Flyers Just Miss the Playoffs — (Likelihood — 50%)
To be honest, this is the most likely scenario the Flyers will face. The team plays well during the season, but not good enough. At the trade deadline, they sell off a few pieces that will bring in some assets that will become more important in 2024-25 and beyond. And while the team shows some stretches of brilliance, they just “aren’t there yet”.
In this case, the Flyers miss the playoffs, but not by much. Perhaps they are within six to eight points from a playoff berth. It shows a lot of growth from Tippett, Joel Farabee, Cam York and others. The team is taking steps forward and you get the feeling that the team is close to being where they need to be.
Without some of the distractions from the previous year, the players buy into Tortorella’s system and rise to the occasion. Give it another season, and they’ll be in. At that point, maybe some of the younger future stars, like Cutter Gauthier, can come up and give the Flyers the ammunition needed to be successful.
Honestly, this is where the Flyers most likely are. The team is getting better. They are taking steps to get to where they need to be. Another year of seasoning and they will probably be bringing the style of hockey back to Philadelphia that we used to be accustomed to. It means they might have to part with some player that may hurt like Konecny, Hart, or possibly even Couturier. That’s what happens when you are rebuilding. They will have a better year than last year, but how much better is the question that needs to be answered.
The Wheels Fall Off and the Flyers Bottom Out — (Likelihood — 20%)
This is the worst of the worst case scenarios. Injuries to the team mount up. The defense shows itself to be an absolute mess. The goalies are inconsistent and let in a nightmarish amount of goals; thanks in some part to the horrific defense in front of them.
Much like making the playoffs, this is unlikely, but not outside of the realm of possibility. The Flyers are definitely not on the same talent level as the Carolina Hurricanes, Boston Bruins, Tampa Bay Lightning, or the New Jersey Devils. However, they aren’t the worst team either. It wouldn’t take a lot, however, for the Flyers to earn a top-five lottery pick in next year’s draft.
Again, injuries aplenty would have to hit this team. We’ve seen this happen the last two years running. While Tippett and Farabee are good players, they can’t shoulder the load of this team if Konecny, Couturier, Atkinson, and/or Laughton are out for extended periods of time. The loss of any player on a team can have a ripple effect if the team isn’t deep enough. The loss of a multitude of players can cost them a season.
Then look at the fact that maybe the young players have peaked and have given all that they are. If the young guys don’t improve, or worse take a step back, that will dampen the fortunes of the team. Every team in every sport has had some young player who showed promise one season and then … *poof*… gone. You never see them or their talent again. If Tippett, Farabee, York, Noah Cates, and others can’t handle the pressure or simply don’t have the talent, this team is doomed.
This is not as unlikely to happen as the team going deep in the playoffs, but it is still less likely than the other two scenarios. The Flyers may not be good, but they are not bad enough to just simply have a totally craptacular season. Although if it got to that point, that means a LOT of things went really, really wrong.