With the season a couple days away, it's time for us here at BSH to make some silly predictions about the team we love the most. As such, I came up with a bunch of arbitrary numbers for a number of different Flyers-related things, sent them out to our staff, and they sent them back to me guessing whether the actual number that ends up being true in each case is over or under the given number.
And as such, the first BSH Over/Under Game was born.
The numbers (along with some additional context on each one) are below, as are our predictions. You'll see them in two parts -- today, we'll focus on 10 different individual-player marks; tomorrow, we'll look at 10 numbers that represent team-level numbers. At the end of the year, we'll check back on them and see who got the most right.
[Note: this is not the same as Brent's Guess the Flyers' Season contest, which you can find and also play in here!]
Last season, Michael Raffl scored 21 goals. Over/under on Raffl scoring 23.5 goals this season:
Al K.: OVER. Raffl has been skating on the top line all preseason, so I think it’s a safe bet to say he’s solidified his spot there. The young winger has shown nothing but positive strides since he debuted with the Flyers a couple of seasons ago, and I expect that trend to continue. Also, playing with two stud playmakers in Claude Giroux and Jake Voracek is bound to help.
Allison J.: OVER. If he manages to not lose too many games to injury and to stick on the top line spot he's grabbed, I see no reason why he shouldn't break 25 goals. I mean, he's got two of the best players in the world on his side. He also possesses a unicorn heart which will carry him through the season on angel wings.
Brent G.: UNDER. Too much line-shuffling will prevent him for getting too much time with Giroux and Vorcek. He'll still have a nice season, around 20 goals. If he starts getting top power play time, that changes the equation.
Charlie O'Connor: OVER. An elevated shooting percentage helped Raffl get to 21 goals last year, and that will probably regress. But I'm still predicting a breakout this year for Raffl, who is locked into a top line role and looks to (finally) receive PP time. Percentages go down, volume/opportunities go up.
Kelly Hinkle: OVER. Raffl was steadily improving all season last year and has had a great preseason. One assumes that if he ends up on a stable line, he'll really start knocking in the points.
Kurt R.: OVER, though I don't think this is a given, since, a) the lines will inevitably change at some point and he'll move off of Giroux/Voracek's wing, b) Raffl already did spend a pretty healthy amount of time with Giroux and Voracek last season and finished short of this, and c) his shooting percentage last year was preeeeeeetty high and may fall off. And yet, despite all that, if he sticks with the top line for an extended time and gets even second-unit PP time -- both of which seem likely to happen -- it's pretty easy to imagine him getting there.
Mary Clarke: OVER. This could be Raffl’s breakout year after a stellar preseason showing. On the top line with Giroux and Voracek, Raffl should exceed his 21 goals of last season no problem, barring any significant injury.
Ryan Gilbert: OVER. Time on power play and full-time on the Flyers' top line will push him over the hump.
Travis Hughes: OVER. Giroux won't suck at evens on home ice any more, which should be enough to get Raffl the extra two goals.
Last season, Brayden Schenn had 47 points. Over/under on B. Schenn scoring 45.5 points this year:
Al: UNDER. By all indications, Dave Hakstol has at least a problem with Brayden Schenn. He’s been given limited minutes with less than great linemates throughout preseason, so I just don’t expect him to be given the role/ice time necessary to meet this mark. Hell, he may not even be on the Flyers by the end of the season if we’re being honest.
Allison: UNDER. For some reason, I feel as though Baby Schenn is going to have a down year. I believe this will only add fuel to the fire of the vocal "Please trade all players named Schenn" faction. Hoping he proves me wrong though!
Brent: OVER. PP time plus at least some time on the first line probably gets him over 50.
Charlie: UNDER. Just a little too much uncertainty for me, as Schenn's name has been tossed around in trade rumors. I have no idea what role he's going to play this year - I'm not even sure that the coaches do.
Kelly: UNDER. I hope I'm wrong about this one, but based on what we've seen in preseason it would seem that B. Schenn is already out of favor with the new coach. He might not get the minutes he needs to put up a ton of points.
Kurt: OVER. This is probably going to depend on who his most frequent linemates are, but as long as the odd crap they've been pulling with him lineup-wise in the preseason doesn't last and as long as he keeps his spot on the top PP (which he should, IMO), I don't see him falling off from where he was last year.
