Last year, before the season started, we here at Broad Street Hockey set up a series of over/under prop bets regarding the 2015-16 Flyers season (at the individual and team level), and we all took a guess on each one. We did very poorly at this guessing! But that’s not going to stop us from trying again this year.
Below are 10 prompts that yours truly came up with, trying to see where expectations are for this coming season. Today, we’ll run 10 questions that have to do with individual players on the Flyers and what may happen with them this season; tomorrow, we’ll do the same thing with 10 team-level questions. We’ll check back in on how we’re doing mid-season, and we’ll get the final scores at the end of the year.
Feel free to play along in the comments, as well!
Claude Giroux posted 67 points in 78 games last year. Let's hope he's got a nice season in him this year. Over/under on Giroux tallying 69.5 points this season?
Al: OVER. I don't really know what to say here other than it feels like Giroux is going to at least match what he did last year. 69.5 points is no joke, even for a first liner, but I wouldn't be surprised if Giroux gets close to a point per game.
Allison: Claude Giroux has read all of Charlie’s articles and now, bolstered by cautious optimism, is going to shit all over the National Hockey League. OVER.
Andrew: OVER. A rising tide lifts all boats. Giroux may be leaving his prime productions years but he will have a stronger supporting cast this season, particularly on the defensive side with the addition of Ivan Provorov. I expect the Flyers to spend more time with the puck and attacking in the offensive zone this season, and that suits Giroux just fine.
Brent: OVER. Voracek pots a few more goals and Giroux's health is better this year than last, and with a better blue line he's have more chances to get points, especially if his defensive role is lessened with the team. He'll get 74.
Charlie: OVER. We have to be optimistic here, right? I am a bit concerned that Giroux might be at the start of his decline phase, but I'm decently confident the power play will improve this season, so the Flyers' captain should be able to squeeze enough extra points out of that in order to break 70.
Joe: OVER. Coming off a down year where both top-2 offensive forces didnt put up nearly as many points won't happen again. Less time spent on the PK and more time in the offensive zone will help see Giroux's numbers bounce back.
Kelly: OVER. There was a lot of talk about the guys who played in the World Cup being more amped up for the season after playing in the tourney, and even though Mike Babcock is a big jerk who kept G in the press box as Canada won the whole thing, I still think the experience has Claude coming in hot. I think he gets off to a strong start and keeps a steady pace through the whole season.
Kurt: Hmmmm sure why not let’s go OVER, because I think the defense will be able to get him the puck a bit more often this year and a better year from Jake should help as well. Probably will be close, though.
Kyle: OVER. Giroux says he’s motivated to bounce back after playing through injury at the end of last year. He looks it, too.
Travis: A push would be nice, but let's go with OVER. Jake Voracek bouncing back to form will give Claude at least a few more assists (if not a lot more), and I'm hopeful that he'll stay healthy even though that's not something that can possibly be predicted.
Shayne Gostisbehere's extremely good rookie year saw him tally 46 points (in 64 games). How does he do with a full season of games? Over/under on Gostisbehere collecting 48.5 points.
Al: UNDER. I'm a bit conflicted here, but I have to take the under, if only because last year Gostisbehere's point totals were buoyed by a pretty improbable and historic streak. It's not that I think he's incapable of getting back there, I'm just tempering my expectations.
Allison: UNDER. Shayne Gostisbehere is a very smart young man who understands that it’s better to lull the competition into a false sense of security during your sophomore season. Let them think they’ve figured out all your nifty tricks. It will, of course, result in mass panic in the Delaware Valley, but we have to look past this. If he does worse, maybe we won’t have to pay him as much money when we re-sign him. Silver Linings Playbook!
Andrew: OVER. I don't see the Ghost Bear's electric offensive game slowing down at all this season, especially with a full season anchoring the power play.
Brent: OVER, but not by much. Ghost's shooting percentage will be high for a defenesemen in the long-term because he takes shots closer and is more aggressive in the offensive zone than an average defenseman, but not as high as last year's. The extra games take care of the regression. I'll put him at 50.
