This type of season has been in the works for quite some time. Whether the Philadelphia Flyers or fans have wanted to admit that this season was needed or not. It has finally come to pass. In all honesty, the future is actually bright for the team and the fans should be happy. With the firing of Chuck Fletcher, retirement of Dave Scott, influx of young talent surrounding a Calder Cup playoff run and more moves coming to the front office brings a lot of hope with it.
This is a CRUCIAL offseason, especially for interim GM Danny Briere to make, not only a name for himself, but a case for him to be the permanent GM. With the season coming to an end, Danny Briere and head coach John Tortorella will have plenty of time this offseason to discuss which players will remain on this roster or should be moved at the draft or before the season starts.
There have definitely been some players who deserved to be moved this offseason and do not belong on this team or in Tortorella’s system. This season was about setting a standard for the future moving forward with this franchise. Mediocrity has been a mainstay around this team, and it is time to step into the future and create a roster that can contend with this current style of play in the NHL.
Noah Cates, Morgan Frost, Owen Tippett, Cam York, Sam Ersson and other young players all stepped up to prove they belong in the NHL. There are some vets who had good seasons and showed they can be both leaders and work horses for Tortorella. The influx of youth and them taking a step forward in the AHL and having their game transition to the NHL game in an extended look at times is big for a confidence booster for this new front office and coaching staff.
A Calder Cup run is going to allow the young kids to get some meaningful experiences. A playoff run in the AHL is similar to the NHL. Learning how to play in big situations in a meaningful game is good for development. Tortorella already knows how important it is to get the young kids on the current roster back to Lehigh Valley to not only bolster the roster but bring reinforcements for the Phantoms head coach Ian Laperrière and his team.
This will allow Tortorella and Briere to get an extended look at their young talent and see who the next players might be to take a step forward. Being able to figure out what in house pieces you have to the overall puzzle is the number one priority. There will be some pieces moving from the Flyers as UFAs and trades will be made to make room for some of these guys.
Also having Sean Couturier and Cam Atkinson returning will do wonders for younger players being able to learn from two class act pros. We can already see how important Couturier’s presence has been on Noah Cates. Watching Cates train with Couturier and get better at faceoffs has been amazing to watch.
You can see from the outside how much this team cares about each other. Usually when this happens, good things happen. When young players grow together, they tend to get better together as well. Danny Briere as the GM will also help this young group grow. It is clear from this previous offseason that he is going to bestow his wisdom to the players on the roster.
We saw how much his influence helped Travis Konecny return back to form. Three kids I can think of Briere taking under his wing would be Tyson Foerster, Bobby Brink and Owen Tippett. All three of these players have a great shot and Danny Briere could help take those already great parts of their game to the next level.
Speaking of the next level, it does bring to light that moving this franchise into the new age of NHL is something Briere can do. The senior advisors in this franchise are so stuck in their ways and can’t value the talent of speed and talent over big bodies and physicality. That mentality has helped keep this franchise in limbo. While having a great record going to the playoffs and making the Stanley Cup Finals is good, but only having two cups out of being there multiple times is embarrassing.
Building a roster based on the current level that the NHL is on will help create a contender. Having some physicality is good, but not having enough players equipped with skill and speed has left the Flyers in the dark as they have tried to use the same old formula to bring a cup home.
The standard has been set. If you want to play and play the right way, then Philly will be the home for you. Tortorella is a hard coach, but all he wants is to bring the best out of his guys. Watching some veterans not respond well to his message was troubling and shows who really wants to win it with Tortorella. He clearly isn’t the same coach we saw in Columbus in his previous stint. He has helped some of his young guys develop and gotten some of these vets back on track to help create a good core that is worthy of being built around.