Well, the 2021 season is officially over for the Philadelphia Flyers and yes I know it’s been a few days but I needed some time to gather all of my thoughts. I am going to be 100% honest in this blog and I’m not gonna sugarcoat anything. You’re going to get my honest opinion on this years Flyers team and what needs to change for next season. There were a lot of ups and downs this year so strap in folks, this is going to be a long one.
Disappointed. Underwhelming. Frustrating. Those are probably the three best words I could think of when thinking of this 2021 Flyers season. We came into this year with so much hope and so much potential. This year was supposed to be a big step forward for this organization and plain and simple they shit the bed.
After listening to the post season press conferences from the players, coaches, and Dave Scott/Chuck Fletcher there’s one thing I’m not going to do. I refuse to say that COVID is the main reason this team struggled. It’s a bullshit excuse because every team had to deal with similar situations. Now do I think when the team had their COVID outbreak it hurt them? Yes, absolutely it did. But there were glaring issues before the outbreak even happened so again it’s a BS excuse.
The defense was atrocious for the better part of the year as the failure to replace Matt Niskanen was evident. On top of that, the young guys such as Phil Myers and Travis Sanhiem regressed. Ivan Provorov had a down year, Robert Hagg wasn’t horrible but also didn’t bring anything great to the table. Justin Braun who I can’t stand, I will say played pretty well towards the end of the season. I don’t care what anyone says Shayne Gostisbehere was probably the best defenseman on the team this season.
The only real positives to take away from the defense this season was Ghost and the debut of Cam York who looked great in the three games he played.
The offense was not the same offense we saw last season from the Flyers. Whether it was the lack of practice time or maybe the fact that last year was a fluke, the forwards didn’t produce. All of Kevin Hayes naysayers where proved right this season as he had a poor season after looking like a human highlight reel last year. They just never seemed to get their forecheck game going consistently and their lack of zone time was infuriating.
The veterans did their part this season as Giroux, Voracek, Coots, and JVR carried this team offensively. In a typical season that would be great but the depth scoring that we thought the team would have wasn’t there. Konecny struggled to score and at times hurt the team more than he helped them. Oskar Lindblom and Nolan Patrick didn’t produce as much as we would’ve hoped. Granted they were both coming off some major medical issues I think we can all agree it would’ve been nice had they done more.
I’m fully confident in the forward group bouncing back next season they still need to add a piece or two.
Finally goaltending…Was Carter Hart good this season? Short answer is no. Was it all on him though? Once again, no it wasn’t. The defense as I said was god awful and I think it let you him trying to do too much in net. Yes he should’ve been better but I think a lot of factors played into his down season. He was very open about not getting to see his family much and you have to think for a 22 year old kid that’s gotta be tough and probably took a heavy toll on him. I also think his injuries were a little more serious than he led on and he tried to play through them. I have zero worries about Hart bouncing back and being the franchise goalie we know he can be.
Brian Elliott was what we thought he would be. Good when we needed him to step in but not great when he got more playing time than he should have. He’s a solid option as a backup but he can’t carry the load anymore. We can appreciate what he has done for the Flyers the last few seasons but it’s time to move on from him.
This off-season is going to be an important one for the Flyers and while most people want to see some major changes, I don’t see it happening. I am not confident enough in the people running this organization to make the major shakeup this team needs.
The top priority for this team going into the off-season should be a veteran defenseman. It’s clear the defense struggled last year after not replacing Niskanen. Secondly, they need to get a superstar. This team doesn’t have a true excitement level player. We’re a team with a few stars but nobody is at that superstar level. There’s not one guy on this team that has the ability to take over a game single handedly. Now I know that’s rare to find just out there but at least go out and get a pure goal scorer. Last but not least we need to find a new backup goalie. I like Moose but his time with us should be done. The answer for Carter Harts backup isn’t in the organization right now either. Free agency is going to be super important for this team but it can’t be the only place they look to make moves. I need Chuck to be active on the phones and try to pull off some sort of blockbuster deal.
It’s gonna be a long four months without the Flyers and even with how frustrating this team was I’m still going to miss being able to watch them.