2021-22 Record: 25-46-11 (61 pts)
Goal differential: 211-298 (-87)
Key Additions: D Tony DeAngelo, F Nicolas Deslauriers, D Kevin Connauton
Key Subtractions: F Oskar Lindblom, D Keith Yandle, C Derrick Brassard, G Martin Jones
The biggest change made to the Flyers this summer was not in regards to their on ice roster. They bring in John Tortorella to change the culture in Philly, and while this team is assembled to be one of the worst in the league, it’s hard to imagine them being an easy opponent. In fact, if anyone can lead this team to any kind of success this season, it’s Torts. We know that clear and well.
Up front, this is a completely different Flyers team than we’ve seen in years. Gone are mainstays Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek, and Sean Couturier (injury). Leading the way are former Jacket Cam Atkinson; Kevin Hayes, Travis Konecny, Joel Farrabee, Owen Tippett, Scott Laughton, and James van Riemsdyk. Sure, there’s some scoring upside there … but there’s no real play driver on this team, and they are lacking star firepower for the first time in as long as I can remember. Maybe since before Eric Lindros joined the team.
Defensively, they lose Ryan Ellis (who may be forced to retire), which stings because he’s a good one. Still, they have a quality group led by Ivan Provorov and including Rasmus Ristolainen, Travis Sanheim, Justin Braun, Tony DeAngelo, and promising up and comer Cam York. This is a serviceable defense corps that’s still fairly young; and improving here should help improve the team overall. If anyone can drag the most out of these guys, it’s John Tortorella. There will be accountability here, and this is a talented group of players.
In goal, the Flyers will again lean their hopes and dreams on Carter Hart. Once considered the top goaltending prospect in the world, Hart is absurdly talented but has had an up and down career, due in part to the inconsistent team in front of him. If the defense improves, I feel like this is a goalie that’s more than capable of carrying a team and stealing some games. Which they’ll desperately need – backing him up is a relative unknown in Felix Sandstrom. Even with Torts and stronger defensive play, this team is my favorite to finish at the bottom of the division.