After a disappointing offseason by Chuck Fletcher and the Flyers, they are gearing up to run it back with an almost identical team that finished fourth worst in the NHL in 2021-22, hoping the injury bug stays away and the returning players are good enough to save the sinking ship. That alone is a bold prediction the organization is banking on, but what other bold predictions could we propose for the 2022-23 season?
Number 5: Travis Konecny Plays Like an NHLer
Entering year seven of Travis Konecny’s career and we’re all still patiently waiting for him to establish himself as anything more than a 50-point winger. Ever since posting 24 goals and 61 points in 66 games in 2019-20, he has scored just 27 goals 86 points in the last 145 games dating back to the 2020 playoffs. He’s a fan favorite, so there’s always an excuse for his pedestrian-level play, but considering he once again appears to be slotted in a top-six winger spot, he is going to need to step up his game if the Flyers actually want to succeed this season.
Number 4: Ryan Ellis Plays
At this point Ryan Ellis actually playing again is a bold prediction, right? He played all of four games during 2021-22 before an undisclosed multi-layered hip/groin/core injury left him sidelined for the rest of the season. After promising a battle plan at the end-of-season press conference, they organization has apparently walked back that timeline and it looks like he won’t be ready for the season to start. His timeline has gone from the original six weeks to creeping up on a full year, so if we ever see Ryan Ellis in orange and black again, especially in an extended stint, it would be a surprise.
Number 3: One of the Young Guys is a Star
Alright, We’re leaving this one vague right now just because there are quite a few youngsters on the roster and as of this writing have no idea which ones make the main roster to start the season. Whether it be Bobby Brink (who is starting the season on IR), Owen Tippett, Tyson Foerster, Noah Cates, or Wade Allison, somebody in this current crop of prospects has to be a star, right? The hot young rookie that dominates the highlight reels across the league all season long? Our Zigras or Seider or Caufield? I think Tortorella’s head would explode if the Flyers had a Zigras clone, but the franchise desperately needs a new star to build around.
Number 2: Couturier and Hayes are Healthy
If the Flyers hope to have any success, they are going to need their top two centers to play at their absolute peaks, something that is hard to envision considering they were both decimated by injuries last season and both turn 30 years old in 2022, Couturier coming off back surgery and Hayes multiple core muscle surgeries. The long-term outlook for the Flyers down the middle with these two highlighting the center depth certainly isn’t great, but both probably have at least a good year or two left in the tank and could be the key to “stabilization” or whatever nonsense Chuck Fletcher was rambling on about.
Number 1: Flyers Land Bedard
Even though the mathematical odds of either finishing dead last and winning the lottery are stupidly low, maybe this is they year the hockey gods finally reward the Flyers after years of torture. The roster on paper is very similar to the team that finished fourth worst with 25 wins in 2021-22, so there is reason to think they could come close to replicating that terrible performance. Finishing as low as possible gives them the best chance in the lottery, but considering last place only has an 18.5% chance at the top pick, getting your hopes up probably isn’t a good idea, but if you’re the Flyers, you better keep your fingers crossed because someone of Bedard’s caliber is your only hope of success this team has moving forward.
By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)
photo credit: Getty images