Let’s take a look back at the good…and the bad of the Philadelphia Flyers’ 2017 summer.
The Philadelphia Flyers had a disappointing end to their 2016-17 season by missing the playoffs for the second time in three seasons. Lack of goal scoring, lack of speed and creativity, and questionable coaching decisions all snowballed into another long summer for the Flyers. But with the 2017-18 less than a month away, there is a reason for optimism.
The Flyers struck gold when they nabbed the second overall pick in the 2017 NHL Draft. Drafting Ivan Provorov‘s former Brandon Wheat Kings teammate Nolan Patrick was a no brainer. Injuries derailed his season in juniors, as he was a consensus number one on most draft boards going into the season. “Dropping” to #2 overall turned out to be a blessing for Patrick and the Flyers. He won’t be expected to carry the team with the Flyers’ wealth at the center position.
General Manager Ron Hextall made the smart decision to lock up star-in-the-making defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere to a long term deal. A six year deal with an average annual salary of $4.5 million is going to turn out to be a bargain considering his age. Ghost leads the offense from the back end for the Flyers, and now that he is fully healthy, expect a bounce back campaign.
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The Flyers traded away Brayden Schenn and his 25 goals to St. Louis, but had to take back Jori Lehtera and his contract. Although the Flyers did receive an additional first round pick (Morgan Frost). Lehtera’s contract ($4.7 million cap hit through 2018-19) could be tough to swallow with so many rookies in the pipeline, not to mention his declining offense.
As is the norm for the Flyers, it will be another interesting season between the pipes with the Flyers signing goalie Brian Elliott to a two year contract. Although Elliot is not a flashy or top-tier goalie, he will be a capable backup to “starter” Michal Neuvirth. Both Elliott and Neuvirth are stopgaps until Carter Hart and/or Felix Sandstrom are ready for prime time.
Overall, the summer has to be deemed a success. Stealing Patrick, a future top-line center, and re-signing one of their top two young defenseman in Gostisbehere has to make Hextall happy. With the influx of youth coming down Broad Street, the future looks bright for the orange and black.