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Philadelphia Flyers 2017-18 Season Preview Part III: Assistants, Goalies And Predictions

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Philadelphia Flyers 2017-18 Season Preview Part I: The Forwards

Philadelphia Flyers 2017-18 Season Preview Part II: The Defense

Are. You. Ready. For. Some. Mother. Frickin’. Philadelphia. Flyers. Men’s. Professional. Ice. Hockey????? The regular season is finally here and the Flyers are back. I’ll be honest, starting off the season with a 10:30pm west coast game is absolutely brutal. Especially considering the dumbass soda tax here in Philly is gonna rape me on this 2 liter of Coke Zero Sugar I’m about to crush tonight just to stay away for all 3 periods. I don’t mean to get too political but we really need to get rid of that god forsaken tax. Anyway, game 1 of 82 starts tonight with the Flyers in San Jose and we’re just gonna go right ahead and call this season a playoff or bust year. Year 3 of the Dave Hakstol regime. You can’t go from making the playoffs in year 1, to winning 10 games in a row yet still missing the playoffs in year 2, to missing the playoffs again in year 3. This is a huge year for Hak. A huge year for Hextall. A huge year for Giroux and Voracek and Simmonds. And it all starts tonight.

NHL: SEP 21 Preseason - Flyers at Bruins

Before we talk about the goalies and the rest of the season, let’s talk about the news from yesterday. The Flyers will have 2 new assistant captains this year. Valtteri Filppula will be wearing the ‘A’ during home games this year and Andrew MacDonald will have the ‘A’ during road games. Now listen. I know that people are going to be losing their shit over Mac getting an ‘A’. But there is an enormous disconnect between the way that the fans view Andrew MacDonald and the way the actual team views him. As fans, we really only get to see what happens on the ice during games. And during those moments, we see the worst that Andrew MacDonald has to offer. So because he holds the team back on the ice, we hate him. But the rest of the guys on the team and the coaches and the organization? Well they see everything else he has to offer. Clearly he has a huge presence in the locker room. Clearly the guys on the team respect the hell out of him considering this came from a player vote. So if the players respect Andrew MacDonald and they view him as a leader in the locker room, then that’s fine with me. No need to get pissed off about it. It’s their team, we just watch them. I’d still rather have 6 different guys out on the ice before Mac but that doesn’t mean he can’t help this team in other ways like being a leader for the younger guys.

Now to the goalies.

Brian Elliott – Michal Neuvirth

Goaltending has been, and will mostly likely always be, the Flyers’ achilles heel. Not necessarily good or bad goaltending. But incredibly inconsistent goaltending. Pretty sure everybody in the world knows that at this point. And the Flyers are now heading into yet another season with 2 goalies who have proven themselves to be as consistent as the internet connection at Barstool HQ. Both Brian Elliott and Michal Neuvirth have times when they can take over and win games for you team. Both Brian Elliott and Michal Neuvirth have times when they can let up a dump-in from center ice and make you question what’s the point of living. Neither goalie is terrible. Neither goalie is great. I know that this isn’t any ground breaking analysis or anything but this is just what life as a Flyers fan is all about.

Now with that being said, I think the Flyers are going to be scoring more goals this year than they have in the past. I think moving Giroux to the wing helps with that. I think having somebody like Nolan Patrick centering the 2nd line will help with that. I think that having a more skilled 4th line will help with that. I think that having guys like Ghost and Provorov and hopefully Sanheim out on the ice for 20 minutes a night will help with that. So that should get rid of some of the stress on both goalies. I feel a lot more comfortable with this team squeaking out a 4-3 win instead of a 2-1 win.

One of them will catch fire at some point while the other slumps and then it’ll be vice-versa. I wish I had something more hopeful to say about the tandem but it is what it is at the point. They’ll be competent in the net but the Flyers aren’t going to get into the playoffs based on goaltending alone. The one good thing to look forward to is that Michal Neuvirth is now a father so hopefully he has some extra dad strength in between the pipes.

Season Prediction

2017 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series - Philadelphia Flyers v Pittsburgh Penguins

Like I said before. This is a playoff or bust year for the Flyers. Which is a tough spot to be in considering the Penguins are two-time defending champions, the Capitals are a lock to lose in the 2nd round every year, the Blue Jackets are right up there in the top of the division, the Rangers are still capable of playing well enough to steal a playoff spot, the Islanders are a mess but still have John Tavares and the Hurricanes continue to quietly get really good. The Metro is going to be a bloodbath this year and somehow the Flyers need to manage to come out of the regular season with at least a wild card spot. And that’s where I think they’ll end up.

1) Pittsburgh 2) Washington 3) Columbus 4) Philadelphia 5) NYR 6/7) NYI/Carolina 8) New Jersey

I could for sure see this as a year that 5 Metro teams make it to the playoffs. I think Carolina is going to be nasty this year and I still only see them as the 6th or 7th best team in this division. The inconsistency in net combined with mistakes from having so many young kids in the lineup are going to keep the Flyers out of the top 3 spots in the division. But as long as the team stays healthy then there’s no reason why they shouldn’t lock up one of those two wild card spots. There are plenty of people outside of Philly right now who already have this team wrote off. Nobody is talking about the Flyers. Nobody is expecting anything out of them. Yet what those fucking morons don’t understand is that the Flyers haven’t missed the playoffs for 2 consecutive years since ’93/’94. This organization doesn’t stay down. This isn’t a team that has to tank in order to get good. This isn’t a team that has bordered irrelevancy for the past decade like Carolina. It’s not a team like Columbus who don’t have an identity. This is a team who has found ways to constantly stay in the mix for the last 25 years. So go ahead and write off the Flyers. Go ahead and say they’ll be out of the playoff race by March. Just know that you’re going to end up looking like an idiot come April. They’re not going to win the Cup this year but the Flyers are going to the Stanley Cup Playoffs and once guys like Provorov and Konecny and Patrick and Morin and Sanheim get a taste of playoff hockey? You’re all fucked.

@BarstoolJordie