The Flyers have fallen further out of favor with ESPN three days into free agency.
Scott Burnside has Philly 27th, fourth worst, in ESPN’s first power rankings of the new hockey year.
The transition under GM Ron Hextall will be slow and at times painful, but it’s going to happen. We like the outside-the-box hire of Dave Hakstol as the new coach to guide the team through uncharted waters.
The only teams below the Flyers include Carolina, Toronto, and Arizona.
NHL teams have improved this summer, but so have the Flyers, who were in the middle of the playoff race till early March and finished the season 0-12 in their last 12 games against non playoff teams.
Philly’s moves were addition by subtraction, dumping Nicklas Grossmann (46.3 SAT%) and Zac Rinaldo (44.6 SAT%, 6 PTS). The Flyers also added arguably the KHL’s best defenseman, Evgeni Medvedev, and possibly NHL ready dman Ivan Provorov (60 GP, 15 G, 46 A, 61 PTS). Natural progression with some of the young players should help too. After revivals of Steve Mason (25 in first year with Philly) and Michael Del Zotto (24), Sam Gagner (25) needs to find his game on the wing in Philadelphia.
The Flyers probably aren’t a playoff team, but I don’t think they’ll be that bad. A fourth place finish would be ideal in a year like next season though, as the first three picks of the draft are determined by a lottery.