Charlie: UNDER. Gostisbehere should have a fine season, but I do expect his shooting percentage to regress. Plus, there's always the risk of injury, especially with opponents likely targeting him more often considering his eye-opening rookie season. I'll say he comes in right around last year's point totals, just below the line.
Joe: UNDER. Sophomore slumps happen to the best of them. Taking an expanded defensive role will see Ghost put up in the ballpark of his numbers from last year.
Kelly: UNDER. Don’t get me wrong, I expect Shayne to have another excellent and exciting year. However, he went on an insane tear at the end of last season and that kind of magic is hard to find twice. I think he...man, this one is tough. If he plays a full season he might go over but … yeah. Under. Had to talk this one out, folks.
Kurt: UNDER, just because I think the shooting percentage will regress a bit. Doubt he’ll miss by much, though.
Kyle: OVER. He’s too good on the power play… and there’s a little more offensive talent on this roster for him work off of.
Travis: OVER, just because he's going to play more games.
Sean Couturier missed 18 games last year but still tied a career-high with 39 points. That would've been a 50-point pace over 82 games, so let's start there: over/under Couturier reaching 49.5 points this season?
Al: OVER. Assuming he stays healthy, I don't see why Couturier can't get here. Sure, he's usually saddled with a heavy defensive load, but it looks like he'll be centering some play-driving linemates this season, which will undoubtedly help out his offensive production.
Allison: Have you ever seen Big? With Tom Hanks? If you haven’t, you should. Along with Liar Liar (and arguably Life Size), it’s part of the greatly informative “Childhood Wish Fulfillment” film genre. The premise of Big is that a 12 year old boy makes a wish and turns into a 30 year old man. It’s kind of weird and there’s some bad stuff with a woman hitting on this 30-but-actually-12 year old which is problematic at best. Regardless, Sean Couturier reminds me of that 12 year old, because he has a boyish spirit and now is perfectly capable of smashing through his career high. Plus, he’s probably going to be playing with Professional Pre-Wish Josh Baskin Lookalike Travis Konecny. I’m saying OVER.
Andrew: OVER. Can you tell I'm brimming with optimism about this season? Couturier showed flashes of dominance last season, and the pre-season combination of Coots, Voracek, and Konecny looks like a power house line in the making.
Brent: UNDER. He'll still have a fine season, I think he'll be just short of this mark. If the PP2 unit clicks he'll have a much better chance at it, but until then I can't say over to this. I have him penciled for 48 points.
Charlie: OVER. Yup, this is finally the year for Couturier. Before last season, he never had injury issues, so he should play around a full schedule. And now that Jakub Voracek isn't joined at the hip to Giroux and Travis Konecny has moved into the bottom-six and second power play unit? Couturier's going to rack up some points.
Joe: OVER. A full season of wingers like Konecny/Voracek and not Matt Read will surely see Coots’ offensive output increase.
Kelly: OVER. I kind of think we might see some magic from Couturier this season. It felt a little like last season was just the beginning of him getting his offensive groove together and if he’s healthy this year I’m going to peg him for 56 points. Not a lot of goals but a whole bunch of assists.
Kurt: OVER. because a) it seems like he’s going to have two legitimately strong offensive wingers with him for basically the entire season, and b) I have higher expectations for the second power play unit this year.
Kyle: OVER. This is his year to shine. He’s never had the talent to work with as he does now in Voracek and Konecny. Those guys will bring the best out of him.
Travis: He has even more talent around him this year -- hi, Travis Konecny! -- so I am hopeful that he will have a bit of an offensive breakout this season. OVER.
A scalding-hot second half of the season led Brayden Schenn to a career-high 59 points in 2015-16. Over/under 52.5 points for Schenn this year? (Remember, Schenn is suspended for the first three games in 2016-17.)
Al: UNDER. Schenn definitely exceeded expectations last year, but the underlying numbers prevent me from thinking he can do it again with certainty.
Allison: UNDER. I am usually very optimistic about Brayden Schenn because I look at his face and feel immediate lightness in my heart. After serving his three game suspension, however, I think he’ll find it hard to get going, resulting in a cold streak to open the season. Who knows, though. I’m an idiot.
Andrew: OVER. I don't know if he'll be able to match his career numbers but his established niche on the top unit power play should give him plenty of opportunities to grab points.
