If you’re not excited for the 2022-23 Philadelphia Flyers season, well then that means you’re smarter than the front office. Chuck Fletcher and his band of cronies decided that running it back with primarily the same roster that finished with 25 wins, fourth worst in the league last season, was the organization’s best chance of success during an aggressive retool. They’re basically counting on a few players returning and a youth injection to save the franchise, but this approach has left us with more questions than answers.
Number 5: Is Couturier Good To Go?
After back surgery ended his 2021-22 season early, soon-to-be 30-year-old Sean Couturier returns to the lineup with shiny new $62 million contract in tow. The Flyers were never specific with the procedure Couturier underwent, but even minor back surgery can take quite a toll. The injuries continue to rack up for Couturier, who wasn’t particularly fast or elusive to begin with. Hopefully he has got a few years left of high quality two-way play left in him before he declines, but his health will be a determining factor in just how much success the Flyers could squeeze out of an otherwise lackluster forward group.
Number 4: Tony DeAngelo’s Impact
The crown jewel of the Flyers’ offseason was signing offensive offensive defenseman Tony DeAngelo, but the question as to whether he can gel into the lineup remains. He’ll definitely address a hole on the powerplay, which will be a much needed addition, but does he possess the overall talent to eat top pair minutes for the Flyers and look flawless defensively? History says no, but hey, he’s a changed man these days, remember? Maybe he won’t punch out Carter Hart until at least February.
Number 3: Are The Young Guys Difference Makers?
There are quite a few of the younger players projected to earn NHL gigs at some point this season, and considering the Flyers ran it back with an almost identical roster they finished fourth-worst with last season, they’re clearly expecting some growth internally from the youth. The organization has deployed a very similar strategy for most of the last decade now, but maybe this is the year the Flyers finally find their star? Can you imagine if the Flyers end up with the next Trevor Zegras under John Tortorella?
Number 2: Is Farabee Ok?
Neck surgery is never a good thing, especially for your 22-year-old star forward. We saw Jack Eichel undergo a similar procedure last season and didn’t appear to deal with any lingering effects, at least in the short term, so hopefully when Farabee returns, which may not be until December, that he isn’t stunted as a player. He’s the guy that seemingly has the most potential among the forwards, but another season interrupted by injury is just more cold water thrown on his once-lofty expectations.
Number 1: The Torts Effect
The Flyers got the guy they wanted behind the bench, but considering the wet fart of an offseason they produced otherwise, how much of an effect are they expecting him to have on the lineup? His assistants Brad Shaw and Rocky Thompson were relatively disappointing hires, but Torts is obviously the guy all eyes are going to be focused on. He sounds bought into the fact that this is a marathon not a sprint, but also sounds like he will demand more out of this group than his predecessors did. Time will tell, but do we really expect one man to turn this ship around by himself? If Tortorella can’t do it, nobody can.
By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)
photo credit: nhl.com