This has been an absolute nightmare of a season for the Philadelphia Flyers.
Their general manager was fired, their head coach was fired, they will more than likely miss the playoffs, and simply put, they are not a very good hockey team right now. What makes matters worse is that they are probably going to continue to stink up the joint all the way until April.
As of this writing, the Flyers are the second worst team in the NHL with 36 points. What’s more is that the team is just one point ahead of the Senators who currently own the league’s worst record.
The club is currently in the midst of an eight-game losing streak. Their eighth straight loss came at the hands of the Washington Capitals on January 8 by a score of 5-3 while their seventh consecutive loss seventh came in a game against the fourth worst team in the league in the St. Louis Blues, who shut them out by a score of 3-0 on January 7.
It is abundantly clear that with seven straight losses, this team is going to miss the postseason. Going into the year, it was expected that this club would at least compete for one of the eight playoff spots in the Eastern Conference, but the team simply has not risen to the occasion this year.
One reason why this team is going to miss the playoffs is that they cannot put the puck in the net. For a team that has a lot of offensive weapons, to be ranked 25th in the league is terrible.
To this date, the team has scored 114 goals in 42 games. They are just under three goals per game which when it comes to the season, is nowhere near enough to win games on a consistent basis.
While this team does have five players who have scored at least 10 goals (Sean Couturier, Claude Giroux, Wayne Simmonds, Jakub Voracek, and Travis Konecny), no one else on the club has more than seven. That’s a problem.
While the team hasn’t exactly been great over the last few seasons, goal scoring and point production was never a problem. In fact, it was these two things that made the team competitive in the first place.
When you take the goals and the point production, it exposes the team’s weaknesses. The first weakness is that their defensive play is terrible.
As of this writing, the team is 29th in the league in goals allowed as they have given up 151 goals in 42 games. This means that they are averaging close to four goals allowed per game, which is not going to help any team win games let alone the Flyers.
This defense is young, prone to mistakes, and is still trying to find a way to tighten up in their own zone. When you put these things together, it leads to a lot of defensive errors, pucks going in your net, and a ton of chaos in the defensive zone.
Yes, the defense has been awful, but as always when it comes to this hockey club, their goaltending is not helping matters. This franchise cannot seem to figure out how to solve their goaltending problems and until they do that, this team is going to be extremely inconsistent.
The original starter of this team, Brian Elliott was doing a decent job (6-7 with a 2.59 goals-against average, a .911 save percentage, and one shutout, until he went out with a lower-body injury. According to Flyers’ general manager Chuck Fletcher, he should be back on the ice within the next two weeks.
With Elliott out, this team has had to turn to the likes of Anthony Stolarz (2-3-2 with a 3.90 goals-against average and a .880 save percentage), Michal Neuvirth (1-4-1 with a 4.26 goals-against average and a .859 save percentage), and rookie Carter Hart (2-4-1 with a 2.68 goals-against average and a .909 save percentage).
Hart is the one to keep an eye on as he is expected to be the team’s future in goal. While he certainly has not played badly, it is clear that he still needs to learn the NHL game a bit, but once he does, the team might finally have some stability in a position that they have not had consistency in for what seems like forever.
If you’re a fan of the Flyers, it is time to give up on this season and focus on the future because when it comes to this season, the Flyers might just hit rock bottom.
Photo: NBC Sports Philadelphia