As the month of October comes to an end, the Flyers currently sit atop the Metro division with a 5-2-1 record and 11 points in eight games. It’s a surprise nobody saw coming and despite not playing great hockey like the record suggests, they’re somehow keeping their heads above water. So where are the brightest developments taking place for the Flyers so far this season?
Number 5: The Defense
Entering the season, the ragtag group of vets on the blue line was a rather hit-or-miss proposal. Ivan Provorov has had his struggles, Tony DeAngelo is Tony DeAngelo, Travis Sanheim has played some hot and cold hockey over the last few seasons, and Nick Seeler and Justin Braun aren’t exactly the creme de la creme of defensemen. That being said, things are turning out alright so far. Provorov and DeAngelo have been working well together, Sanheim has picked up where he left off last season, and the depth has been passible all things considered, and that last part is the most important. Despite collecting some early wins, the Flyers are getting shellacked on a nightly basis, meaning there is a huge amount of pressure on the defense right now. While there have been mistakes and everything isn’t perfect, they’re measuring up well considering the current working conditions of the rest of the team.
Number 4: Travis Konecny
Travis Konecny has been one of the more disappointing players on the roster dating back to the 2020 bubble, but he has come out of the gate hot so far with nine points in eight games. Considering the pressure he is under as a right wing on a team filled with up-and-coming players, he has so far risen to the occasion and fended off any encroachment from the prospects. Whether or not he can maintain this level of production and energy will be the big question, as consistency hasn’t been his strong suit lately, but so far so good for Konecny during an important bounce back season.
Number 3: Playing the Kids
With a roster overflowing with players in their early 20’s and a history of mishandling the prospects, there was naturally skepticism when it came to believing this team would properly deploy the kids this season. Yet through the early part of the season, the coaching staff has handled the transition process well. They’re letting the kids take their bumps and bruises at the NHL level without punishing them every time a mistake is made. They’re letting them play in late-game scenarios in both wins and losses to gain valuable experience. Such a refreshing change of pace from previous eras when players would be benched during the entirety of the third period or have their ice time cut at the first sign of struggle.
Number 2: John Tortorella
The man responsible for the renaissance of the Flyers team is bench boss John Tortorella. His take-no-shit attitude is exactly the kind of mentality needed to combat the rogue locker room, yet he appears to be willing to let players grow and develop at their pace on the ice. He is the perfect person to fill the role and serves as an ideal foil to the current incarnation of the Philadelphia Flyers.
Number 1: Carter Hart
Between injuries, on-ice struggles and being the doormat left out to dry by the rest of the team, the last few seasons have not been kind to Carter Hart. But at the end of the day, he’s the most important player for the Flyers and one of the few with superstar potential. He’s got a 5-0-1 record with a 2.31 goals against average and .938 save percentage and quite frankly is the only reason why the Flyers have any wins at all this season. If he can keep this pace up all season he could easily walk away with a Vezina trophy and could very well get Hart Trophy considerations as well.
By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)
photo credit: 6abc.com