Brent: OVER. Spending time on the first power play unit will negate any possible regression, and he'll probably pick up some assists when Jake scores a bit more often on said power play. He'll end up with 57.
Charlie: OVER. I don't expect Schenn to repeat his 2015-16 point totals, but this line factors in the likely regression. Somewhere in the 52-55 point range feels right to me.
Joe: UNDER. Konecny gonna steal all his points and powers.
Kelly: UNDER. Like Ghost, I think it’ll be hard for Schenn to recreate the hot streak he went on at the end of the season. I think he’ll approach 50 but I think Coots has a better year than Schenn this year, by a tiny margin.
Kurt: UNDER. I think a lot went right for him in the season’s final few months and it’s tough to count on all of that happening again. I think he’ll at least reach 50, though, so it should be close.
Kyle: OVER. I think it falls somewhere between 55-60 points this season.
Travis: OVER. God, I'm just realizing how optimistic I am about this team this year. This will make me cry later.
Ivan Provorov is on the Flyers! By the time this season has ended, will Provorov have averaged over or under 21:00 of total ice time per game? For some context, last year two Flyers defensemen had an average greater than this: Michael Del Zotto, at 23:24 per game, and Mark Streit, at 21:52 per game.
Al: UNDER. I really only say this because he's a rookie. Presumably, growing pains will set in and Hakstol will be forced to rely on veterans to carry a heavy load. I hope I'm wrong, though.
Allison: OVER, I think. Management, scouts, and fans alike have all raved about how reliable, responsible, and stable Provorov is. With so many questions on the blueline (will Shayne Gostisbehere regress in his second season? Will Radko Gudas kill someone in cold blood? Will Michael Del Zotto reinjure his wrist by masturbating to instagram models?), coaches will probably relish his presence and reward him with an insane amount of ice time.
Andrew: OVER. Provorov appears more than capable of handling the physical workload and the coaching staff wasn't shy about loading him with minutes in the pre-season. With Michael Del Zotto missing a significant chunk season to start, Ivan has an opportunity to cement himself in a big minutes role over the likes of Nick Schultz, Andrew MacDonald, and Brandon Manning.
Brent: UNDER. Hakstol will want to ease him into the big leagues, which means a few nights in the low-to-mid teens minutes wise. Of course, if injuries keep piling up on the blue line they'll have no choice.
Charlie: UNDER. I have high hopes for Provorov's rookie season, but I suspect he'll end the season around 3rd or 4th in 5v5 ice time per game, and around the same range in penalty kill minutes. It won't be enough to bump him over 21 minutes per game (that comes in 2017-18).
Joe: OVER. Hopefully a strong start will propel Provorov into a top spot and a Calder Trophy nomination.
Kelly: OVER. I think Provy pops into Streit’s #2 ice time spot, without question. Hakstol leaned on Provorov a lot during the preseason, presumably to see what the kid could handle, and he handled every bit of it with no problem. So I think he continues to lean on him.
Kurt: OVER. He’s got a chance to take a big role right out the gate, and he’ll probably play a bit on both special teams units. I don’t think he’ll get huge minutes because I’m guessing the Flyers are wary of him hitting a wall, but steady top-4 minutes are a reasonable expectation if he impresses the coaches.
Kyle: OVER. With these injuries, he’s a lock to be first or second on this team in time on ice.
Travis: Woof, that's a hard one. I am going to say OVER based on his preseason usage and the fact that Radko Gudas is suspended (and could very well be suspended again later), and based on Del Zotto's injury to start the year. Provorov is going to get used a lot in the early in the year and, assuming he passes that test, Hakstol will likely feel comfortable continuing to use him a lot throughout the rest of the year.
Still talking about Ivan Provorov! Will Provorov's on-ice Corsi-For percentage this season be over or under 50 percent? (We'll measure this using corsica.hockey's numbers.)
Al: OVER. Everything about Provorov's preseason seems to point to him being a capable NHL defenseman. Assuming the Flyers as a whole aren't absolute garbage in terms of possession, I think Provorov easily eclipses this number.
