The Philadelphia Flyers dropped their 10th straight game today against the Boston Bruins and while that losing streak is hard to take, Philly.com’s Sam Carchidi writes that there are positives despite all the negatives the team has been enduring this year. The team is playing well at even strength, struggling mainly on special teams and the team should be getting defenseman Radko Gudas back from a 10-game suspension on Dec. 12, so there is hope for this season.
Regardless, the scribe writes fans may have to look towards the future rather then at this year’s production. While fans are angry about the offseason trade in which the Flyers traded away center Brayden Schenn, who is currently putting up good numbers in St. Louis with 10 goals and 20 assists, there are long-term assets to consider. The team took on Jori Lehtera’s contract in exchange, and the veteran is making that deal more challenging to analyze as he hasn’t scored a goal for Philadelphia this year. However, the team also got back two first round picks in that deal. The team drafted center Morgan Frost this past year, who is playing well in the OHL with 13 goals and 27 assists in 26 games. The team is also getting another first-rounder in the bountiful 2018 draft as well.
Carchidi writes the team should have ample cap room next year when the contracts of Valtteri Filppula ($5MM AAV) and Matt Read ($3.63 AAV) expire. If the team chooses to buyout the final year of Lehtera’s deal, the team should have ample space to sign a free agent this offseason when players such as John Tavares, Evander Kane and James van Riemsdyk are available.
However, the team also has quite a few prospects starting with 19-year-old goaltender Carter Hart, a 2016 second-round pick, who looks like the team’s goaltender of the future. After recovering from a bout of mononucleosis, he has put up huge numbers in the WHL, including a 1.58 GAA and a .953 save percentage in 13 games. He is expected to be Canada’s starting goaltender in the upcoming World Juniors and some believe he could be ready to be the Flyers starter in the 2019-20 season after a year in the AHL.
If you include that with the large amount of young players under the age of 25 on the Flyers current roster such as Sean Couturier, Nolan Patrick, Travis Konecny, Shayne Gostisbehere, Ivan Provorov, Travis Sanheim, Robert Hagg and a bunch of other youngsters who still must prove themselves, the core is already there. Along with the success of a lot of their young players in the minors, this team has a lot to look forward to in the future.