Twenty (Not So Bold) Predictions for the 2022-2023 Flyers: Part 2

Jan 2, 2018; Dallas, TX, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella watches his team take on the Dallas Stars during the third period at the American Airlines Center. The Blue Jackets defeat the Stars 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 2, 2018; Dallas, TX, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella watches his team take on the Dallas Stars during the third period at the American Airlines Center. The Blue Jackets defeat the Stars 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /

The Flyers will have an unbending, smart and driven coach for the first time since Ken Hitchcock and it will be a bit of a culture shock for the players.  Tortorella can come off a harsh, and he probably is.   There will not be coddling, there will not be negotiation, there will be John Tortorella’s expectation of the players.

If Torts’ expectations are not met, then he will break the player while trying. This will be like nothing most of the Flyers have seen before, and it will work to some degree, but the road to success won’t neccesarily be traquil and smooth.

The Tortorella Effect

The Flyers Improve Their Powerplay

Leave it to the Flyers to lose Giroux, and then improve their powerplay. After finishing at the bottom of the table last season (12.55%), there is no way to go but up. The team will still have JVR, in a contract year no less, so he should be extra motivated. The addition of DeAngelo on the right point may open up some previously untapped possibilities. At the very least, the look of the man advantage will be different, and any thing different almost has to be more productive.

The Flyers Improve Their Penalty Kill

The Flyers finished 26th out of 32 teams on the penalty kill, which looks nearly respectable when compared to the powerplay. Coaching will again make the difference here. Tortorella will not accept lack of effort, or the confusion and blown assignments. Tortorella will not have an overly complicated system, which was the root of some of the team’s problems defensively.

He will insist players stick with their man, or area and not stop working until the puck is recovered. If the player stops working, he will find someone different. There should be enough players hungry for ice time that Tortorella will find a group that was more effective than last season.

The Flyers Will Increase their Penalty Minutes

The Flyers penalty kill will need to be better because Torts is going to make this team mean. Tortorella is going to change this pudgy golden retriever of a team into attack dogs. The Flyers’ players are going to take every lash handed out by the coach in practice and in the media and give it to every team that they face. Each game the Flyers are going to be dialed up, each practice will be used to push the players to a hightened, maybe agitated state, so they play with an edge.

The Flyers finished 13th in PIM/G at 9.0 minutes. I would look for this to increase by at least a minute as they take out what ever frustration they may have towards to their coach on their opposition.

The Flyers Surpass 61 Points, their Total Last Season

Tortorella will get more points out the Flyers no matter what. It may not be enjoyable for the players, it may cause mass physical and relational collateral damage, but Tortorella is a force of nature and he will not stop pressing until the team is competing every game. I expect the team to finish the regular seassn in the low 80s, my simulations see the team landing most often on 83 points.

The Flyers Miss the Playoffs in 2022-2023

I know this Flyers prediction will be a shock for many of you, especially in light of the Deslauriers signing (that was for four years), but sadly that will be the case. There is just not enough mature talent to make it through the division with some aging powers and young upstarts. The team will be more competitive, and if Ellis and DeAngelo can play significant minutes then there is a chance they could squeak in to a playoff spot, but I think there are to many things that need to go right for the Flyers to join the playoffs.

Kevin Hayes Will Be the First Victim of a Torts Public Call Out

This Flyers arranged marriage between Kevin Hayes and John Tortorella is not going to end well. Torts had already singled out Hayes in his first press conference, three months before the first game.  Before he even talked to the guy. Torts was practically drooling.

Hayes is a fine player, but is something of a finesse guy with a big strong frame. High Motor? Not really.  Abrasive? No. Shot blocking defensive zone demon who relentlessly works until he gets possession back? Hell No! Prone to the occasional shift off?  Sure. Kevin Hayes is pretty much the opposite of what Tortorella wants in a hockey player. He is almost exactly the type of player that makes Tortorella erupt. This is a bit like placing a bet on the roulette wheel, with my odds at least 21:1 but this is going to happen.

It will be interesting to see how Hayes handles it. This will be third head coach Hayes has seen in his short time in Philly.  Hayes is also signed for four year (like Tortorella) but has a cap hit of over $7 million a year and a modified no trade clause. I think it won’t take long for Hayes to figure out he has leverage, at least contractually. It may take him a bit longer to understand that Tortorella does not care about things like that.

Related Story. Twenty Not So Bold Predictions (Part 1). light