Mary: OVER. It’s clear from the trade rumors that Brayden Schenn needs to show his worth in the last year of his contract. With the forward off on the wing on the second line, look for the younger Schenn brother to prove his worth and avoid the trading block in a contract year.
Ryan: OVER. He can’t get worse, can he?
Travis: UNDER. I got off the Schenn train like eight stops ago. Hope he surprises me.
Last season, Sean Couturier scored 37 points. Over/under on 42.5 points scored by Couturier this year:
Al: OVER. I know we’ve all been waiting for Couturier to "break out" offensively for a while now, but I think at the very least he’ll make positive strides this year. Couturier was completely buried with defensive zone starts under Craig Berube, and I imagine that if Dave Hakstol eases up just a bit, Couturier will easily exceed this mark.
Allison: OVER. This is gonna be the breakout year, I can just feel it. I don't think Coots is going to be as bogged down in defensive zone starts as last year, and with more offensive zone opportunity comes more offense.
Brent: OVER. Less tough minutes leads to more points. Mid-high 40s is my guess.
Charlie: OVER. Couturier showed real positive signs last year, increasing his controlled zone entry rate to a career-high 55.7%. If he's given competent linemates, expect his growth to show up on the scoresheet this year.
Kelly: OVER. Because he's awesome and not stuck in Berube's dog house anymore.
Kurt: OVER. Even if he doesn't improve at all as a player from last year ... if he plays 82 games or close to it, he can't not put up at least six more points, right? After spending so much of last season with brutal minutes and an injured Read and Umberger?
Mary: OVER. There’s hope that new head coach Dave Hakstol’s system will benefit Couturier in ways Craig Berube’s never did. Though he might start off slow after coming off an injury, Couturier will establish his offensive presence this year that will finally appease the fans.
Ryan: OVER. Last season he was playing with an injured Matt Read and an injured RJ Umberger while getting the toughest usage in the league
Last season, Scott Laughton played in 31 NHL games and scored six points. Over/under on 23.5 points scored by Scott Laughton this year:
Al: UNDER. Laughton is a bubble player on this roster, and even if he’s given a shot at NHL ice-time, he’s likely pretty low on the depth chart. Even if he ends up having a decent full year at the NHL level, he won’t be put in a place to put up big offensive numbers. However (Stephen A. Smith voice), depending on whether or not Brayden Schenn stays with the team, that could change.
Allison: UNDER. I'm not sure who Laughton's linemates will be, but if he's being dragged down by some Old Dudes, then he probably won't be racking up the points.
Brent: UNDER. I think he plays most the year in Lehigh Valley, getting seasoned with Hextall's patient approach. If he makes it out of camp I don't see him getting the minutes just yet to get more than 23 points.
Charlie: OVER. Even more uncertainty here, but it seems like the organization is heavily invested in Laughton's success this season. Plus, R.J. Umberger scored 15 points last year despite awful play. Laughton can beat that.
Kelly: UNDER. I'd like to think that Laughton would make this team at the start and see more ice than noted terrible anchor Vincent Lecavalier but ... I'm not convinced that'll be the case.
Kurt: OVER. I originally called under on this one, but I'm gonna change course here. This is essentially me betting he makes the team from the start and stays here, because he won't hit this if he spends much time at all in Lehigh Valley. But if he does stick, I could see him having a year like either of Couturier's first two NHL years, both of which were above a 24-points-per-82 pace.
Mary: UNDER. While Laughton has locked down a roster spot, the young forward will probably see most of his time on the fourth line, making it tough to hit that mark. Still, look for Laughton to get about 15 points this season, more than last year’s six.
Ryan: UNDER. If he’s on the roster he’ll be used primarily in a defensive role.
Travis: Hmmm, this is hard. I am going to go with UNDER just because I have no idea how much he'll play in the NHL this year.
Over/under on 71.5 points scored by Jakub Voracek, after putting up 81 last year:
Al: OVER. Come on.
Allison: OVER. Everyone knows Jake Voracek is incredible. He's just gonna keep getting better and better until his brilliance overshadows all of the Flyers failures. At least, that's what I'm choosing to believe.
Brent: OVER. G's shooting luck will come up a bit, meaning a few more assists. I'll take the over here, he'll get 78.
Charlie: OVER. Does the power play scoring hold up for Voracek? I see no reason why it shouldn't.
Kelly: OVER. He's money.
Kurt: OVER. Though, this is tough. Voracek's averaged 0.89 points per game over the past three seasons, which would put him at 73 for an 82-game season. I think it'll be too much for him to match what he did last season, but I doubt he drops 10 points unless he gets hurt. I'll put him right at 73.