Allison: Oh boy. OVER? I don’t know. I hope it’s over. Depends on who he’s playing with and what their deployment looks like and a bunch of other factors, but I am hoping my son plays well, so I am going to put positive energy into the atmosphere. He’s going to be Corsi positive. Amen.
Andrew: OVER, with a disclaimer that it depends on who sticks as his regular partner through 82 games. If he's forced to carry one of the Flyers notable fancy stat boat anchors in Schultz or Amac, he may struggle to break that 50 percent mark. However, if he's complemented with a capable partner and given the previously mentioned big minutes, I think he has the skills to exceed 50% easily.
Brent: UNDER, but it won't be his fault. He'll see significant time with Schultz and/or MacDonald, which will drag down his final number. If it wasn't for that I'd take the over.
Charlie: OVER. I believe the Flyers will end up somewhere in the 51-52% Corsi For percentage range this year, and I'd hope that Provorov won't be significantly negative relative to his teammates.
Joe: OVER. I don’t know how fancy stats work.
Kelly: OVER. Ivan Provorov is good at hockey and his numbers will reflect that.
Kurt: OVER, especially if he ends up getting more minutes with the top forwards the way Ghost kind of did last year.
Kyle: UNDER. Ever so slightly, though.
Travis: OVER. Kid’s a bad ass.
We all remember Andrew MacDonald's 2015-16 season -- in the minors, then suddenly an important piece of the Flyers' blue line down the stretch. Will Andrew MacDonald play over or under 41.5 NHL games with the Flyers this year? (Perhaps not coincidentally, that's how many games he'd need to play in order to fulfill the Flyers' obligation to expose a player with NHL experience in next summer's expansion draft.)
Al: UNDER. This is perhaps a bit of wishful thinking, especially given current and sure to come injuries, but a boy can dream.
Allison: We’re really stretching the definition of the word “important” here, aren’t we? [Ed. note: Yes.] I do think he’ll play OVER 41 games because God is always testing my patience.
Andrew: OVER. He'll carve out enough of a role on the penalty kill to be Teflon MacDonald when it comes time for the coaching staff to pick between their plethora if 6th/7th d-men.
Brent: OVER. Too much faith in his training camp, too many injuries, and too much overall optimism on his overall game.
Charlie: OVER. Would like to be wrong on this one, but all reports out of Flyers camp imply that the front office and coaching staff are very happy with MacDonald and will be trying to avoid a second demotion even when the defense is fully healthy. There's a decent chance he's better than Nick Schultz anyway, so as long as only one of them is playing once the blueline is set, the Flyers can survive AMac as the No. 6.
Joe: OVER. There is no way he isn’t left exposed for the expansion draft. Isn’t the worst bottom-pairing d-man. Looked solid in the playoffs too.
Kelly: OVER. I just want him exposed in the draft oh please hockey gods
Kurt: UNDER. Once everyone is healthy and active, a number of different guys will have stints on the third pair, in the press box, and in Allentown. Unless he’s visibly and undeniably good right out the gate, he’ll be part of that rotation by November, I think.
Kyle: OVER. Disregard fan opinion, the team likes what he brings on the ice between his versatility on special teams and professionalism. He’ll stick around.
Travis: He will be in Philadelphia for most of the season, if not all of it. OVER.
Will Steve Mason play in over or under 49.5 games this year? Note that this includes starts AND relief appearances. Last year, in the regular season, Mason played in 54 games.
Al: OVER. Neuvirth had a pretty damn good season last year, but I'm not entirely convinced he repeats that. With Mason the presumed 1A heading into the season coupled with the fact that he's put up good numbers over multiple seasons now, I don't see why he wouldn't get the bulk of play time.
Allison: I’m going to say UNDER because I believe Neuvirth is going to continue his play from last season and have a stand-out year, making it hard on coaching staff to give Mason the clear bulk of starts. That said, the tandem will be the biggest strength of the team, and Mason and Neuvirth will spend their free time baking brownies together and gabbing about How To Get Away With Murder the way best friends do.
Andrew: UNDER. Mason has deal with spats of injuries over the last few seasons and I think those issues may crop up again. Plus the Flyers have a unique opportunity to split the season workload a very, very good backup in Michael Neuvirth.
