3 Common Trends From the Flyers Fan Community

Training camp is over, and the regular season has kicked off. With all the focus and pressure on the Philadelphia Flyers to redeem themselves after last year’s disastrous season, fans aren’t afraid to comment on their predictions, insights, and disagreements for the team this season. Here’s a more in-depth look at some common trends swirling around the Flyers community.

Chuck Fletcher’s Decisions

It’s clear that many fans are unhappy with some of the moves of Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher.

Last season posed high expectations that eventually came crashing down. Unfortunately, plenty of injuries kept critical players out of the lineup, but Fletcher’s choices, in his now four years with the team, have also played a big part in the slow downfall of the Flyers. This team faced a series of problems, resulting in them missing the playoffs in 2020-21 and again in 2021-22, putting Fletcher on the hot seat entering the offseason.

Related: Flyers’ GM Fletcher Has Run Out of Chances

One of the most talked about “bad decisions” was back in July when rumors swirled regarding free agent Johnny Gaudreau’s interest in the team. Fletcher shut the opportunity down fast in a press conference on July 13, commenting there wasn’t any room, “We don’t have the cap space to pursue those high-end type of free agents.” He continued to further explain higher regard for the players they currently had on the team. After promises of a highly anticipated “re-tool,” he’d extended Rasmus Ristolainen, inking him five years at $25.5 million, and signed Tony DeAngelo for two years for $10 million total, what seemed to be an extremely hefty price for the two average defenders.

This irritated fans, as the new member of the Columbus Blue Jackets, Gaudreau — a Salem, New Jersey native — had grown up as a Flyers fan with hopes to play closer to home. Racking up 115 points with the Calgary Flames in 2021-22, many thought the passing on signing the left-winger was an ample opportunity missed for the Flyers, as his skill would have been a top-line asset.

This particular decision brought past decisions by Fletcher to surface, and they were not afraid to express their disheartened opinions on Twitter. One tweet read, “Johnny Gaudreau wanted to go to Philly, so the Flyers overpaid multiple defensemen and back themselves into a corner they couldn’t get out of. Fire Chuck Fletcher.” Clearly, fans weren’t happy.

Exciting Start to the Season

Alas, a positive wave hovered over the city of Philadelphia after the Flyers, now led by new head coach John Tortorella, stunned the community and the rest of the NHL. Their season kicked off on Oct. 13 against the New Jersey Devils, which they won 5-2 with goals from Wade Allison (1), Travis Konecny (2), and Morgan Frost (2). Tortorella did mention some things that needed to be cleaned up and that not all minutes of a game are going to be perfect, calling it a “find-a-way league.”

Fans were left in disbelief that the team’s next two games would result in wins, one on Oct. 15 against the Vancouver Canucks (3-2) and one on Oct. 18 against the Tampa Bay Lightning. When an NHL team is winning, obviously their fans are going to be happy, but when a previously bottom-of-the-barrel team is winning, their fans go crazy. That’s exactly what the start of the season was like for the Flyers fanbase.

On Broad Street Hockey Radio, host Bill Matz commented, “it makes me so uneasy when things are going well. When things are going poorly, I’m very much at ease. I understand that; I’m used to it; I don’t get this.” Matz’s comment solidifies how most fans are feeling: what’s going on with the Flyers?

Well, to answer that, the Flyers seem to be responding well to the newly-introduced style of their head coach, making fewer mistakes than most people anticipated. No one is expecting the team to raise the Cup this season, but to come out of an incredibly disappointing campaign with a 3-0 start isn’t what seemed necessarily “normal.”

Philadelphia Flyers Goal Celebration
Philadelphia Flyers Goal Celebration (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Much of the early success seems to come from Tortorella’s ability to push the team, allowing them to take more accountability and remove themselves from their past season’s demoralizing feelings. Training camp posed a challenge for the group and invited a new set of goals. Some may have thought that the head coach was too harsh, pushing some players to exhaustion, but hard work certainly pays off, which the Flyers have seen early on. The addition of players like Frost and Noah Cates into line combos with veteran players has shown success in goal scoring, as well as added toughness when it comes to defending from DeAngelo.

Flyers’ Future Expectations

Although the season may have gotten off to a good start, no team can win all 82 regular season games. The Flyers did post their first loss, losing 4-3 to the Florida Panthers on Oct. 19, which solidified this concept. Fans are putting the pressure on for this team to be successful, or at least build more opportunities than last year, but re-tools or re-builds don’t just happen overnight.

Fans are aware they cannot expect the organization to rely solely on specific players or the goaltending of Carter Hart alone; eventually, a rotation will need to take place, even with his impressive .943 save percentage. In previous seasons, the team’s goaltending hasn’t been overly consistent, and I don’t think running with one goaltender is the answer. With that said, it’s not wrong to assume that viewers should expect to see more on-ice action from Felix Sandstrom.

Carter Hart Philadelphia Flyers
Carter Hart, Philadelphia Flyers (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

With all the changes in the offseason, the Flyers are certainly developing from last year, but fans have understood that this team may still be a long way away from being a postseason contender. The team is still working towards a new identity, patching holes, and coming together as one unit.

Related: What Does a Successful Flyers Season Look Like in 2022-2023?

Hockey fans can be a key aspect of a team’s success, and I think it’s important to recognize and value the opinions that go on within the community. Flyers fans are more than aware of the on-goings of their team, and all seem to have similar opinions regarding its current 2022-23 season.

We will find out what the Flyers will do next on Saturday, Oct. 22, when they head to Tennessee to take on the Nashville Predators.

Sign up for our regular 'Flyers Newsletter' for all the latest.

Latest News & Highlights