When the Philadelphia Flyers began the NHL common season on a 5-2-0 tear, various eyebrows raised in shock. This was a franchise little or no was anticipated of, regardless of the ideas of GM Chuck Fletcher, so a sizzling streak to start the 12 months was a shock.
Nevertheless, since their Oct. 27 win over Florida, the Flyers have crashed to earth, and with an enormous thud at that: they’ve gone 2-8-5, and presently are mired in a 10-game winless streak, together with seven regulation losses (0-7-3).
This previous weekend, they had been drubbed by division rivals, the Pittsburgh Penguins and the New York Islanders, and of their previous six video games, they’ve been outscored 26-12.
First-year Flyers coach John Tortorella started the 12 months speaking about establishing a brand new identification for the group, however he didn’t have this identification in thoughts.
Had been it not for the efficiency of beginning goaltender Carter Hart – who, one way or the other, has posted a good save share of .915 and a goals-against common of two.85 in 15 video games – Philly would seemingly be tied with, or worse than, the eighth-place-in-the-Metro Columbus Blue Jackets.
Now, some folks will level to the plethora of accidents the Flyers have suffered as the principle cause for his or her struggles. It’s honest to say that’s an element – they’ve presently received seven key veterans (forwards James van Riemsdyk, Cam Atkinson, Wade Allison, Travis Konecny, Sean Couturier and Scott Laughton, and defenseman Ryan Ellis) out of the lineup – however as we’ve famous repeatedly this season, just about all NHL groups are coping with well being points.
The truth is, their protection corps is essentially unscathed by accidents, and once more, Hart began the 12 months as one of many NHL’s higher netminders.
Sadly for the Flyers, Hart has cooled off significantly prior to now month, placing collectively solely a 3.22 GAA and .896 SP in 9 video games in November.
He and backup goalie Felix Sandstrom have gotten subsequent to no assist on offense of late: of their present 10-game shedding skid, the Flyers have scored two targets or fewer a whopping eight instances. You possibly can’t ask Hart, Sandstrom and the D-men to hold this group to extra victories than defeats.
Unsurprisingly, although, that’s what’s going to occur whenever you want a recreation program to establish the vast majority of Philadelphia’s forwards. Solely wingers Kevin Hayes and Joel Farabee are established elite NHLers for the Flyers in the mean time. Everybody else is both a prospect nonetheless discovering their footing in hockey’s finest league, or they’re journeymen with no upside to pin hopes on.
It doesn’t matter what division Philly is in – that lack of confirmed depth up entrance will harm you evening in and evening out.
Tortorella by no means fails to speak a great recreation, however not even a training legend like Scotty Bowman may make lemonade out of the lemons Tortorella has been handed this 12 months. Fletcher has constructed a deeply flawed lineup, and most Flyers followers aren’t fooled by optimistic rhetoric.
Certainly, in Philly’s final residence recreation, on Friday, fan chants of “Hearth Fletcher” had been unmistakable. And it’s troublesome to argue with them. Fletcher is about to start his fifth 12 months working the franchise, and the Flyers have made the playoffs simply as soon as in his first 4 years. They’re virtually assuredly not going to make the post-season this 12 months.
You can perceive a few shedding seasons in the event that they resulted in tangible progress on some entrance, however Philadelphia is simply as dangerous, if not worse than they had been when Fletcher took over.
That aura of bleakness permeates the workforce proper now. Even when Fletcher determined to start promoting gamers, he seemingly wouldn’t get an enormous return on what stays.
The departure of former captain Claude Giroux final season stated all of it for this model of the Flyers. If that they had authentic hope to be a playoff workforce, Giroux might have been satisfied to stay round.
As an alternative, Giroux received out whereas the getting was good. He knew in addition to anybody what the state of the group actually was.
The primary 22 video games of the present season merely underscore that actuality. Any workforce can have a number of wins strung collectively right here or there, however whenever you’re winless in 10 straight video games, the writing is on the wall, and the wall doesn’t look good.
Tortorella’s persistence is being examined, however that take a look at goes to proceed all season lengthy. He has turn into a greater trainer as he’s continued to educate, however you may’t educate the issues the Flyers want proper now. There’s merely not almost sufficient elite-level expertise to lean on in Philadelphia, and till there’s a change on the very high, Flyers followers have little cause to consider issues will enhance.