Entering this season, most everybody expected the Flyers’ Achilles heel to be their defense. 15 games into the season, the defense hasn’t been anything special, but the offense has been the real issue, and that’s something that should be a huge point of contention for this team.
The Flyers have one of the worst power plays in the league and are managing a measly 1.8 goals per game. No one on the team has more than five goals and Mark Streit has more points than all but one forward.
It’s not just a cold streak, it’s becoming the norm, and that is lining up to be a huge problem if this is what’s in store for the future.
In case you weren’t keeping track, Claude Giroux turns 28 years old in just a few months, he is in the midst of his prime. Jakub Voracek has never gone this far into the season without scoring a single goal. And Wayne Simmonds, who used to make a living in front of the net on the power play, has just one goal on the man-advantage this season.
It really makes you sit and wonder, is this the Flyers we should get used to? Right now it looks like Giroux is among a bunch mediocre second and third line forwards that can’t execute a breakout or maintain any offensive zone pressure. It doesn’t matter who is waiting in the wings on defense, if you can’t score, you won’t win, and that’s the problem with the Flyers.
Keep in mind, all the guys I mentioned above were a part of the 2011-12 Flyers. That team was near the top of the league in goals per game (3.17). Since then, that number has gone down every single season, except for 2013-14. Otherwise, it has gone from 3.17 to 1.80 in a matter of four seasons.
What’s all that mean? Score three goals against the Flyers and it’s almost a guaranteed a win or at least a point. The Flyers have scored more than three goals just once this season. That was a 5-4 win in overtime against the Bruins. One time, in 15 games. That won’t cut it at any level of hockey.
These players are supposed to be producing, and it’s not as if we’ve seen a slow down in production, we’ve seen a halt in production. The bigger problem lies in the fact that the Flyers are paying these guys substantial amounts of money. Voracek just signed a monster 8-year deal with the team. Simmonds is signed at nearly $4 million per year for the next four seasons. Sean Couturier just inked a new deal that hasn’t even kicked in yet, to keep him here for the forseeable future. And Matt Read, who has been nearly invisible the past few seasons, is here to stay until at least 2017-18. None of them are producing almost a quarter of the way through the season.
The defense is fixable in the near future, the offense is not. What you see is what you are going to get, and witnessing these guys fail to produce is a very troublesome for the future of this team.
With the size of the contracts and the absence of production, the Flyers are treading in dangerous waters.
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.