The Contributions of the Kids
Yes, the vets are playing well, but the younger stars are coming on strong. Bobby Brink has proved that he has earned a spot on this roster. Offseason acquisition Ryan Poehling, surprisingly, has been coming up big in key situations. Cam York has continued to grow as a young defender.
Coach John Tortorella has talked about how the Flyers need to evaluate their young stars. This is starting to prove to be a happy problem because you can’t play everyone. However, so far, the young players are contributing in their own ways, even if it doesn’t always show up on the stat sheet.
Metro Division Problems
Over the last few years, the Metropolitan Division has been among the most competitive and brutal in the NHL. While that still is true, to some degree, our biggest rivals are having some problems.
The Carolina Hurricanes lost their goalie and have had both Sebastian Aho and Andrei Svechnikov spend time on the injured list. They are starting to put things together, but they have struggled on the defensive end. Pittsburgh has gotten old and sluggish, despite putting together a “new and improved defense” that has put them near the bottom of the division. Guess what, the Blue Jackets are still the basement dwellers. Meanwhile, father time is finally beating up on Alex Ovechkin. He has five goals and seven assists, but has shown some signs of aging. With him, the Caps are struggling. The Devils are battling injuries and the Islanders are battling…well, themselves and inconsistency.
This leave the Rangers on top. The Metro is struggling. If the Flyers can continue to win, or at least play well, they still have chance while their rivals are playing mediocre level hockey. With much of their upcoming games coming against the Metropolitan Division, the Flyers could begin to separate from the pack. Which brings us to…
Playoffs?….You Talking ‘Bout Playoffs?
Yup. Still too early to really talk about that. However, if the playoffs were to start today, the Flyers would be the ninth seed being the fourth place team in the division. However, all the teams in the Metro are pretty close. A victory over the Rangers on Friday or the Islanders on Saturday would put Philly back in second place in the division and into the playoff bracket for now. That’s not a bad place to be.
There still is a lot of hockey to be played. Players could get hurt. Teams could make trades to improve. Some team could get hot and start playing well.
However, if the Flyers continue on the pace that they are on, then the playoffs are not too far out of the realm of reality. It could happen. Who knows where this season could go? Again, unlike last season, they aren’t burying themselves so far down in the standings that it became pretty much impossible for them to climb out of. As long as the team continues to build and grow, anything is possible.