Which Type of Players are the Flyers Missing?

Nov 3, 2023; Buffalo, New York, USA; Buffalo Sabres center Dylan Cozens (24) and Philadelphia Flyers right wing Garnet Hathaway (19) fight during the third period at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 3, 2023; Buffalo, New York, USA; Buffalo Sabres center Dylan Cozens (24) and Philadelphia Flyers right wing Garnet Hathaway (19) fight during the third period at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports /

So far the Flyers have been playing well this season. They’ve played a lot better than many experts have predicted. The younger players have been playing well while the vets have been rolling right along. John Tortorella’s system seems to be working in its second year with players who want to be coached. Daniel Briere has seemingly put together a team of individuals that play well together.

There are still some inconsistencies with this team. Despite all of the promise, the Flyers don’t seem to be quite there yet. At the same time, they may be just a few pieces away from being a true contender. So what is this team missing? What is keeping them from being great?

A Power Forward

The NHL has changed a lot since the days of the Broad Street Bullies. For years, former general manager Bobby Clarke, tried to hold onto those glory days. The game has changed a lot since Clarke was GM in the late 90s to mid 00s.

At the same time, there is a player from that time period that the Flyers could use someone like: John LeClair. While the team has been focusing on speedy snipers, and rightfully so, they need a winger like LeClair.

When LeClair played, he mostly scored two types of goals. The first type of goal was him standing in front of the net and deflecting the puck in. The second was him in front of the net, snagging a rebound, and dumping it into the net before the goalie could react. When he wasn’t doing that, he was setting up an effective screen to block the goalie’s vision.

Snipers are great and it looks as if the Flyers are building up a stable of them in the minors. Having a big forward who can spend time in front of the net and be a distraction would go a long way into helping this team score a lot of goals.

A Bruising Defender

The Flyers have a lot of defensive prospects. Some are speedy and most seem to be offensive minded. These are very important to have. However, the one thing the Flyers like is a big, hulking defender.

The last big guy the Flyers had on defense was Radko Gudas. However, if they could get someone more like Chris Pronger or Luke Richardson, this would be very beneficial to the team. As of right now, they don’t have a player who inspires fear into the hearts of opposing players. Having a guy like a Pronger or Richardson who can clear the area in front of the net and prevent offensive players from setting up an effective screen would help our guys in net.

You don’t want someone who is going to be reckless and put you down a man a lot. But if you can get someone who can throw their weight around with good clean hits and establish a presence in the defensive zone, that would greatly assist the more offensively minded defenders like Cam York be able to open up and play their game.

A Reliable Goaltender

Finally, the Flyers need a guy in net they we can count on. Carter Hart seemed to be that guy, but the constant injuries are becoming a problem. With him being injured again, and a free agent at the end of this season, it looks as if this team is preparing to move on.

Right now, the Flyers have to rely on the trio on Cal Petersen, Sam Ersson, and Felix Sandstrom. Petersen so far has shown that he is not a good option in net. Ersson has shown some flashes of greatness but hasn’t really be consistently good. Sandstrom has not taken advantage of the opportunities to secure the role as starting goalie or backup netminder.

Ersson seems to have the brightest future ahead of him wearing orange and black. However, if the Flyers are going to move on from Hart, they better hope that either Ersson or one of the prospects they have in the minors or juniors are ready to make that jump. At the very least, they need to hope that Ersson or an AHL level goalie can hold down the fort until the  team finds their goalie of the future.

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It is way too early to start thinking about post season. It’s not going to be clear if the Flyers will be buyers or sellers. However, if Briere is looking to improve this team, there may not be a whole lot of tinkering that needs to be done with this team. If we can find some of the players we’ve listed here, this team could be ready to make a statement on the league sooner than we think.