This season has been anything but fun for Flyers fans. With high expectations going into the season after a decent playoff run and the re-additions of Oskar Lindblom and Nolan Patrick, the Flyers looked to be in a prime position to be at or near the top of not just the East, but the whole NHL.
That did not happen as they currently sit sixth in the East with an improbable chance to make the playoffs; however, there have been some good things that have happened this season that have been overshadowed by the bad.
1) The Emergence of Joel Farabee
Last year in his rookie season, Joel Farabee looked like any high-level young prospect, doing good things and showing flashes of stardom, just very inconsistent and small. In 52 games last season Farabee put up 21 points on eight goals and 13 assists, not bad at all.
This off-season Farabee put on weight, trained a lot, and now has emerged as a top-line player for the Flyers. In 44 games played so far, he’s put up 31 points on 15 goals and 16 assists. He has hit a bit of a cold stretch recently, recording only four points in his last 13 games, and only one goal in his last 14 games. But that is natural for a young player. If he can continue to develop and improve on top of this season, it would not be surprising to see a couple of 25+ goal seasons from Farabee soon.
2) Carter Hart’s Resiliency
As many Flyers fans know, young goaltender Carter Hart had a phenomenal season last year, making him one of the favorites for the Vezina trophy at the beginning of the season. Playing in front of a rough defense while having a hard time controlling rebounds and saving high glove side made it difficult for Hart to continue his success in the league.
Because of this, head coach Alain Vigneault healthy scratched Hart for a week at the end of March to work with goalie coach Kim Dillabaugh on the previously mentioned problems, and others as well.
Since returning Hart has started five games and has a .909 sv% in those games, way above his season average of .877. His glove side and rebound control in those games have looked a lot better as well. Hart being able to dial in and fix the problems that emerge during a season is a great sign from the young goaltender moving forward.
3) The Sam Morin Story
A sign of what this season was going to be should’ve been noticed early on when the Flyers announced that former first round pick Sam Morin would be moving from defense to wing. He barely played on the wing at the NHL level and spent most of his time on the taxi squad or in the AHL with the Phantoms. In the Flyers games that he did play in, he looked out of place on the wing.
When Morin was sent to the Phantoms, he moved back to defense due to injuries on their end and was playing well. The Flyers gave him a shot this season with the revolving door on defense, and he lived up to it. Morin has played solidly since being paired with Gostisbehere on the third pair, getting into two fights (winning both easily might I add) and scoring a game-winning goal against the Rangers. The goal was his first career NHL goal and overall he had been playing solid defense.
After Morin’s unlucky injury history, to see him be a bright spot and a feel-good story for the season that has been nothing but disappointment was fun for all Flyers fans. Pulverizing Brendan Lemieux in your first regular-season fight will make any Flyers fan fall in love with you too.
(Honorable Mention) Wade Allison
This kid is going to be good folks, next year will be a fun one (hopefully).