With the Flyers struggling in a big way, something needed to give in Philadelphia.
Unfortunately for Flyers’ general manager Ron Hextall, he was the one that had to take the fall as he was let go today (November 26). I don’t think anyone predicted that this would happen coming into this season.
The team had a good offense, a solid enough defensive corps, and suspect goaltending. Nevertheless, no one seemed to think that this team would be bad.
Boy were these people wrong. This team is struggling in all areas and not looking like they are going to improve anytime soon.
At this time, the Flyers are seventh in the Eastern Conference at 10-11-2 with 22 points. While that may not seem terrible given that they are five points out of the second wild card spot, the way they have played is frightening.
As it always does, their struggles start in net. Believe it or not, the team has already used five goaltenders and we’re not even two months into the season.
The team’s starter, Brian Elliott has been decent, but nothing to write home about (6-7 with a 2.59 goals against average, a .911 save percentage, and one shutout). Unfortunately for the club, he has missed the last two weeks due to a lower-body injury.
After Elliott, guys like Michal Neuvirth, Calvin Pickard, and Alex Lyon have been awful. They allow a lot of goals, are inconsistent, and are not giving the team any kind of confidence when Elliott is not playing.
Right now, the team’s best hope is giving 24-year-old Anthony Stolarz a shot. He played well against the Toronto Leafs in stopping 33 of 35 shots after filling in for Calvin Pickard after he had given up four goals in a 6-0 loss.
Goaltending is not the only issue the Flyers have. It’s their team defense as a whole.
The Flyers are currently 29th in the league in goals allowed. They have given up 82 goals in 23 games, which means that they are allowing over three goals per game.
Yes, the clubs goaltenders need to do a better job of stopping the puck. With that said, however, the team in front of them need to do a better job of getting in shooting lanes, not coughing up the puck, breaking up passes, and everything else that a team needs to do to help keep the puck out of the net.
The team also has not exactly been lighting up the lamp a lot this year. The club is currently 18th in the league in goals scored with 68 goals in 23 games, which is just under three goals a game.
For a team that has the likes of Claude Giroux, Sean Couterier, Jakub Voracek, Wayne Simmonds, James van Riemsdyk, and Nolan Patrick, pucks should be going in left and right. Unfortunately, they are not.
This leads us to the team’s last issue. While Dave Hakstol has done a solid job behind the bench over the last few seasons, he simply has not gotten the job done this season and has seemed to have a lot of trouble managing his lineup this season. With Hextall gone, one has to wonder if team head coach Dave Hakstol is going to be let go as well.
Besides Hextall being let go and possibly firing Hakstol, other things must change in Philly. It will be interesting to see to see who will be in charge of doing that moving forward.
Photo: NBC Sports Philadelphia