Brent: OVER. He's got a kid to impress now. He'll have a similar work load as last year.
Charlie: UNDER. I fully trust Mason as a goalie, but the combination of increased competition from Neuvirth and Mason's propensity to get banged up makes it tough to pick the over here. Under 50 games just seems safer.
Joe: UNDER. Neuvirth, barring injury (which is very possible), has a huge chance to steal the show this season.
Kelly: OVER. Big Daddy Mase is the man. Barring injury he’s going to carry this team.
Kurt: OVER. I know the net is being looked at as a time-share right now, but I think one goalie will end up with the majority of the starts, and I think Mason’s the better goalie of the two, so let’s guess that it’s him.
Kyle: OVER. Why? Dad strength.
Travis: UNDER. He gets hurt. Typing that makes me sad.
Wayne Simmonds is one of the NHL's best power-play scorers, averaging 13.2 power play goals per 82 games during his Flyers career. Over or under Wayne Simmonds tallying 13.5 power play goals this season?
Al: OVER. Because Wayne Simmonds rules.
Allison: OVER. He’s a fuckin’ monster.
Andrew: UNDER. But he makes up for it with an increase in assists and even strength production.
Brent: OVER. A full year with Ghost at the point, who will be a year older and (in theory) a year better, gets him over the number. Chalk him up for 15.
Charlie: UNDER. I'll guess that he comes up just short this year, as the Flyers place an emphasis upon getting Jakub Voracek back involved on the power play. Jake takes a few of Simmonds' goals, but the Wayne Train is still his usual dominant self in front of the net.
Joe: OVER. Wayne Train has been trending up statistically speaking. He is primed to score over 35 goals for the first time in his career.
Kelly: OVER. Big Sam recently wrote a piece for the Inquirer about how Simmonds has quietly become one of the league’s elite forwards. I think Wayne puts away at least 15 from his office this season.
Kurt: Hmmm. OVER. Sure, why not. PP1 should be fine this year and as long as it’s at least fine Wayne will get his.
Kyle: UNDER. There’s going to be some more help on the PP that should see the wealth spread around. Voracek and Streit should contribute more and that second unit should be able to produce more than they did a year ago with Konecny and Provorov possibly manning that group.
Travis: OVER. It's an above-average year for everybody on the power play this year.
The Flyers have a few young defensemen that we're still waiting to see make their NHL debut. Over or under on Travis Sanheim and Samuel Morin having played in 0.5 NHL games combined by January 1, 2017? (In other words, "over" if you think either of them will make their NHL debut before January 1, "under" if you do not.)
Al: OVER. Let's face it -- this defense is going to be dealing with some injuries sooner rather than later. Given indications from the coaching staff, I wouldn't be surprised if we saw a few games from Morin and even Sanheim before the year is over.
Allison: If someone’s getting called up on the blueline, I believe it’ll be Morin. Management and coaching both seem pleased with him, so in the event that they need a d-man, he’ll be up. OVER.
Andrew: UNDER. Both Sanheim and Morin need more time to refine their games in the AHL.
Brent: OVER, and demonstratively so. Either they'll be another injury or performance reasons will earn one of these guys a crack at the bigs. Once they are there, they'll stick around. This team's gonna be fun in a few years, isn't it?
Charlie: UNDER. I don't believe Sanheim is going to get a Gostisbehere-esque call-up, so this question really comes down to Morin. The 21-year old prospect should get his shot this season, but I suspect Hextall will want to see multiple months of strong AHL play before granting him a shot with the Flyers, and the big club's injury luck is going to turn soon, right? Right?
Joe: OVER. Expecting to see Morin be one of the first called up in case of an injury.
Kelly: OVER. I expect one, not both, to make an appearance before the new year.
Kurt: UNDER. I know there’s talk of Morin being close-to-ready but I think they’ll let him get some AHL time this year. Sanheim seems like an option for an early call-up if he just blows the doors off of the AHL from the start, which I think he might, but it’s tough to count on.
Kyle: OVER. I think Morin will get called up if an injury strikes during the season. On his way out, the Flyers brass talked him up. I think he’ll be the first one called.
Travis: OVER. One of them might get a call up but I don't think both will.