Travis: OVER. Look at that beard.
Mary: OVER. No. 93 is a special player for the Flyers and they paid him the big bucks this offseason for a reason. Voracek easily gets the over on this for his second straight 70-plus point year.
Ryan: OVER. The team will be the same, but his linemates will be better.
[Ed. note: Apparently, the actual over/under posted in Vegas for Voracek's scoring line this year is 75.5 points, so I undershot this one a bit. You all can blame me for the uniform answers here -- though, knowing us, I'm not so sure many of these predictions would change much with that line, either.]
Last year, R.J. Umberger had 15 points (though, that's with a number of games missed). Will Umberger be over or under 27.5 points this year?
Al: UNDER. I don’t really buy that R.J. Umberger is set to have any type of rebound, if only because he’s been trending downward for years now. There really wasn’t much at all to like about his game last year, and maybe I’m a pessimist, but I don’t see that changing.
Allison: UNDER. I just don't think R.J. Umberger is going to do anything helpful ever, so I'm not holding my breath.
Brent: UNDER. He'll get more than last year (if healthy), but asking for a near-double in point production seems a bit much. I'll hedge my bets and go under.
Charlie: UNDER. Umberger has definitely looked faster in preseason than he did all of last season, but a 13 point jump? Feels overly optimistic.
Kelly: UNDER. He's the opposite of money.
Kurt: UNDER. I fully anticipate a better year for R.J., and this pace isn't even that far beyond last year's on a per-game basis. But I don't see him getting power play time quite like he did last year, and I doubt he has enough left in the tank to put up numbers at evens.
Mary: UNDER. Does Umberger last the entire season in a Flyers uniform? Hopefully not. Even so, the Umberger experiment in Philadelphia hasn’t netted many positives, and expecting him to pot over 20 points is unreasonable given what we’ve seen so far.
Ryan: LOL UNDER.
Travis: OVER. He'll be a little better. I'm optimistic.
Vincent Lecavalier played in 57 NHL games last year. Over or under on Lecavalier playing in 40.5 NHL games this year?
Al: UNDER. I don’t think Ron Hextall has any problem throwing Lecavalier in the press box for long stretches, which is encouraging given Lecavalier’s price tag (i.e. he’s not falling for the "sunk cost" fallacy). I don’t expect Lecavalier to have any type of rebound in terms of production, so he’ll be riding the pine for most of the season.
Allison: OVER. Even with injuries and healthy scratches, I still think that Vinny will manage half the season. He's kind of like a plantar wart: a little painful (though he's not going to kill you), and he's certainly not going to go away easily.
Brent: UNDER. With his injury history and age and seemingly being a fifth wheel with the forwards we got, there's too many question marks to take the over here.
Charlie: UNDER. Vinny looks just as slow and ineffective as he has throughout his time in Philadelphia. Hakstol and Hextall won't have time for it.
Kelly: OVER, but hopefully some of them will be on another team.
Kurt: UNDER. Have we heard anything about Vinny this preseason? Like, at all? While I'm sure that Ron Hextall has and will continue to attempt to trade Lecavalier, I think he's accepted that it may be a lost cause and isn't going to demand that his new coach keep the high-priced veteran in the lineup for the sake of pumping his "trade value".
Mary: UNDER. While Lecavalier has shown more speed this preseason than all of last year, I don’t think it’s going to last. While trading Lecavalier seems hopeless at this stage, there’s always room in the press box if he can’t keep the speed.
Ryan: UNDER. Either health problems or simply not being fast enough will hinder him this season.
Travis: OVER, and it will be painful.
Shayne Gostisbehere played in just two NHL games last year and then got injured, but put on another great preseason this year. Will Gostisbehere be over or under 29.5 NHL games played?
Al: UNDER. Given the amount of money invested in the blue line right now (for better or worse — definitely worse), I don’t see Gostisbehere getting much opportunity to play in the NHL. That all changes if there’s an injury, but if we’re sticking with the status quo, I’m picking the under.
Allison: UNDER. I predict the Flyers' defense staying incredibly, infuriatingly healthy.
Brent: UNDER. He'll get some NHL time as he'll be an injury call-up at some point, but not 30 games worth.
Charlie: OVER. Gostisbehere is very close to NHL-ready, and I expect him up by the end of the calendar year. The only question is whether he plays well enough to stick.
