Coming into the 2020-2021 season, my expectations for the Philadelphia Flyers were extraordinarily low. Even with the recent acquisitions that include Ryan Ellis, Martin Jones, Cam Atkinson, Nate Thompson, Derick Brassard, Keith Yandle, I thought the Flyers were not a playoff ready team.
Let’s just say that those thoughts have disappeared from my head. The Flyers are good … and not just sneak into the playoffs and lose in the first round good; I mean excellent good.
During every NHL season, I always look at the first 10 games to judge a team’s performance … anything before that is premature in my opinion.
So, at 6-2-2, Philadelphia is looking like a very formidable hockey team. Sitting at third in the Metro and eighth in the league as a whole, the Flyers have a real chance of going on a run this season. With all the positives coming from the Flyers side, I would like to look at why this team is doing so well. What is the difference from last year’s blunders to this year successes?
Cam Atkinson Loves To Shoot The Puck
I think Atkinson is the single greatest signing by Chuck during his time with Philadelphia. I know that Flyers fans love to yell at players to shoot the puck, something which former Flyer Jakub Voráček loved. Why do I think Atkinson is one of Chuck’s best signings? Because the man shoots the puck!
During my time as a Flyers fan, I have seen countless plays where the orange and black will be in front of an open net and blatantly pass the puck away.
With six goals on the year, Atkinson leads the team in scoring and is third in points. If scoring goals is not a clear indicator of how good Atkinson is, maybe watch a Flyers game or two. Whenever Cam is on the ice, he dominants play and looks to shoot the puck; something I have not seen from a Flyers player in so long.
Derick Brassard Is Channeling His Inner Bergeron
Who knew that when the Flyers signed Derick Brassard to a one-year contract that they would be getting 2nd line beauty. Never did I say to myself, “Hmh, I think I want to replace Nolan Patrick, a former number 2 overall pick, with Derick Brassard, a third liner at best”. But, I am so glad that I was wrong. Brassard is looking to be a steal, and an important player on this Flyers team. No, he is not scoring goals whenever he touches the puck, or flying through players like Connor McJesus, but Derick has proven to be an important player of this squad. Brassard’s face-off percentage has been good enough, and he is getting an appropriate amount of time on the ice. Where Brassard shines is his two-way game … Brassard has been a crucial member to this team’s defense and neutral zone play; I think it’s safe to say that the Flyers are getting a bang for their buck, considering Philadelphia is only paying the man $825k. Keep on playing good hockey, Derick!
Rasmus Ristolainen Seems To Be Very Good At Hockey
What was one of the most infuriating problems the Flyers faced last season? Alex, I’ll take this one for $400 … going to say, lack of physicality? Ding Ding Ding! You are correct! Last year, the Flyers were a sad example of a professional hockey organization.
I think one of the saddest times during last season is when Oskar Lindblom, a great player who had just returned to play from beating Ewin Sarcoma (a rare form of bone cancer), was hit massively by an opposing player, and no one came to his aid; the team just watched and stood by; there was no urgency. Imagine being diagnosed with cancer, beating it, and then returning to your job, only to see that no one cares about you. The lack of physicality the Flyers displayed last season was prominent … Risto’ solves that issue. Last year, it was evident that the Flyers were a sad organization. But, Chuck has brought the flair back to the Farg’ that Flyers fans know and love. Guys like Risto’ bring so much energy to this Flyers team. If Ristolainen did nothing else during his time with Philly, I would still be grateful for the energy he brings.
A storm is brewing in Philadelphia, and I think that the Flyers are the cause of it.
Thank you for reading! I want to hear your thoughts … what are your predication this season?
By: Ryan Meyer (@RyanLMeyer)
Photo Credit: nhl.com