The Roster Has Severe Flaws
The Flyers’ roster, at Dave Scott’s direction, has been crafted by Chuck Fletcher and this was to be the season when all the moves were going to come together and the team would be a contender. At this point, Fletcher is out of moves, and Scott has only one move left, to fire Fletcher. Firing Fletcher at this point would be deserved, but also pointless.
Fletcher has inflicted maximum damage to the franchise leaving little in the way of draft capital or cap space. The Flyers were in position to make a strong rebuild in 2021, but rather than looking to build off their young players with more youth and depth, the team looked to veterans with little regard to anything beyond the next season. That kind of thinking got the team in its current state.
The most pressing issue is the Flyers are an extremely damaged team. Ellis, Konecny, Allison, Couturier and JVR, all of whom are injured, amount to almost 30 million dollars in salary against this years cap. Add Atkinson to the list and the Flyers have around 36 million dollars on the sideline, or around 40% of their cap space. Fletcher built a roster top heavy with injured players, and maxed the salary cap to do so. The Flyers will need to be rebuild, which will squander much of Provorov, Hart and TK’s prime years.
Tortorella is a Really Good Coach
Given the Flyers issues, Tortorella is doing a good job at the helm, even with the 10 game losing streak. The team has stolen points this year, something that did not happen much last season with a roster that included Giroux. This is a down cycle that Tortorella and the Flyers will have to endure. The Flyers were a bad team last season, and now without Giroux and with injuries to their top players things are worse. But Tortorella will keep them hustling and ready to compete.
What will be interesting to watch is how Tortorella deals with the losses. The coach feels any team he runs can, and should, win any game they play, if they do it his way. This is what makes him a great coach, but it is also why his coaching stints have a tendency to get radio active. Don’t look for Tortorella to blame the injuries. He will turn up the heat on his guys to get them to play the way he wants. He won’t stop, he won’t accept excuses, he will just push harder and either the losing streak or his relationship with his players will be broken.