After a strong start to the 2021-22 NHL season, the Philadelphia Flyers’ offseason transitions seem to make a positive impact on the team right off the jump. With the addition of Cam Atkinson, Ryan Ellis, Keith Yandle, and others, the Flyers all but overhauled much of their team to bring in new talent, while also keeping the core of their leadership group. During the offseason, no one really knew what type of impact these additions were going to have, but it is quickly becoming clear that these were the right moves.
While it is only the first three games of the season, this might be one of the best starts to the Flyers season in recent memory. The team has collected a point in each of the first three games (2-0-1 overall), while also outscoring opponents by nine goals (16 goals-for and 9 goals-against). with strong play coming from all facets of the team, this season just might be something special. It is still too early to tell how well the team will do down the stretch, but it is definitely nice to see them be successful in starting the season.
Since joining the Flyers this offseason via trade from the Columbus Blue Jackets, Atkinson has been an absolute ball of energy around the team. From being introduced to the team while wearing a gritty t-shirt to interacting with fans on social media, he has quickly become a fan favorite off the ice. On the ice, he quickly filled in the role of being a game-changing player while staying consistent each night.
So far this season, Atkinson has three goals, with two of those goals coming Wednesday night versus the Boston Bruins. His shoot-first mentality has been a breath of fresh air for Flyers’ fans, as this was not always the case for former Flyers, like Jakub Voracek. Atkinson was swapped for Voracek, and Flyers’ fans are absolutely loving the move. He is the perfect replacement for a player that fans were frustrated with for years. While Voracek was a consistent enough player to get by in the organization, Atkinson provides more of a pop and different mindset that will turn out better in the long run.
While it is only the first two weeks of the season, Atkinson is already in the top five in plus/minus, currently sitting at a plus-7 rating. This is something that Flyers’ fans should get used to as he will probably sit in the top ten all season. Being paired with Joel Farabee early in the season has proven to do wonders for both players as each has three goals in the first three games of the season. Offensive production of this caliber is something Flyers’ fans are not used to but should become familiar with as the season progresses.
Another exciting addition to the Flyers lineup, Ellis has proved why he was long sought after by the team. The shutdown defenseman has done everything expected of him and more through the first three games of the season. In the first three games, he has collected five points (1 goal, 4 assists) as a member of the Flyers.
The move of trading for Ellis keeps getting better and better as the defenseman has been the most important part of the trade so far. Phil Myers was traded to the Nashville Predators for Ellis, but he has been scratched for two out of the four games the team has played this season. Nolan Patrick, the other piece of the puzzle, has remained pointless through the first three games of the season for the Vegas Golden Knights. While Flyers’ fans knew they were getting the better end of the deal when it occurred, the production from the blueliner so far just further proves the point.
Related: Flyers: Getting to Know Ryan Ellis
As the season progresses, and he continues settling into his new role with the Flyers, Ellis will only continue to get better and better as the season goes on. Whether he is playing with Ivan Provorov or showing Travis Sanheim the ropes, he has been a huge addition to the back end of the team. The Flyers could not have asked for a better trade acquisition this offseason.
After being signed by the Flyers this offseason for one year, $900,000 with a no-trade clause, Yandle is quickly becoming an absolute steal. Between his consistent play on the ice and veteran leadership off the ice, Yandle has given the Flyers more than they could ask for based on the money they paid him. Throughout this season, he will look to continue his “iron man” streak, which began on March 26, 2009.
Through the first three games of the season, he has already collected five points (5 assists) as a member of the Flyers. Not only has he affected the team on the ice but also a tremendous impact off the ice and in the locker room. His outgoing character is making him a favorite among teammates and fans. He is well known for being outspoken, especially when he is mic’d up on national television.
Yandle’s leadership in the locker room is going to go further than anyone ever expected, making him one of the best offseason transactions the team could have asked for. He will play a pivotal role in steering this team in the right direction.
For the first time in a very long time, it seems like the Philadelphia Flyers are having fun playing hockey once again. As the season continues to progress and the team gets to know one another more, it would not be surprising to see them go on a deep run into the playoffs. A lot of the unanswered questions from last season seem to be filled, and things are only going to get better. As long as the goaltending stays strong and the team stays relatively healthy, things should finally trend in the right direction.
Bobby Bader Jr. is a freelance journalist born and raised in Philadelphia, PA covering the Philadelphia Flyers for The Hockey Writers since the start of the 2020-21 National Hockey League Season. He currently works with the Hershey Cubs Hockey Club (USPHL Premier) as the team’s media coordinator as the team prepares for its inaugural season. He also serves as the Assistant Sports Information Director at Penn State Harrisburg. For interview requests or to provide content info, follow Bobby on Twitter or his social media accounts. They appear under his photo on articles like this one.