Philadelphia Flyers 2017-18 Season Preview

Nolan Patrick is being counted on to become the new face of the Philadelphia Flyers.

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.

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Flyers Enter Free Agency In Good Shape

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The biggest prize for the Flyers had to be the unexpected selection of Nolan Patrick in the NHL Draft.

Following a disappointing 2016-17 season, the Philadelphia Flyers entered the offseason looking to try and retool the squad into a playoff team while also attempting to get younger, shed salary, and build for the future.

And on the eve of Free Agency, the Flyers have done all of the above. Through a couple of trades, a smart draft, and a few free agency rumors, the Philadelphia Flyers look like they’re in good shape as we head into Phase 2 of the NHL offseason: the Free Agent Frenzy.

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Flyers Awarded 2nd Overall Draft Pick

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Centers Nolan Patrick and Nico Hischier are the top two prospects in the 2017 NHL Draft.

In a bizarre, unlikely, and ironic twist of fate, the Philadelphia Flyers have been awarded the second overall pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. Despite just a 2.4% chance at nabbing the second pick, the Flyers leapfrogged teams with far better odds, such as the Colorado Avalanche, Vancouver Canucks, Arizona Coyotes, and Vegas Golden Knights.

The New Jersey Devils also saw a dramatic rise, and will choose first in the draft. The Flyers have had a history of bad luck with the NHL Draft Lottery System in the past, but their karma finally bounced there way, as the team rose 11 spots and will have a chance to acquire a game-breaking player in either Nolan Patrick or Nico Hischier.

But who’s better: Patrick or Hischier? Let’s meet the two players who will become the new faces of the Flyers-Devils rivalry.

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Looking at the Flyers and the Expansion Draft

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The NHL’s newest team will have at least one current Flyer on its inaugural roster.

The Flyers may have recently wrapped up their 50th Anniversary season, but the Vegas Golden Knights are just getting ready to enter their very first year as an NHL franchise. The NHL’s 31st Franchise, their team will be comprised of players from each of the NHL’s current teams.

Each team will be required to surrender one player to the Golden Knights in the Expansion Draft, but teams will be able to protect certain players. For one, players with less than two years of NHL/AHL experience will be exempt from the draft. Teams will be able to protect 7 forwards, 3 defensemen, and 1 goaltender, (11 total players) or a mix of 8 skaters and 1 goalie (9 total players, but no position limits).  Also, players with no-movement clauses must be protected in the draft.

So who on the Flyers gets protected, and who will be left exposed for Vegas to take a gamble on? Here’s Overtime’s preview of the Philadelphia Flyers’ Expansion Draft Plan.

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Analyzing the Flyers’ Deadline Day Moves

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On a busy deadline day, the Flyers traded Mark Streit to Tampa Bay for Valtteri Filppula and picks.
The NHL Trade Deadline has passed, and the Philadelphia Flyers made a small flurry of moves. First, the Flyers announced they re-signed center Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and goalie Michal Neuvirth to 2-year extensions. The Flyers later traded defenseman and alternate captain Mark Streit to Tampa Bay for center Valtteri Filppula, a 4th-Round Pick and a 7th-Round Pick. For what it’s worth, Streit was later traded from the Lightning to the Pittsburgh Penguins for a 4th Round Pick.

There is a lot to break down here, so let’s get to it.

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Is It Time to Give Up on the Flyers’ Season?

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The Flyers’ season went up in flames on Saturday night against the rival Penguins in the Stadium Series.

The Flyers may have worn black jerseys in last Saturday’s Stadium Series, but they may as well have been waving little white flags.

In what amounted to a highly frustrating 4-2 loss, the Flyers passed up on the chance to gain ground in the playoff picture, remaining 6 points out of the final wild card berth with no games in hand. Two teams are seated ahead of them, and few teams have as difficult a schedule as the Flyers have from here on out, a schedule heavy on road and divisional games.

With the trade deadline just two days away, is it time for the Flyers to give up on this season and move on to next year?

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Reliving the Greatest Moments of the Flyers-Penguins Rivalry

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The baddest rivalry in the NHL will head outdoors tonight at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.
There is no rivalry in the NHL like that of the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Philadelphia Flyers. The two Pennsylvania teams will face off outdoors for the first time ever on Saturday at 8:00 on NBC. The rivals have only played one other time this year (the Penguins won 5-4), and the stakes have never been higher than they will be on Saturday in the Stadium Series.

Let’s take a look back at the greatest moments of the storied Flyers-Penguins rivalry.

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Assessing the Flyers’ Identity Crisis

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Wanted: The Philadelphia Flyers’ Offense

Breaking: The Philadelphia Flyers’ identity has been stolen.

While it may seem impossible to rob an organization, the on-ice Flyers are a shell of their former selves, playing without focus, drive, or passion, and the losses are beginning to pile up.

With 24 games remaining in the season and the Flyers sitting just two points out of the playoff picture, there is reason for hope. However, it is incumbent on the Flyers to figure out what has gone wrong in recent weeks, and more importantly, how they can remedy the issue and get back on track.

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Why Isn’t Claude Giroux Scoring?

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The 2016-17 season has had far too many frustrating moments for the Flyers’ captain.

Quick quiz: who leads the entire National Hockey League in points since the beginning of 2011? It’s not Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, or Patrick Kane.

It’s the captain of the Philadelphia Flyers, Claude Giroux.

However, times are different this time around. Giroux, coming off of a poor season by his standards in 2016, has regressed further in 2017. Giroux currently has the worst overall stats of his career since becoming an NHL regular in 2009.

Will Giroux turn things around, or is this the beginning of the end of Giroux’s reign as an NHL star?

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Flyers’ Two-Way Defense Kickstarting Offense

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Mark Streit and Michael Del Zotto are two key members of the Flyers defense that play a strong two-way game.

When outsiders look at the Philadelphia Flyers and they see a team with  just an 8-8-3 record, they feel obligated to bash the Flyers’ defense, a well-known weak link over the last 10 years or so.

And while the team is still a bit rough around the edges defensively at times, the team defense has improved to the point of respectability over the last few years, culminating in playoff appearances in 2 out of the last 3 years.

However, the Flyers have received some unexpected contributions from their defense this year in the offensive side of the game. As of today, the Flyers are currently the NHL’s top team in terms of points from its defenders, with their collective 13 goals and 55 points setting the pace for the rest of the NHL.

*This article can also be found on Flyzette, a SportsDaily blog.*

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