Metropolitan Division Preview: Philadelphia Flyers

Coach: Dave Hakstol

2016-2017 Record and Standing: 39-33-10, 88 PTS; Finished 6th in Metro

Key Additions

– Nolan Patrick (first round pick)

– Scott Laughton

– Brian Elliott

– Shayne Gostisbehere (signed six-year extension)

Key Subtractions

– Michael Del Zotto

– Steve Mason

Preview

The Flyers struggled to gain consistent traction last season and sunk into the near-cellar of the Metropolitan Division. They endured down seasons from top stars such as Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek. They got inconsistent goalie play from their Mason-Michael Neuvirth platoon. They finally ended the Mason era by allowing him to sign in Winnipeg. They brought in Elliott, someone who has struggled with his own inconsistency over previous seasons, to be one of their goalies. Elliott will start to begin the season. After resigning Gostisbehere to a long-term deal, the Flyers will have him and young Ivan Provorov to hold down the back-end for them. Their offense will be much of the same with guys like Giroux, Voracek, and Wayne Simmonds trying to light up the scoreboard. With the second overall draft choice, Patrick, likely to join them this season, they will look for a scoring boost that very much plagued them in 2016-17′. In the way of actual signings, though, the Flyers didn’t do much. It will be intriguing to see if they have enough firepower to get back into the conversation for playoff contention.

Prediction

The Flyers get a bounce back year from the guys who failed them last season. Gostisbehere, a guy the Flyers made a consistent healthy scratch down the stretch, will be much better with the new job security. Their forwards, who had a down season, should be better. The addition of Patrick can’t hurt. The biggest factor in being a playoff team will be their goaltending. If Elliott can emerge as the true number one, the Flyers will be in really good shape. A fringe wild-card team can become a top three team in the division if their goalie situation can be sorted out.

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