Philadelphia Flyers: New and improved team is ready for the next step

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 21: Claude Giroux /

The new and improved Philadelphia Flyers look ready to take the next step and become playoff contenders.

The new and improved Philadelphia Flyers are a team that’s become suddenly relevant, right there with the Leafs and Oilers.  We’re only 8 games into the 2017-18  season, but regardless of the small sample size, the vibe on this team is so different from last year, it seems like they replaced half the team.

Of course, that wasn’t the case. Healthy veteran superstars and talented, enthusiastic youth have begun to mesh into something that should keep things sunny in Philadelphia for the next decade.

Philadelphia Flyers
Philadelphia Flyers /

Philadelphia Flyers

Yes, if we would’ve only had this rebirth of a great franchise say 2 or 3 seasons ago, so much would be different. But instead of lamenting, I’ve chosen the glass half-full approach, which honestly, I’m not always a fan of.  I think 42 years of suffering does change a person’s psyche, and if you’ve been a part of the heartache, you know where I’ve been.

This team feels different, and with an injection of youthful exuberance and the veterans playing well, this team is on the rise. Ron Hextall‘s patience will be paying off big dividends over the next decade. I think we’re more than a bubble team, and will prove that’s the case if we’re healthy and the goaltending is good to very good (like 2 seasons ago when Steve Mason and Michal Neuvirth were the best tandem in the league).

The next two seasons will tell us where our goaltending of the future is, and hopefully the tandem now can take us to the next phase. By then the kids of the future should be ready to replace the present tandem. Mr. Hextall has done a great job of rebuilding this storied franchise, and with a few more tweaks, they’ll be back as hockey royalty.

Captain Claude Giroux looks like he did in 2013-14, with a jump in his step and attitude to his game, making amazing plays that should have him in Art and Hart discussions. The league as a whole will begin to talk about the Flyers fourth line being one of the most improved.

Next: Flyers lose to Ducks in ugly fashion

It’s an exciting time to be a Flyers fan. Prepare yourself, this roller coaster ride is faster, scarier (in a good way), and void of height requirement, so keep your hands inside the compartment and hang on.