Coming into this season, the big thing we kept hearing about was the change in culture and setting a standard that will stick with the Flyers for the foreseeable future.
This is so true. The Flyers have been walking a fine line of mediocrity for years and it seems like it will never end. This fanbase has been crushed year after year. Over the last decade, the Flyers have made the Stanley Cup Finals once. After that run, the team began a retooling process centered around Claude Giroux.
With this change, the Flyers would make the playoffs every other season. It took that team almost a full decade to be competitive and a threat to actually win a Stanley Cup. After that 2019-20 season, things just started going wrong for the Flyers.
Enter this season and the beginning of the tenure of John Tortorella.
This is what Tortorella is bringing to this club. Pride, perseverance, development and an ability to get the most out of his guys on a nightly basis. John Tortorella knows this team doesn’t have the most talent, but he knows this team has a mix of young talent and veterans who want to win and play hard. The players on this roster are guys that John Tortorella wants in the locker room and will have more players added into the mix over time.
As for winning or losing, that doesn’t matter. For one, this Flyers club is not bad enough to get the top pick in the draft and even if they were, there is no guarantee they would get it. Secondly, this team needs to learn how to play the right way. For years, we have seen this team make the playoffs and get bounced with ease.
There was no fight, no competitiveness, no willingness to go the extra mile to help your team secure a win. Time and time again, players and coaching staff changed, but the core stayed the same. I am not saying the core was to blame, but the losing and acceptance of being mediocre stayed with this club.
The Flyers are in a good spot right now. Young talent in both the big club and the minor league. The prospect pool has been restored alongside more players yet to come. The emergence of Noah Cates as a potential top line center with a skill set similar to a young Sean Couturier. Owen Tippet has shown flashes of being a dominant player in the NHL. Travis Konecny has returned to form. And Cam York proving he can play on a top line night in and night out has this team poised for a good core to not only grow together, but develop together under a coach who wants to lead them in the right direction.
For the first time in a longtime, it feels good to watch Flyers hockey. It’s exciting to say the least. This team is consistently competitive and fights every night. The Flyers have lost maybe 95% of their games by one goal after the empty netters and it something we have not seen in quite some time. Most of the Flyers’ teams from the last 10 years would roll over and let the opposing team run through them in the games that this team has been close in. This team has embodied the old Broad Street Bully mentality linking with new age hockey.
Finding the identity of this team was on the forefront of John Tortorella’s mind. Winning comes later, but as it stands, that may be closer than a lot of people have expected. The future is extremely bright in Philadelphia. The standard is set, and the future is now!