2018 Philadelphia Flyers Predictions with Futures Odds and Expert Picks
Last year Philadelphia made the playoffs, but not by much. Their 98 points was good for the final spot in the Metropolitan Division behind Washington and Pittsburgh, but it was just one point ahead of the two wild-card teams, Columbus and New Jersey, and only two points ahead of the Panthers, who missed out on the postseason. One win was all of the difference for the team in the end. This year Washington and Pittsburgh are both really good again, and the wild-card race will be, if anything, more competitive. So, Philadelphia did some good things last year, but just doing those same things again could very well not be good enough this time. This is a team that needs to take a step forward, and it's not entirely clear if they can.
Philadelphia Flyers Offseason Moves
The team hasn't made a trade worth talking about - unless you consider swapping seventh-round picks with Montreal a significant move for the future. And they didn't have any significant contract issues to deal with. They are making it tough to write an interesting preview.
Free agency offered a bit more of note. They let Valtteri Filppula go, which opens up a third-line center job, and they let some goalie depth in Petr Mrazek and Dustin Tokarski walkThose moves require a little adjustment, but nothing significant. The big free agent move by far was the addition of winger James van Riemsdyk from the Leafs. The $7 million per year for five years is more than I would have wanted to pay, but the market was competitive for him, and the team desperately needs a winger who can help center and 2017 second-overall pick Nolan Patrick continue to grow his game. If the chemistry between those two works then the cost won't matter. Interestingly, van Riemsdyk was, like Patrick, a No. 2 overall pick by the Flyers, though a decade earlier.
The team had two first-round picks, taking winger Joel Farabee 14th and
center Jay O'Brien 19th. Both guys are going to be a couple of years off.
The youngster who will have all of the eyes on him this year, though, will
be 2016 second-round pick Carter Hart. He was named the top goalie in the
WHL for the third year in a row last year and was the top goalie in the
entire Canadian Hockey League - the world's top junior league - last year
and two years earlier. He is a very special goaltending project. Goalies
are typically very slow to develop at the NHL level, but goaltending has
been a problem for the Flyers. Their duo right now is Michael Neuvirth and
Brian Elliott. Neither were great last year, and both have had hip surgery
since last season. The team will be very patient with a prospect as
valuable as Hart, but if he looks ready out of the gate then he could get
his chance this year.
Philadelphia Flyers NHL Outlook
There are things to like. Having Shayne Gostisbehere and Ivan Provorov in the same defensive group is an incredible luxury, and both guys are still so young. Patrick looks like the center of the future that they wanted him to be, and there are some good young players around him. And the veterans like Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds still have plenty to give. The team has the tools to be a playoff team.
But there are concerns, too. The goaltending is the biggest one if Hart can't pull off a miracle and arrive a year early. I don't trust either guy when they are healthy, and neither has been. And there are a whole lot of teams who are in the same basic space as the Flyers. With Washington, Pittsburgh, Tampa, Toronto and Boston having locked down spots unless things go horribly wrong, there are only three spots to fight for, and more than three teams that could fill them. The margin for error is small, and I am not sure I would give the Flyers the nod over enough of those other teams.
Philadelphia Flyers Schedule
By the time March rolls around, the team is hoping to be in the heart of a playoff race. If they are in need of a lot of wins by then they could be tough to come by. From March 6-27 they play the defending champs from Washington three times, Stanley Cup favorites Toronto twice, and at Pittsburgh. Those are six brutal games in an 11-game stretch, and all and all are against key Eastern foes. Ugh.
Philadelphia Flyers NHL Futures Odds
The Flyers are +2500 to win the Stanley Cup at Bovada , which ties them with Edmonton and the Kings and puts them behind 10 other teams. Oddsmakers believe that last year is repeatable - after 98 points last year, the season point total is set at 97.5 this year. Giroux is at +2200 to win the Hart Trophy as MVP.
2018-19 Philadelphia Flyers Predictions
I struggle to figure out how to feel about this team more than most. The upside is there - they could get 100 points and it would not be surprising at all. But the downside is there, too. I lean slightly towards the "under" on the total, but mostly I'll just sit back and wait for this team to show me what they are going to be because I don't know.
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