2019 Philadelphia Flyers Odds to win Stanley Cup with Expert Predictions
The Philadelphia Flyers made the playoffs in the 2017-18 season, and they seemed like they were on to something. But then things really went south last year, leaving a wake of carnage. Changes came in bulk as a result. Ron Hextall, a legend from his playing days with the Flyers, was fired as GM in November. Chuck Fletcher replaced him. Head coach Dave Hakstol followed Hextall to the unemployment line soon after, with Scott Gordon serving as interim coach the rest of the year. And Wayne Simmonds, a core player for the team, was sent packing at the trade deadline. It was an ugly year in many ways, and the team wound up exactly at .500. They need to be better, and they have been aggressive in their pursuit of improvement. But have they done enough?
Philadelphia Flyers Offseason Moves
The biggest move the team made in the offseason was an overhaul of their staff behind the bench. They seem to believe that more is better, because they have hired three proven head coaches. Alain Vigneault, most recently with the Rangers, takes over as head coach. And established head coaches Michel Therrien and Mike Yeo - the former being more successful than the latter - are both on board as assistants. Hakstol did a solid job, but Fletcher clearly valued a track record over potential this time around. Of note, he hired Yeo as head coach in Minnesota, so the assistant can translate Fletcher's expectations to the rest of the staff. It is never a lock that a coaching staff like this will deliver on their potential - chemistry and a balancing of egos matter. But the upside is certainly here.
Defense was a problem last year, and they have made some changes to address that. The top pairing of Ivan Provorov - who just got a fat new extension - and Travis Sanheim is intact, and the young duo have a chance to be very good. But the team bought out Andrew MacDonald, who was an assistant captain last year, and traded away Radko Gudas - who was talented but undisciplined. In their place, they traded a couple of draft picks to San Jose for Justin Braun, and got Matt Niskanen back in the Gudas deal. Both guys are reliable veterans, but they are also both 32, and age is an increasing concern in this league as it evolves. It's hard to get a sense of whether this team has improved as they have shuffled defensively.
Up front, the big change was the addition of free agent Kevin Hayes as their second line center. They paid a large price for him, locking him up for seven years at almost $50 million. He was very good with the Rangers last year. And if he can replicate that, then it's a very nice deal. They are dealing with some age in their core - Claude Giroux turns 32 this season, for example - so they really need Hayes to provide a boost and help them achieve their potential while it's still there.
The Flyers traded down from 11th to 14th in the first round of the draft
with Arizona and selected American defenseman Cameron York. He's a nice
prospect, but it will take time. In a perfect world, he'd be ready once one
of those older guys they just added was done.
Philadelphia Flyers NHL Outlook
Carter Hart is a very easy goalie to like. He's going to be a superstar in this league. And the defense is very solid, with four young guys who have massive upside - especially if Shayne Gostisbehere can shake off his horrible season from last year and play like he did in his first three seasons. And there is some talent up front as well. This coaching staff certainly isn't starting from scratch, and the potential is definitely a playoff berth. Of course, the issue is that the East is just brutally deep right now, and there are far more teams with playoff potential than there are playoff spots. The Flyers are definitely right in the crowd, but they don't stand above it in any way - and that makes things tough to call.
Philadelphia Flyers Schedule
The team opens their season on a heck of a road trip - their final preseason game, and their opener against Chicago, will both be played in Lausanne, Switzerland. A trip like that early on can be a really good bonding experience for a team that has faced some changes, and it's not like the travel or the culture in Switzerland will be huge handicaps for the teams. They have a few days off when they get home, and then they host New Jersey in one of the most interesting games of the first couple of weeks of the season. Both teams are looking to improve and contend, and there should be real battles between them all year.
Philadelphia Flyers NHL Futures Odds
At +2800 to win the Stanley Cup, the Flyers are currently the 19th choice. They are tied with Carolina as the 10th choice to win the Eastern Conference and are tied with New Jersey as the fifth choice to win the Metropolitan Division at +1400. The favored Capitals are only at +400, though, so it is a totally wide-open division. Their season point total is set at 90.5, with balanced action. They are -125 to make the playoffs, compared to +105 to miss them.
2019-20 Philadelphia Flyers Predictions
I like a lot of the things they did this offseason, and I really like Hart. But I am not sure that they quite measure up to some of the other teams that were out of the playoffs last year and are looking to get back in - most notably New Jersey and Florida. I feel like it is more likely for them to wind up outside the playoffs than in, but neither outcome would be a shock.
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