If you ask 100 members of the Flyers fanbase, 100 of them will tell you that the Flyers stand almost no chance to win the Stanley Cup this season. But not us! The 2022-23 NHL season will be the Flyers’ year for success. According to moneypuck.com, the Flyers have a 14.5% chance to make the playoffs and just a .05% chance at winning the Stanley Cup. Bunch of naysayers.
48 years after their last Stanley Cup victory, the Flyers are finally poised to bring Lord Stanley back to Broad Street, but some things are going to have to go right in order to reach that goal.
Number 5: Collapse of the Metro Divison
The Metropolitan Division has felt like its been on the brink of change for quite a few years now, as longstanding successful teams like the Capitals and Penguins play out the last few seasons of their Stanley Cup windows as their generational talent approaches their mid-30’s. What if this is the year both of their respective luck runs dry? Elsewhere in the division, the Islanders missed the playoffs last season thanks in part to a slow start out of the gate which ultimately got Barry Trotz fired. The Devils have been a team supposedly on the rise for years, but so far they have little to show for it. The Blue Jackets look primed to be an offensive powerhouse, but can they keep up defensively? The Hurricanes and Rangers are just about guaranteed to finish one and two in the division, but outside of them, it could be anybody’s race. If the Flyers are even going to sniff the playoffs, they’re gonna need all the help they can get, and failures from within the division will go a long way to making the postseason push easier.
Number 4: A Breakout Star
For now, we’ll leave this one vague, simply because there are quite a few options to fill the title. After almost a decade of drafting and player after player failing to reach their ceiling in the NHL, maybe this is the year things change. With guys like Owen Tippett, Wade Allison, Noah Cates, Bobby Brink and Tyson Foerster all likely to play in the NHL at some point during the 2022-23 campaign, there will be plenty of chances for at least one of the youngsters to step up and lead the Philadelphia Flyers to success. One or two guys stepping up and leading the way will make success for the rest of the team significantly easier than all 12 forwards playing at the exact same level.
Number 3: John Tortorella
If anybody can squeeze something out of this Flyers team, it’s Torts. He’s gonna work these players hard and won’t settle for anything less than 100%. It’s a demand and expectations that this current core hasn’t been held to. If they buy in and rise to the occasion under the new bench boss, he could very well be the one to drag success out of this group. During his introductory press conference over the summer, he reminisced about the 2004 playoffs when his Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Flyers in the Eastern Conference Finals to punch their ticket to their eventual Cup victory. Tortorella is one of the few people left within the organization who remembers what a successful era of Flyers hockey looked like. He’s knows what it takes to be a fuckin Flyer, as his predecessor once eloquently put it. If John Tortorella can’t save the Flyers, nobody can.
Number 2: The Defense
The defense will be the deciding factor for the Flyers in 2022-23 and they’ll live and die by their results. Provorov has new partner in Tony DeAngelo, the odd couple pairing of Travis Sanheim and Rasmus Ristolainen, who well exceeded expectations last season reunite, and Cam York will be on the third pair with the returning Justin Braun. There is a chance all three pairs are individually successful, which will lead to one of the best corps this team has iced in many years. Partner that with Tortorella and his sturdy system and there may be hope for this season after all.
Number 1: Carter Hart
Carter Hart is the backbone of the Flyers, and any success will be because of him. He’s entering his fifth NHL season and we’ve seen many faces of Hart during that time, from absolute lights out during the 2020 playoffs, but barely cutting it as an NHL starter for most of 2019. There’s always room for improvement, but his lackluster numbers over the last few seasons, 3.67 GAA / .877 SV% in 2019-20 and 3.16 GAA / .905 SV% in 2021-22 can mainly be accredited to the wildly inconsistent terrible team in front of him. If the defense can shore itself up and Hart has a long stretch of time behind a sturdy team to establish himself, once he gains that momentum, he can guide the team to the promised land.
By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)
photo credit: nhl.com