The Flyers nearly entered the quarter pole position of the season and provided a large enough production to study and comment on. Nothing is set in stone at this point, but there are a few observations that do come back and will define teams at season’s end.
The 2022 Flyer Edition is easier to watch and enjoy
With 7 victories so far, the team has surpassed last season’s 25 wins, but after a good start, the team suffered a 10-game winning streak and fell to the bottom of the standings. But even through this difficult period, the team still put in a good effort most nights.
The fact that the team was able to steal the game with hard work and a great goalie was exciting. Something was missing from the Flyers last season, perhaps a style of play or a plan, that made the idea of a comeback impossible. This year is different. This team seems to need only a few rests to be victorious.
Flyers need to be close to perfect every night
In order for this team to be competitive, it requires the team to commit to their strategy and the best effort of each player and have the team play very close to their best. The strategy looks a lot like the Flyers strategy of the mid-eighties, with top talents Hayes and TK handling the scoring while the rest of the team pins opponents down and pre-checks them for submission. This backwards approach can be interesting.If the scorer fails to score, or the forward fails to tip the ice, this team will struggle to win
This team doesn’t have much offense, which makes mistakes hard to overcome. One bad error, one bad goal, one missed penalty can and will cost this team. It’s hard to be that perfect.
But there were also some nights when it all came together, and to Tortorella’s credit, it seemed like most nights the team was playing at their best, which was a nice change of culture. This team looks like it’s trying.
Goalkeeping has been a bright spot
Even in their recent struggles, Flyers golaies are better than solid. Most nights, Hart looked like he could be an All-Star. He faced the third-most field goal attempts in the league and had the third-highest hazard save percentage. If Hart hasn’t been elite this season, he’s come close.
Felix Sandstrom has settled into the bench role and the numbers suggest he’s done pretty well. Watching Sandstrom makes one wonder how much better he’s going to be. He’s big, athletic and has incredible speed. He made some absolutely incredible saves and he just beat the shooter. Many of the goals he scored were bizarrely unlucky deflections (I think Justin Braun had 2 himself). Sandstrom looks like he has a chance to be a great NHL goalie.