about Yandle during the last few seasons, but so far he has proved the doubters wrong and has played perfectly fine hockey. There have been some defensive hiccups, but nothing that stands out or is repetitive. At this point in his career, he is a depth defenseman who has a deep bag of tricks and often utilizes them to his advantage with awesome stick work and prowess in the offensive zone. He’ll continue to receive favorable deployment on the third pair with normal partner Justin Braun when Ryan Ellis returns.
1.67 goals against average, .950 save percentage
One of the repeating themes of the Flyers’ offseason was the desire to find players who were in over their heads on their previous teams but could succeed in a lesser role on a better team. Enter Martin Jones. He was a man fed to the wolves on a very bad San Jose Sharks team over the last few seasons Now as a backup on an improved Flyers squad, Jones has done a pretty good job. He’s only played three games, all wins, and has recorded a 1.67 goals against average and .950 save percentage. As long as he just sees spot starts for the rest of the season there’s no reason to think he won’t continue to have success as a backup goaltender with the Flyers.
one goal, one point
Much to the chagrin of a certain section of the fanbase, the return of Nate Thompson has gone very well. He was acquired by the Flyers at the 2020 trade deadline and drew the ire of the fans after playing in the middle six during the 2020 playoffs he was not re-signed during the offseason and took his talents to Winnipeg where arguably had the best year of his career. He was brought back to Philly for the 2021-22 campaign as a depth forward and has been a worthwhile addition in his role. Don’t expect anything flashy, but Thompson is as close to a prototypical bottom-six forward as they come.
Sometimes opportunity comes knocking and it propels you into situations you typically wouldn’t find yourself in. Nick Seeler signed with the Flyers in the offseason as a depth defenseman more than likely designated for the AHL roster. But an injury to Samuel Morin opened the seventh defense spot, and a pair of back-to-back injuries to Rasmus Ristolainen and Ryan Ellis has given Seeler a prolonged look in the NHL. He is struggling a bit to keep his head above water, but he understands his role, which is to stir the pot from a physical perspective.
On paper, MacEwen seems to be a fucking Flyer, as Alain Vigneault would say. He’s been a regular in the lineup but is only seeing about seven or eight minutes of ice time per game. He does has one fight to his name, and has been an effective fourth liner overall. There seems to be another level MacEwen can hit, but given his limited role, he has played a fine game of hockey.
Patrick Brown exists! He was claimed on waivers by the Flyers from the Golden Knights on October 10 and spent the first few weeks on the covid list. He returned and joined a crowded bottom six with Nicholas Aube-Kubel, Zack MacEwen and Nate Thompson. Brown has only dressed in three game so far and his impact in those game has been fairly limited.
By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)