Tonight, the Flyers will play their 21st game of the 2019-2020 season. The first 20 games have been a whirlwind of successes and failures, NHL debuts, a whole lot of travel and more. Philly is Flyer wanted to know how the fans are feeling through the first quarter of the season, so we posted a survey to find out what the general mentality is. Some questions were multiple choice and some were open ended. Here are the results:
**Please note: We are not including every response to each open ended question, but rather the ones that best represent the overall response. For simplicity, multiple choice percentages have been rounded to the nearest whole number.**
How do you feel about the Flyers so far this season?
Very Positive 3%
Very Negative 3%
The overwhelming majority of Flyers fans feel positive about this team so far, while the second largest majority feels neutral. Through the first 20 games last year, the Flyers were 9-9-2. While the record isn’t a huge difference this season (10-6-4), the team is playing at a higher level than they have in many years.
How do you feel about Alain Vigneault?
Very Positive 41%
Very Negative 3%
Over 90% of responders feel either positive or very positive about AV, which seems to match the overall sense on Twitter as well. It’s clear that Alain Vigneault has had a major impact on this team so far.
How do you feel about the Flyers’ leadership group? (Giroux, Couturier, Voracek, Hayes)
Very Positive 6%
Very Negative 3%
A neutral feeling towards the leadership group is expected. Sean Couturier has, of course, been one of the best players on the team. Fan opinions have never been higher on him. On the other side, Jake Voracek has been on the receiving end of the ire of most Flyers fans through these first 20 games. Giroux and Hayes have each had their ups and downs so far. As a whole, they even out to slightly above neutral.
Who has been the best off season addition so far? Why?
While there were a few different responses to this question, the overwhelming majority of responders (59%) said Matt Niskanen has been the best addition to the team this year. Other answers included Kevin Hayes, Joel Farabee and Alain Vigneault. Here’s what some people had to say about why they chose Niskanen:
@michaelkinky: Matt Niskanen has shown what this defensive group has been lacking really since Timonen and Coburn left town.
@PhilaBrianna: He’s been quite a step from the AMac-type veteran we saw for many seasons and his presence is definitely felt.
@bobbysanalysis: Niskanen is a veteran jack-of-all-trades who has brought a reliable, calming influence to the Flyers defense, if not the team as a whole. The importance of adding a consistent performer of his ability who can eat minutes and shoulder the load cannot be understated.
@GrittysBigStan: He is easily the team MVP. He breaks up at least one odd man rush every game and I don’t think he’s had one bad game yet. I’d argue he’s the true #1 defenseman right now. He’s been great in every zone every night.
Who has been the best player under the age of 25 so far?
Joel Farabee 6%
Travis Konecny 50%
Oskar Lindblom 26%
Carsen Twarynski 0%
Phil Myers 3%
Ivan Provorov 3%
Travis Sanheim 0%
Carter Hart 12%
What’s amazing about this Flyers team is that this is such a difficult question to answer. There isn’t a clear-cut choice here. There isn’t even an obvious top-two. Though most responders were split between Konecny and Lindblom, the rest of the players on this list have all played important roles for the team at times. Gone are the days where the young players in the Flyers’ system are uninspiring and disappointing. This group of youngsters (Morgan Frost included, though as of the posting of this article he has yet to play in his first NHL game) has been vital to the team’s overall success and has been making the developmental strides necessary for this team to be competitive in this league. Just look at some of the team leaderboards through the first 20 games:
At least two players under the age of 25 are on every single one of these lists, including every single team leader.
Who has been the MVP so far through 20 games? Why?
Understandably, the answers to this question were mostly split between three main players: Couturier (24%), Konecny (48%) and Lindblom (21%). Here’s what some people had to say about these three:
@clynn1195: Konecny seems like the only player to care when things aren’t going well and always puts it all on the ice.
@ThatGuy11920: Travis Konecny. He has made strides in all areas of his game and his offensive production has been integral in this team’s good start.
@pisstakerhaiadr: I could pick anyone on that line. They and goaltending are main reason why we look better than Hakstol era.
@tessaking227: Lindblom – He is scoring and also seems to be making the type of subtle plays that indicate he is a really good player, not just lucky.
@FromStateFarm49: Sean Couturier because his line always seems to be on their game every night no matter what and he has helped make the players around him better.
Other players receiving votes were Niskanen, Hart and Provorov.
Are the Flyers a playoff team?
Definitely Yes 32%
Probably Not 3%
Definitely Not 3%
Most of the respondents believe that, while they are not a shoe-in, the Flyers will make the playoffs. This seems to correlate with where the team is in the standings. The Flyers are tied with the Penguins (24 points/20 games) for the two Wild Card spots, though the Penguins have the advantage as they have one more win. The Flyers are just one point behind Carolina (25/20) and five points behind the Islanders (29/18) in the division. In the Wild Card race, they have a one point lead over Buffalo (23/20) and a two point lead over Toronto (22/22).
What’s your biggest concern right now? Why?
The majority of answers revolved around the team’s lack of consistency, which is a valid concern. While the Flyers are currently 10-6-4, the wins haven’t all been easy and they tend to go through extreme hot and cold streaks, even in such a small sample size of the season. They’ve already had both a four-game winning streak (CAR, MTL, TOR, BOS) and a four-game losing streak (VAN, CGY, EDM, DAL). In eight games that have gone past regulation, they have lost four (VAN, TOR, WSH, NYI) and won four (NJD, MTL, TOR, BOS). They have also had a hard time lately closing games out, blowing two-goal leads late against Montreal, Toronto and Boston and a three-goal lead late against the Islanders. Here’s what some people had to say about the lack of consistency:
@_AndrewMcG: Inconsistency, which has been something that has plagued the team for as long as I’ve been a fan (2014 was the first year I started following them). Even when they win, there have been a lot of games where they have looked flat for long stretches of time.
@tessaking227: It would be nice if they could win (or at least play well) against teams that are objectively bad. Hockey is weird so I get that you won’t always win when you ‘should,” but at least play like you should win.
@gothlarry_: You can tell when they’re tired (…) Overall, they have equal good games and bad games and that can’t happen.
The other primary concern, according to respondents, is the lack of offensive production from the veteran core, specifically Voracek, JVR and Giroux.
Is there anything else you want to add?
@handmethe_mike: Brian Elliott has been a surprise so far this season. Making saves that he couldn’t last year. Definitely a good backup to Carter Hart.
@flyerskoi: For the first time in a long time, I’m actually looking at the schedule and making sure I catch the games on TV. The Flyers look like they are developing nicely into a prototypical AV team. Ferocious forecheck, hard to play against, puck possession team.
@michaelkinky: This is a playoff team. Goaltending and special teams have been solid but I still think the former will continue to get better. Chuck Fletcher is going to be aggressive down the stretch to ensure this team has what it needs, but I don’t fault him for letting some of the kids try to earn those spots early on. Players like Shayne Gostisbehere, JVR and Kevin Hayes will start scoring more at some point and that will elevate this team to a whole new level.
@_AndrewMcG: Shootouts are a terrible way to end hockey games.
@larsonoconnor: Be a [expletive] Flyer
We will be back again with another fan survey before the 41st game of the season on January 2 against the Vegas Golden Knights. If you would like to be a part of the article, make sure to check Philly is Flyer’s twitter account for the link to the survey!