Philadelphia Flyers Ranked 18th by ESPN in Opening Power Rankings
After a disappointing 2020-21 season, Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher made multiple changes to try and change the culture in the locker room and on the ice.
Fletcher traded away many players who had called Philadelphia home for awhile like Jakub Voracek, Nolan Patrick, Robert Hagg, Philippe Myers, Shayne Gostisbehere and Brian Elliott.
Fletcher turned those players into Ryan Ellis, Rasmus Ristolainen, Keith Yandle, Cam Atkinson and Martin Jones.
So with so many new faces, have the expectations changed for the orange and black?
ESPN’s first power rankings came out for the season and have the Flyers are stuck in the middle of the league rankings at No. 18 overall.
In the “best case scenario” that ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski has for Philadelphia, it sounds like a whole lot that needs to go right for the Flyers to return to the playoffs.
The Flyers' goaltending stabilizes, their defense improves and their goal-scoring ticks up into the top 10, earning Philadelphia a playoff spot in a very competitive division.
As Wyshynski outlines, a lot rest of the shoulders of Carter Hart, an improved defense and more scoring, especially in a very competitive division.
As the most fascinating player, the scribe lists goalie Carter Hart:
It's Carter Hart, and it's not particularly close as far as the Flyers' most compelling player. The season rests on his shoulder pads. If he's the goalie who looked like he was progressing toward Vezina Trophy contention in the 2019-20 season, Philadelphia can be a playoff team.
As for as worst-case for the season:
The worst-case scenario for the Flyers is having done a similar thing and then getting the complete opposite result.
Who is the Flyers X-Factor this season?
The mystery is Ristolainen, whose reputation with the Sabres left many scratching their heads about the Flyers giving up so much for him. Is that subtraction by addition?
One bold prediction for the season:
Travis Konecny has a big bounce-back season as a goal-scorer, setting a career high. More importantly, he scores neither 11 goals nor 24 goals, one of which has been his final total in each of his five NHL seasons.
Philadelphia's season kicks off on Friday at 7 p.m. against the Vancouver Canucks. You can hear that season opener on 97.3 ESPN and the FREE mobile app.