Filphadelphia as I like to say is sitting at 63 points,6th in the Metro, and 3 points out of the second wild card spot. Pretty nice bright-spot for Philly, just being 3 points out of the 2nd wild card —> not so fast my fiend. Philly needs to jump Isles, Florida, and Boston, all save for Boston have a game in hand and all are currently playing better hockey than the Flyers. Philly also owns a -28 goal differential not only the worst out of all those contenders but tied with Detroit for second to last in the entire Eastern Conference. Philly fans, the season is over, sell now and turn the page to baseball season.
Let;s look at some numbers and highlight some players:
The Flyers are 22nd in goals per game and 26 in goals against while surprisingly ranking 10th in PP% and 17th in PK. Unfortunately the game is not played on rotating 5-4 or 4-5 moments.
Offensively and up front the Flyers have some talent, Voracek is a stud that often gets overlooked by the national media. He’s an all-star caliber winger and anyone who tells you differently doesn’t watch the games. He recently signed a MONSTER deal for 8.25MM for 8 years, MONSTER. Besides Voracek they have freight train Wayne Simmonds who can not only score goals (25) but also can get physical and chuck nucks though you don’t want one of your best players fighting all the time it may do more harm than good. Their captain Claude Giroux can put the puck in the net and dish it out but has seen his game drop off from the superstar level he was at a few years ago. Their strength upfront extends to really who more players, Brayden Schenn and Travis Konecny, both Centermen. Schenn is only 25 and Konecny is only 19, so there is some hope in philly going forward.
Their backe nd is pretty much a disaster, besides Ivan Provorov and Shayne Gostibehere (ghost) there isn’t much to write about, and Ghost has had a tough year defensively, leading to a few Healthy Scratches.
Andrew MacDonald is not a good defenseman and signed for $5MM for the 3 years following this one. Gudas who hasn’t played poorly is signed for $3.35MM for the same time-frame. Del Zotto who has had a resurgence in Philly isn’t playing as well as he has last year. It seems with the Flyers there are just dumb penalties or defensive miscues every night.
Sell Sell Sell
The Flyers have held on to and actually acquire a bunch of draft picks, they had 3 additional ones in 2017 (3rd-Bos, 4th-NYI, 7th-NJD) so if they want to make a big move they could try. Realistically though they do not have the cap space to really add anyone of value without shedding salary. They are right up against the cap but there is some optimism for this year and next. They could trade Mark Streit and his $5MM cap hit, most likely would have to eat half of that salary to get anything of value left, but luckily this is his last year under contract.
They could trade Del Zotto especially considering the state of the defensive market right now.
They could trade Nick Schultz but no one really wants him.
They could trade fan favorite Ghost Bear. This would be a ballsy trade for the flyers, trading a young cost controlled defenseman. Ghost is about to become a RFA so the Flyers, or another team, hold a lot of the negotiating power in contract talks. The Flyers are also deep with prospects on the back end and they know they aren’t competing this year, why not trade one asset for a young forward of similar talent and skill level? I’m not sure who that would be but with the defensive market the way it is I’m sure they could get a nice haul for him.
The tough part for Philly is the Giroux/Voracek contracts, totaling almost 17MM a year if those two don’t perform it will be a major issue. My the time Grioux contract ends he will be 34 and Voracek will be 32, not ideal for your two highest paid players, then again look at San Jose, they seem to have made it work.