The NHL ranked the Flyers as the eighth best team heading into the Stanley Cup Qualifiers.
The season officially resumes on Saturday when a handful of teams take to the ice for the qualifying round. Round robin play will also begin this weekend. That is when the Flyers will take on Boston.
Before heading into the playoffs and as a part of the Super 16 rankings, the league’s writers ranked the teams heading in. There aren’t many surprises about teams that were ranked as the best.
The Boston Bruins come in as the best team heading in. They were by far the best team in the regular season. Their 100 points were six better than the next team, which happens to be who ranked second among all teams.
The reigning Stanley Cup winners in the St. Louis Blues come in second, just one voting point behind the Bruins. And with Vladimir Tarasenko back and playing, they should continue to be a threat in the postseason.
But where does all of this leave the Flyers? Well, not as high as one would expect them to be. Among the four best teams in the East, one would imagine them to be among the top eight in the rankings. While that is true, there is a surprise team ahead of them.
The Pittsburgh Penguins come in as the seventh best team heading in. Now the two teams were close when the regular season finished. The Flyers had just three more standings points. But one team was hot while the other was stumbling.
So the Penguins being ahead of the Flyers is still a questioning move. They had six more points when it came down to the voting. The knock against Philadelphia appears to be that nothing truly stands out about them.
The Flyers were one of the hottest teams at the end of the regular season. They were in line with the Bruins when it came to the best record since January 8th. However, it seems as if the long pause as quelled some on what to expect from the Flyers after all of this time.
And while nothing may have stood out about the exhibition game against the Penguins, the fact that there was no rust to start should stand out. The team didn’t look any worse for wear playing their first game in over four months.
And while Sidney Crosby may have been playing through an undisclosed injury, he will still held shot-less. The penalty kill was also strong, going perfect in the contest. And despite not capitalizing on the power play, the two units looked strong.
They are backed by Carter Hart in net, Ivan Provorov on defense, and Travis Konecny up front. The three youngsters are expected to have big roles coming up. And they all shined in the exhibition game.
However, the NHL sees quite a few teams that have a better chance. The Flyers are certainly not underdogs coming in, but it does appear that some may be underrating what they are capable of doing moving forward.