Q&A With Philly Is Flyer Followers!

By: Anthony DiGrazio

Follow me on Twitter @anthonydigrazio

One of the many reasons why this blog site was created was to interact with the fans and give them logical and non-biased opinions that they deserve to hear.

As contributors to the site, everyone is obviously a die-hard Philadelphia Flyers fan, but what Flyers coverage has been lacking is the non-fanboy factor, and that is what we are here to do.

The Off-Season: 

As far as the off-season is concerned, general manager Ron Hextall has done everything he needed to do.

Checklist:

Sign an assistant coach
Extend Shayne Gostisbehere
Sign Oskar Lindblom
Draft Nolan Patrick
Sign a bridge goalie (Brian Elliott)

With a bit of a cluster for the bottom six roles, most fans were hoping to see a contract such as Matt Read’s or Dale Weise’s moved, but for now, it seems as if the Flyers roster is basically set for the season, minus the training camp battles for the open spots.

This article is for the fans and their questions, so lets get started!

With multiple centers signed and Scott Laughton most likely making the team out of camp, a player like Valtteri Filppula will be flipped to the wing (no pun intended). With the amount of extra bodies in the bottom six, and with how the roster stands right now, there will be a few extras including Weise and Read. Laughton was re-signed and the Flyers used a protection slot for him in the expansion draft, so to me, that shows their confidence in his game moving forward after his stint in the AHL as a leader for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Although I would like to see Travis Konecny on his natural right-side, it would be tough to make happen because of all of the offensive bodies. The second and third line could be interchangeable due to match-ups, and as we saw last season, Couturier is a GREAT third line center.

My ideal line-up for offense:

40-28-17

11-14-93

Lindblom-Patrick-51

12-Laughton-Lehtera

Extras: Read – Weise

This is a roster that has plenty of scoring depth and could create a lot of solid match-ups against other teams.

An alternate captain is voted by the team and it is easy to say Ivan Provorov or Radko Gudas, but I will pick Filppula. I know he only has one more year as a Flyer, but as fans say, we aren’t contending for another year or two, so while we are gaining experience for the younger players, it would make sense to make a cup-winning veteran a leader. Filppula is a character guy that has been around the league for a very long time. He would be a great offensive mentor to players such as Nolan Patrick, Konecny, Jordan Weal, etc.

Travis Sanheim has great skating ability that will translate perfectly within coach Dave Hakstol’s system of pushing the play forward. Sanheim will be a Gostisbehere-like threat on the ice due to his offensive abilities, but he will have to upgrade his defensive zone abilities. However, if the Flyers were willing to give a liability in Andrew MacDonald top minutes, I see no reason why they should use that excuse as to why he can’t make the leap to the NHL. Philippe Myers can also move for a big defenseman and I wouldn’t be surprised at all if both of these players outshine Sam Morin and/or Robert Hagg.

The only problem I have with this situation is that Morin and Hagg have been developing for years, so it almost seems like it’s now or never for these prospects. If Myers and Sanheim outshine them, what does that say about the development of both Morin and Hagg? They are all young and that is understandable, but my confidence in them would certainly drop. But both have the potential to be solid players in the NHL.

With all of that being said, I do hope that Morin and Hagg make the team because I do not see them becoming any better by playing in the AHL.

As a whole, I do think four rookies will be making the team. Although general Hextall is all about his conservative ways, this team has to take the next step forward, but that doesn’t mean you go from mediocre to cup contenders. It is time for the youth to gain the experience they need so the Flyers can contend in a few years.

As far as offense is concerned, Oskar Lindblom and Patrick should make the team. If theys do not make the team because we have extra bodies such as Read or Weise taking up extra space, I would be very frustrated with Hextall. Scouts say that Patrick has nothing left to learn at junior level, and rightfully so. Flyers are in desperate need of a big-body center with a deadly shot, and that is exactly what Patrick is. Lindblom is a scoring winger, but people need to settle down on the expectations of his rookie season. Lindblom has to get accustomed to the North-American style of play, but I do think he will have decent success in his first season.

Defense is a bit more tricky due to such great prospects. Morin and Hagg received looks at the end of last season, and I think that is foreshadowing of how next season will look. Both of these prospects have been developing and it seems as if it is their time. Sanheim and Myers could easily outshine both Morin and Hagg in training camp.

Morin and Hagg will most likely make the team, and Sanheim will most likely be the first call-up if there is an injury or inconsistent play from another defenseman.

 Simple answer, yes. With Carter Hart most likely going back to juniors for another year and Felix Sandstrom playing in the SHL next season, Stolarz and Lyon will both be playing in the AHL. Ironically, both the Flyers and the Phantoms could be using the platoon method when it comes to playing goalies. 

With injuries always a concern with Michal Neuvrith, Brian Elliott could end up receiving more starts, but if Neuvirth can stay healthy, it will be close to 50/50 between the two. 

 

Thanks for another round of great questions from our followers! 

 

 

 

Anthony DiGrazio

I am currently a student at West Chester University studying Marketing/Management. I have been playing ice hockey for almost 20 years now. I am nothing short of a Flyers fanatic and I am hoping to spread my knowledge and love of the game to all Flyers fans.

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