The Philadelphia Flyers might be waiting for the 2016-17 season but there is still work to do during the summer.
It was hard loss in the playoffs for the Philadelphia Flyers. Their Game 6 loss to the Washington Capitals capped what was a year of rebuilding and growing its future. It was a season that many thought wouldn’t be as successful for the team and towards the end of the stretch, it almost seemed as if the Flyers weren’t going to make it.
The team had its fair share of success, their goaltending being a high point of the squad. Their rookies stepped up to the plate, specifically the talent of Shayne Gostisbehere. Yet there seemed to be some things that were not as successful and inhibited the growth of the team.
Now that it’s the offseason, there is time to sit down and look ahead to the upcoming season and see what problems can be addressed before the Flyers take the ice for preseason games.
Lack of scoring depth
There is no doubt that one of the biggest issues that needs to be addressed during the offseason is the Flyers’ lack of scoring depth. It puts a lot of pressure on your top players, like captain Claude Giroux and right winger Jakub Voracek. Overworking players makes them not only mentally exhausted, but it can lead to physical injury. That happened to center Sean Couturier right before the playoff series against the Capitals.
CSN Philly – Flyers: Flyers confirm Sean Couturier out 2 weeks with injury https://t.co/gnwh6h53Is
— Tim Panaccio (@tpanotchUFA) April 16, 2016
That kind of injury can affect any player but when it affects some of the top guys, it makes it difficult to move forward.
While players like Radko Gudas and Ryan White came in clutch when the situation called for it, it’s not a long-term solution for the Flyers. It will make sense for the team to add more forwards to the roster. You need to have the ability to make plays down the ice and have powerful players there to be aggressive and put the puck where it needs to go.
Size, speed and and pure ability to score are going to be key assets in players. Having Wayne Simmonds is a huge plus for the Flyers and finding more guys like him would be ideal for the team. He’s part of a list that includes two other players that reached the 20-goal mark on the squad. That can’t bode well for the Flyers if they want to be taken seriously as a playoff contender.
There needs to be strong players on the second and third lines that are just as strong as the Flyers’ top line. If you look at teams like the Capitals, their depth is their strength and they’re consistently finding themselves in a top-team position. Having prospects who can fill those needs will be the goal.
The addition of signing Couturier to a six-year extension gives the team some wiggle room but there still needs to be fresh talent.
Keeping players healthy
This might sound like a basic need but injuries plagued the Flyers during the last few weeks of the season. Couturier was out with an injury, Voracek played with a foot injury and the rest had some bumps and bruises. Then on May 14, the Flyers organization made more announcements regarding some of their top guys.
— NBC Sports (@NBCSports) May 15, 2016
Now while this is good news and is a plus that it occurred during the summer, there is still a concern that this might be early signs of a longer problem. Giroux is getting surgery to repair his right hip and a torn bilateral lower abdominal. Gostisbehere is getting the same exact surgery and both players are expected to be back on the ice in 10-12 weeks. They both played during the season with the injuries and it might have been those injuries that led to their loss in the playoffs. Giroux has been one of the more reliable players on the team and his health is of utmost importance.
Along with Giroux and Gostisbehere, the health of the Flyers’ squad can’t be underestimated. It goes hand in hand with having more depth on their lines. If you don’t have enough players who can play through a whole 60 minutes, it’s going to cause problems with any long-term goals.
Working on improving the strength and health of players will help enormously during the regular season. These offseason surgeries at least came during a good time and there will plenty of time for recovery before training camp in September.
Yet, maintaining the health of the team and making sure that players are properly regimented and staying in fighting shape will be the best thing for the team moving forward.
The Flyers have the tools that they need in order to build a successful offseason program and start working towards making the Stanley Cup playoffs next season. Focusing on their depth is going to be the most important thing for the team. Having those players who can step up and make those plays when they need to is going to be key.
Decision makers are needed on the ice and those who are able to make sure that the Flyers get the puck where needed are going to be in high demand. Prospects are going to be the lifeblood of the team moving forward and those who can step up and be the future.
Yet, until those prospects are ready to come up, focusing on their current players and how to improve on the talent they have is going to be their immediate future.