Follow me on twitter at @antgratzi
The Flyers fan-base felt a rejuvenation after dealing with such an emotional and disappointing season. As you probably already heard by now…
THE FLYERS ARE PICKING 2nd IN THE 2017 NHL DRAFT!
This is the sort of luck the Flyers have needed to help propel this rebuild. Chances of selecting 1st overall were around 2.2%, but for some reason, the hockey gods were finally watching over the Philadelphia Flyers on lottery night.
With talented prospects most likely making the team next season, along with acquiring the 2nd pick in the draft, we felt the need to converse with the fans.
We asked fans to send in their Flyers related questions:
This is a great question and one that is being talked about throughout the league. When it comes to scouts picking the better player, Bob Mckenzie indicates that is too close to call. Nolan Patrick was recovering from a sports hernia surgery which is the reason his recent stats were a bit deflated.
Although he only played in a limited amount of games, he was able to manage 46 points in 33 games. Of those 33 games, he scored 20 goals. Injury history is always looked upon and is a huge factor, however, he is still young and being able to recover is not a problem and points wise, it hasn’t slowed him down to make it a valid non-drafting reason.
This a great situation for the Flyers. How many times have we found ourselves in a win-win type of scenario? Either prospect has the potential to be a cornerstone player for our franchise. Is it a McDavid situation? Of course not, but it sure is a damn good spot to be in. These players are exactly what our depth chart has been missing, a big scoring center-man.
Do not forget about the history between the Brandon Wheat Kings and Ron Hextall.
Would it be the Philadelphia Flyers if there was not a goalie controversy every couple of years or so? This is a big factor that needs to be addressed. When the season ended, Mason acknowledged that there were no discussions between his agent and the organization. As a fan of Mason, it is tough to see him go, but we need to move on.
Another huge question that factors along with this one is the expansion draft. Will Vegas take Neuvrith? Its a possibility, he doesn’t have to be picked to be a starter, he could be picked as a back-up.
My guess is that we sign a goalie to a bridge-deal, nothing more than 2 years. 3 years maximum if its a more solid goalie, but with our prospect pool filled with talent, there is no need to go out and sign a goalie like Ben Bishop to a long-term deal worth more than we need to spend.
My guess is the Flyers go after Bernier. Yes he has struggled, but he has been playing pretty well with Anaheim and may just need new scenery and a new team to find more success. With Stolarz as back-up and an improved blue-line, we don’t necessary need an elite goalie. Think of how bad our goaltending was a whole this year… we barely missed playoffs.
Another great question and a tougher one to answer. I think it will be a quiet off-season with regards to free agency additions. Besides Vegas taking a player and Hextall signing a goalie if Neuvirth is taken, I am most excited for training camp.
With the process pushing forward, its time for it to take shape.
The core is another huge question mark moving forward. With improved role players around the core, along with excitement from the rookies, I do not think the core is dismantled or moved at all this Summer.
By no means am I saying we will be making a cup run next year, I just think with the core knowing they are on the brink, along with better role players (bottom six) and the youth joining, they have many reasons to elevate their game next season.
The 30 million dollar question! I will become a Vegas fan for life if they somehow take Andrew MacDonald. The only possible way I see them taking him is if they need to reach the cap floor, which I highly doubt. As far as a trade partner, I do not think that will happen either. I will always remain optimistic about him getting picked up by someone just because of how badly I want it to happen. I try to keep my biases out of most of my reasoning, but his contract has gone on for too long, and it is just tiring watching him try to play top minutes.
If he is not moved, which is most likely to happen, I would hope he gets sent down to the Phantoms. Watching Provorov have to suffer with him all season was pretty dreadful, so I am hoping that we do not have to witness that again.
If we want to buy him out, next year would be the year to do so. We will be losing the contracts of Filppula and Read.
One of my favorite topics to discuss…
Of course Hakstol wasn’t going to get fired this off-season. Hakstol was handpicked by Hextall to help guide these young prospects, and firing him so early wouldn’t look good for Hextall. However, with Hakstol’s system and usage of players, he has made it hard for us to support him. Hextall must shorten his leash with Hakstol this Summer.
We barely missed playoffs. The blue-line will be improving and hopefully the bottom six can get their act together and play much better. The goaltending situation is a huge question mark right now. Before we talk about Hakstol getting fired, we have to talk about expectations. Are expectations playoffs with a lot of rookies and the 2nd overall pick? I do think the Flyers will make playoffs, but it will be another bumpy ride.
Logically, the core has a lot to prove, especially if it is not split up in any way. They know that their time is limited together, especially as expectations begin to grow with the abundance of talent rising through the system.
With a motivated core and a group of young players joining the team, excitement should be be at all all-time high for the players in this organization.
Personally, I would give Hakstol about 30-40 games with an improved roster, however, I think Hextall lets the season play its course.
What if the young talent comes up, Hakstol has them playing great and we look like a great team?
With any rebuild, some luck is needed to help the process advance. Some teams get lucky and pick up the right player for their franchise, the Flyers have a chance to grab that player now.
Having the 2nd pick won’t make us an automatic Stanley Cup contender, but is sure does point us in the direction of being a contender sooner rather than later.
Players like Nico Hischier and Nolan Patrick are exactly what our depth chart has been missing. We have the wingers, we have the defensemen, the goalies are in place, but we have been lacking centers who can score.
Its sort of ironic because just a few seasons ago, I remember the talk about having a log-jam at center.
This is a boost we have been waiting for and it is nice to be in a win-win situation.
[Photo credit: NHL.com]