The 2022-23 season brings split feeling when talking about the Philadelphia Flyers. Both Chuck Fletcher and Dave Scott got removed from the organization, and the on-ice product, while still underwhelming, showed that there might actually be a solid foundation here. Though pushing the minor miracles to the side and looking at the franchise on a macro scale, there are still some concerning storylines for a franchise looking to rebound.
Number 5: Injuries
If you were hoping the injuries that doomed the 2021-22 Flyers were in the rearview, I got some bad news for ya. The bug picked up right where it left off last season with Cam Atkinson and Sean Couturier missing the entire season, Ryan Ellis is more or less retired after missing most of last season, Joel Farabee had offseason neck surgery which severely impacted his game, and only three players are on-pace to play in all 82 contests. Maybe 2023-24 is the year the injury bug finally goes away for a little while?
Number 4: 2023 Draft
It feels like a weird complaint that the Flyers are winning too many games, but when the unspoken goal was to earn a top three spot in the 2023 draft, the against-all-odds victories the team is pulling out is counter productive. Now, the wins are coming because the young players on the roster have played very well for much of the season, which is a good thing that these wins aren’t coming in vain, but they’re still a bottom-ten team and it really does encapsulate the Flyers over the last decade or so: too good to fail, but not good enough to succeed.
Number 3: Joel Farabee
After undergoing artificial disc replacement surgery in late June and returning in time for opening night, it’s hard to get overly angry at Joel Farabee just yet, but at the same time, he’s supposed to be the standout forward on this current team and he has left plenty to be desired dating back to last season. After being the only Flyer to hit the 20-goal plateau in 2020-21, it sure seemed his career was poised to take off, but thanks to repeated injuries last season and now the neck surgery setback, it’s time to wonder if this is really the guy worth coronating as the next face of the franchise? Hopefully he’ll bounce back with a full offseason to rest and train, but for right now there are some red flags starting to pop up when it comes to his overall potential moving forward.
Number 2: No In-House Star Power
If we’re going to praise the Flyers for playing the youth (which we should) it also seems fair to point out that nobody looks like a true game changer quite yet. It’s actually quite impressive the Flyers have a full main roster and an AHL roster full of players in their early 20’s that seem to possess decent potential, but none seem to project as legitimate top stars. Owen Tippett rose to the occasion this season, Tyson Foerster left everyone’s mouths watering with his sample size and a few other players have hinted at high ceilings, but without those true top line franchise players, all this building is for naught.
Number 1: Who Fills the Front Office Holes?
There’s a momentary huge sigh of relief that GM Chuck Fletcher got fired and Governor Dave Scott will step down over the summer, but the unknowns of who may end up replacing them is still a bit of a worrying topic. Right now, it seems as though Danny Briere and Dan Hilferty will step into those respective roles with a team president yet to be named as well as other potential changes yet to come. Reality is, that’s a whole lot of inexperience between the two of them, which isn’t exactly a great foot forward for a franchise in turmoil like the Flyers. Everyone can hold their breaths until the rest of the hirings are made, but you can still very much be concerned about how the pieces end up falling.
But there were positive takeaways from the season too
By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)
photo credit: nhl.com