Rewind to the end of October. The Flyers had just beaten the Rangers to improve to 4-2-2. Through the first eight games of the season, there was a lot of optimism surrounding the team. They looked more impressive than anyone had imagined. The Flyers weren’t scoring at a high clip, but they were getting the job done.
Now we find ourselves more than a quarter of the way through the season, and that little offensive funk has turned into a trend that is seriously concerning. Just how bad is it?
- Wayne Simmonds is on pace for 34 points and has the second worst plus/minus in the NHL at minus-13.
- Jakub Voracek has one goal despite leading the team in shots by a margin of 13.
- Shayne Gostisbehere is on pace for more points than all Flyers except Giroux and Voracek.
- Matt Read has 5 points on the season. He isn’t even on pace for 20.
- Mark Streit is still tied for third on the team in points despite having not played in almost two weeks.
If you’re a Flyers fan this shouldn’t be concerning, this should be alarming.
All of these players should be entering the prime of their careers, instead their production is rapidly declining, and that is painful to hear considering the Flyers have these guys signed for the long-term.
These are proven goal scorers that have just halted all production and there is no reason as to why. The Flyers were one of the highest scoring teams in the NHL in 2011-2012. That team was made up of largely the same core as this team is, minus Scott Hartnell and Jaromir Jagr, which is basically a moot point since they played alongside Claude Giroux (who still is producing).
Simmonds has eclipsed 50 points in the last two seasons, Voracek had 81 points last season, Read has eclipsed 20 goals twice in his career, and Brayden Schenn was increasing his production year by year. So where has it all gone?
That’s the million dollar question in Philadelphia. The billion dollar question? Is this group failing to meet expectations?
It’s well-known that the Flyers have bolstered the organization’s defensive depth through the draft the past few years. Gostisbehere is proving that in the NHL right now, but what happens if these guys make it to the NHL and the Flyers have a non-existent offense? That’s a scary thought.
If the lack of scoring continues for the Flyers, they might be forced to big sellers at the trade deadline. It’s time to put the thought there that maybe a guy like Schenn would be better off somewhere else. I’ve documented so many times how great Couturier’s defensive game is, but there comes a point where if you’re paying a guy $4+ million a year, he needs to find the back of the net.
It even extends to Simmonds, a guy who has scored 47% of his goals on the power play since coming to Philadelphia. What happens when the power play falters? Well, we’re witnessing that now, as he has three goals through 22 games.
Then there’s Voracek, who the Flyers can only pray is just going through a rough spot. His new 8 year, $66 million-dollar deal doesn’t even kick in until next season. If he turns out to be a one hit wonder, the Flyers are really in deep trouble.
If the Flyers continue scoring a goal a game and proving that guys with large contracts can’t score, it may be time to look into rebuilding the offense as well, because right now, it is failing them miserably.
Matt is a contributor for the Philadelphia Flyers at The Hockey Writers. He has previously covered the Flyers for GrandstandU. He enjoys playing hockey and making music in his spare time.