Back in July, Brotherly Puck put out our first version of Bold Predictions for the upcoming season, but since then, two of the five have already been answered, and two more already trending in the wrong direction. So now that we’ve reached the NHL’s opening week, we may as well go through and more five more bold predictions for the Flyers for the 2022-23 season.
Number 5: Travis Sanheim Doesn’t Re-Sign
For most “rebuilding” teams, trading away a top pending unrestricted free agent for draft assets is a pretty status quo thing to do. For the Flyers, however, there’s nothing they love more than giving gargantuan extensions to mediocre players and their will is about to be tested once again in Travis Sanheim. By all accounts, they want to keep the services of soon-to-be 27-year-old Sanheim, but given the atrocious state of both the roster and the pocket book, it makes very little sense to sign him to a long term extension. Will they do the right thing and move on from him, we sure hope so, but Chuck Fletcher’s track record isn’t great when it comes to the topic of doing the obvious thing.
Number 4: Hart Gets Overtaken in Net
Having multiple capable bodies in net is a good problem to have, and the Flyers’ crease appears to be rather crowded both now and in the future. Hart is entering his fifth NHL season, and even though we’ve seen him play lights out in the past, consistency hasn’t been his strong suit, especially behind this mess of a team. 23-year-old Sam Ersson seems to be a quickly-rising favorite earmarked for an NHL gig sooner rather than later, with Felix Sandstrom more than likely holding down the backup role in the meantime. If Ersson continues to impress and Carter Hart can’t unquestionably lock down the starting role, is there a chance he loses ground on the role? Can Sandstrom push for number one minutes as well? It may not be a question we get a definitive answer to this season, but the pieces could start to fall for a future regime change in the goaltending landscape in Philly.
Number 3: Cam York Makes the NHL
A few weeks ago, it seemed like a sure thing that Flyers’ top prospect Cam York would make the NHL out of camp, but in a surprising twist, he was demoted to the Phantoms after not seeing eye-to-eye with new coach John Tortorella during training camp. It’s all apart of Torts’ preaching of accountability, but now it’s time to see if it goes both ways. In the past, once a player got demoted to Lehigh, that was pretty much it for them for the season. Last year the path opened up with the ungodly amount of injuries, but will it stay open? Torts has talked about a fluid situation between the Flyers and Phantoms roster, but when the chips are down and the regular season is well underway, can the main roster decision makers bear to give the kid another chance in the NHL?
Number 2: Sean Couturier Plays More Than Half the Season
Couturier’s health was an entry in the original list, but since he’s already injured, may as well make another prediction and guess that he suits up for at least 41 games this season. By all accounts he’s dealing with a mystery back injury that’s presumed to be a slipped disc, but he’s still listed as week-to-week with various pundits reporting anything from 3-4 weeks to potentially missing the entire season. Game 41 for the Flyers is January 11 against the Capitals. That’s about three and a half months since his initial injury. Will he be back by then? Will he play collectively at least half the season? We shall soon find out.
Number 1: Chuck Fletcher Gets Fired
We, as has much of the fanbase, have gone back and forth on Chuck Fletcher’s job security heading into a new season after he totally screwed up the summer additions. It only seems natural that if the train is so far off the tracks once again that he will meet his maker sooner rather than later, but if the other members of the front office and ownership are all in on the losing for Bedard plan, then maybe Fletcher’s job is safer than most assume? Fletcher has proved his incompetence and a GM change is well overdue at this point, but does the rest of management possess the collective brainpower to realize the same?
By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)