Kelly: OVER. Hextall has said the only thing holding Ghost back is his injury. Here's hoping he warms up in Allentown and is called up permanently around 1/3 of the way through the season.
Kurt: UNDER. I think Ghost gets one spot call-up, sort of like the one he did last year, and then gets some consistent time in March once he has most of a full professional year under his belt. But I don't think he hits 30 games. Certainly hoping to be wrong here, though!
Mary: UNDER. Many fans bemoaned the decision to send Gostisbehere back to the AHL, but there’s just no room on this defense for him to fit. Ghost Bear will get some NHL playing time this season as an injury call up, but he won’t be a mainstay unless pieces get moved.
Ryan: OVER. He’ll either be up after the first major injury or after the trade deadline at the latest.
Travis: Hmm. OVER. Flyers are trading somebody.
Will Evgeny Medvedev's average ice time per game be over or under 21:00? Last season, this would have been the third-highest average TOI number of any Flyers defenseman, after Mark Streit and Michael Del Zotto.
Al: OVER. Let’s face it — this defense stinks like poop. If Medvedev plays even half as good as he did in the preseason, he’ll be expected to log big minutes.
Allison: OVER. He's already one of the top three defensive options that the team has. His ranking among those three? Might be too soon to tell, but Medvedev playing good minutes feels like a safe bet to me.
Brent: OVER. I'm really bullish on Medvedev. I think he ends up as the team leader in TOI.
Charlie: OVER. Based on the preseason, Medvedev is going to get a fair amount of 5v5 ice time and PK time. His strong slapshot seems like it should earn him a role on the PP, as well. Who else are they going to give the minutes to, Andrew MacDonald?
Kelly: UNDER. Can't see him being the No. 3 guy, despite an impressive camp.
Kurt: UNDER. This probably hinges on whether or not he gets regular power play time during the season. He has in the preseason, but with the forwards all healthy in the regular season I don't know that he does.
Mary: OVER. Medvedev has shown a lot of promise in the preseason, and that will extend into the regular season. While Streit will take the brunt of the minutes this year, Medvedev should slot right in as a top d-man in lieu of losing Coburn from last year.
Ryan: OVER. The next Braydon Coburn.
Travis: OVER. He might lead them in ice time when all's said and done.
Will Michal Neuvirth play in 28.5 games this year? (This includes starts AND relief appearances.) Last season, Steve Mason played in 51 games, Ray Emery played in 31 games, and Rob Zepp played in 10.
Al: OVER. I’m a bit torn on this, mainly because I expect Steve Mason will be pretty damn good this year. Good goalies tend to get a lot of starts; however, I like the fact that Neuvirth is on the team to take some pressure of Mason. It would be hard for Neuvirth to be worse than Ray Emery, so maybe he’ll be leaned on a bit more to give Mason rest when he needs it.
Allison: OVER. Pretty clear that this is a softball. Neuvirth is an obvious upgrade over Emery, and if Hakstol has the opportunity to give Mason a bigger break and still win games, why wouldn't he?
Brent: OVER. Mason needs his rest, and hopefully Hax actually listens to him.
Charlie: OVER. Tough one. I'm sure the Flyers would like Steve Mason to play in more than 53 games, but I'm going to be pessimistic and predict that he gets banged up a few times, forcing Neuvirth to step in.
Kelly: UNDER. I think Steve Mason is going to have a hell of a season and Hakstol will ride him as much as possible.
Kurt: OVER. If Mason gets 2/3 of the starts, which would be about a 55/27 split, all it would take in that case is two relief appearances to push him over. And that doesn't even factor in a possible injury risk for Mason, who as we know dealt with that last year. Not to mention, those injuries could quite possibly have stemmed from overuse -- the team will give Neuvirth starts if they're worried about Mason's workload, which is something I think they were afraid to do last year.
Mary: OVER. There’s been some concern about Neuvirth during training camp, but the backup should be able to pull it together during the regular season. With a competent backup, the Flyers should be able to rely on Neuvirth more than they could on Emery, especially in back-to-back game situations.
Ryan: OVER. They’ll be more cautious after Mason’s health issues last season, and Neuvirth is simply better than Emery.
Travis: UNDER. I think 20-25 is where he'll be.
Feel free to make fun of our predictions in the comments below. If you'd like to try and make these same over/under picks as well, feel free to also use the comments to do that!