We’ve now made it past the holiday season but there is still plenty to be thankful. Like the last few years, PHR will take a look at what teams are thankful for but this year comes with a bit of a change. Normally teams would have an idea of where their season was heading, coming up on the one-quarter mark with mountains of statistics to analyze. Instead, in this unprecedented year, things are just getting underway. We’ll still take a look at what each group is excited about and what they could hope for with the calendar having now flipped to 2021.
What are the Flyers most thankful for?
A group of young impact players changing the look of the team.
It’s taken a few years, but the team is suddenly loaded with young talent that is contributing in a major way for the team. Just a few years ago, the team brought in players like Travis Konecny, Ivan Provorov, Travis Sanheim and goaltender Carter Hart to name a few. Those players have established themselves as elite players on a playoff team that is hoping to now take that next step. Other younger players have more recently stepped in as well, including Joel Farabee, Morgan Frost, Philippe Myers, etc. The hope is the next wave can also take the next step.
Who are the Flyers most thankful for?
Their veteran forwards.
The team may have quite a few young players they can count on for support, but the team continues to be held together by their veteran depth. The team still has their top three long-time forwards, Sean Courturier (the 2020 Selke winner), Jacob Voracek and Claude Giroux, but have also gotten great contributions from Kevin Hayes, who has looked outstanding in his one-plus year with the team, even posting eight points in six games with the team so far this year. Even James van Riemsdyk has posted solid numbers this season, giving the offense a solid core presence.
What would the Flyers be even more thankful for?
The Flyers lost a pair of impressive young players for the season last year. Lindblom was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a form of cancer and spent the season receiving treatment. He was cleared of the cancer late in the year and even made the trip with the team into the playoff bubble, although he didn’t play. Regardless, now healthy, the team hopes that Lindblom can pick up where he left off, which was producing at a high level. So far, he has spent quite a bit of time on the first line.
Patrick, on the other hand, missed the entire 2019-20 season due to concussion issues with plenty of questions on whether he would be back when the season started. However, Patrick is back, centering the third line and looking sharp, perhaps sharper than he has ever played before, giving hope to the Flyers future.
What should be on the Flyers’ wish list?
The loss of Matt Niskanen has had quite an impact. The veteran blue liner announced his retirement during the offseason, something the team hadn’t planned on. The Flyers did go out and re-sign veteran Justin Braun, but the team has put a lot of pressure on their young defense this year and it has showed so far. The team could really use a veteran, perhaps at the trade deadline, to bolster their defense if they want to make any type of run in a shortened season and in a challenging division this year.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.