Buy or sell: The Philadelphia Flyers
What the hell is happening here?
Hello and Happy Monday.
Today we are looking at one of the NHL’s biggest surprise teams — The Philadelphia Flyers.
Well this is unexpected
It would be kind of funny if, after years of losing and ignoring their need for a rebuild, while also stubbornly refusing to use the word rebuild, the Philadelphia Flyers randomly put together a strong season after finally acknowledging that they are in fact in the middle of a rebuild.
There might not be a bigger surprise in the NHL through the first two months than the Flyers as they carry a 10-7-1 record into the week thanks in part to a five-game winning streak that has included wins over a handful of Stanley Cup contenders (Los Angeles, Carolina and Vegas).
There are a lot of elements to this strong start, and some really encouraging signs that maybe — just maybe — this team might be able to remain somewhat competitive throughout the season.
When you looked at this roster at the start of the season, and especially after an offseason that saw them subtract more veterans with almost nothing coming back in (at least not from outside the organization), it was easy to conclude that this would stink. They had no real stars, had some big injury-related question marks, and probably a couple of questionable contracts that they might be better off without. They also still have the never-ending goalie question that never seems to get answered.
The one thing I kept going back to is that for all of his faults and flaws as a coach, this is the exact type of situation where head coach John Tortorella can excel.
I don’t know that his style works with super talented teams and star-level players. At least not anymore. That sort of style has a shelf life, and while there are a lot of players that have enjoyed their time playing for Tortorella, there are just as many — if not more — that have absolutely hated it.
But for a rebuilding team that is short on talent with low expectations?
That is the situation where he can excel, and I think that was a big part of the reason why he had so much success in Columbus (relatively speaking).
He is going to squeeze every possible point that he can out of an undermanned roster like that. Especially defensively. And through 18 games the Flyers have been an extremely effective defensive team, currently sitting among the top-10 in expected goals against and scoring chances against.
It might not get them to the playoffs. But it will make them at least competitive.
And that brings us to where we are with the Flyers right now.
So let’s talk about how sustainable any of this might be.
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