The 2016-17 Philadelphia Flyers entered last season with high expectations. They had been one of the top teams in the NHL in the second half, and took the far superior Washington Capitals to 6 games in the first round of the playoffs.
And in the early part of the campaign, the Flyers lived up to the hype. They peaked at a 10-game winning streak around Thanksgiving, and their core players were all gelling and playing at a high level.
But as is custom in Philadelphia, the Flyers regressed. From the start of the new year, the Flyers never looked the same. Their scoring dried up, their flimsy defense finally cracked, and the goaltending duo of Steve Mason and Michal Neuvirth choked in big games.
Drastic changes have been made this offseason. GM Ron Hextall said goodbye to eight different players (roughly a third of last year’s team), and replaced them with younger, cheaper, and faster alternatives. Dave Hakstol enters his third year as the Head Coach of the Flyers in yet another year of transition, but he remains the coach of a team that, despite its flaws last season, didn’t miss the playoffs by much. If the young players can step up and the veterans can bounce back, the Flyers could have a chance to sneak into the playoffs.