Here at Broad Street Hockey, we love to make ridiculous predictions at the start of the season so that our readership can have endless material that they can use to prove that we have no idea what we're talking about. To that end, the great Kurt R. created the Over/Under game, where we use our vast hockey knowledge to guess whether the Flyers and their players would exceed certain arbitrary statistics during the upcoming season.
With 47 games now in the books, it's a good time to look back and see how good (and bad) we're doing so far. The original posts can be found here and here, but we'll provide a breakdown of each writer's answer in this post. Then, we'll check to see whose predictions are looking most prophetic so far. In the end, there can be only one.
1. Last season, Michael Raffl scored 21 goals. Over/under on Raffl scoring 23.5 goals this season:
Current Total: 6 goals
Current Pace: 10 goals
This one is obviously not looking great. Raffl fell victim to the team-wide scoring slump at the start of the year, posting only one goal in the first two months of the season. He's produced more recently, but expecting Raffl to reach 21 goals seems a pipedream at this point. The good news is, his struggles this season should serve to deflate his contractual demands, if the Flyers decide they want to re-sign him. Score one for Brent here.
2. Last season, Brayden Schenn had 47 points. Over/under on B. Schenn scoring 45.5 points this year:
Current Total: 25 points
Current Pace: 46.2 points
Right now, Schenn is on pace to barely win it for the "Over" side, but this looks like one that will go down to the wire. The forward is certainly trending in the right direction (11 points in 11 January games), but he's been known to go on stretches of invisibility as well. I don't think anyone feels comfortable predicting this outcome, one way or the other.
3. Last season, Sean Couturier scored 37 points. Over/under on 42.5 points scored by Couturier this year:
Current Total: 22 points
Current Pace: 42.2 points
If not for Couturier's injury issues, this would be looking like a slam dunk. The Flyers' young center has taken a big step forward this season, but he has also missed nine games due to assorted ailments. If he comes back after the All-Star break and continues his stellar play from December and January, 43 points should be a breeze.
4. 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:
Current Total: 12 points
Current Pace: 20.9 points
Another one that is looking like a toss-up. Laughton's a bit behind the projected pace, but he has looked more confident offensively in recent weeks and doesn't appear to be in danger of getting sent back to Lehigh Valley.
5. Over/under on 71.5 points scored by Jakub Voracek, after putting up 81 last year:
Current Total: 36 points
Current Pace: 62.8 points
Voracek's far behind the 71.5 over/under mark, but with the way his scoring has trended recently (21 points in his last 18 games), he still has a real shot at achieving the over. Consider this one a work-in-progress.
6. 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?
Current Total: 6 points
Current Pace: 12.6 points
There's been enough ink spilled about Umberger's struggles. Suffice to say, 28 points appears an insurmountable hill for him to climb at this stage of his career.
7. Vincent Lecavalier played in 57 NHL games last year. Over or under on Lecavalier playing in 40.5 NHL games this year?
Current Total: 17 games
Current Pace: 50 games
This one doesn't seem fair. Lecavalier had virtually no chance of reaching the 41-game mark with Philadelphia, but Ron Hextall's wizardry gave him new life in Los Angeles, where he's somehow established himself as a lineup mainstay. 50 games isn't a certainty, as he remains an injury risk at age 35, but he's got a pretty darn good shot.
8. 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?
Current Total: 29 games
Current Pace: 64 games
Gostisbehere's next NHL game will ensure that the 'Over' bet wins. I think he's got a good shot.
9. 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.
Current Average: 19:14 minutes per game
The emergence of Radko Gudas has really hurt Medvedev here. In addition, Medvedev has struggled to earn the trust of his coach, resulting in numerous healthy scratchings. Barring the type of role increase that Michael Del Zotto saw in the second half of 2014-15, Medvedev will likely fall short of this one.
10. 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.
Current Total: 21 games
Current Pace: 36.6 games
Neuvirth leads the entire NHL in save percentage. It's a solid bet that he receives nine more starts the rest of the way.
11. Fancystats! Last season, the Flyers' score-adjusted Fenwick (via war-on-ice.com) was 48.6 percent. Will they be over or under that number this year?
Current Pace: 48.2%
The Flyers are a bit under Kurt's over/under projection, but they're certainly trending in the right direction after a terrible stretch in late October and early November. Right now, Kurt looks smart (unfortunately) [Ed. note: it doesn't happen often!], but we'll see if he's still sitting pretty in April.
12. Slightly less fancy stats! After tallying the third-best power play in the NHL last year, with a 23.4% conversion rate, will the Flyers' PP this year convert on over or under 23.0% of its chances?
Current Pace: 17.4%
Philadelphia has been rapidly rising the power play efficiency charts over the past two weeks (up to 21st), but their poor start will make it very difficult to reach 23.0%.
13. The penalty kill, meanwhile, was bad (not good) last year. At 77.1%, it was the fourth-worst in the NHL. Last year, the NHL's 15th-best penalty-killing team (in other words, roughly NHL-average) killed off 81.0% of its penalties. Will the Flyers be over or under that mark?
Current Pace: 78.0%
For all of their first-half struggles on the penalty kill, the Flyers are still well within striking distance of 81.0%. Their shot suppression statistics remain decent, but it's hard to be impressed with their shorthanded units via the eye test. This will most likely be a tough over to hit.
14. As a team, will the Flyers' save percentage this year be over or under .915? This includes any possible goalies forced into action, not just Steve Mason and Michal Neuvirth. For reference, though, [in 2014-15] Mason [.928] and Neuvirth [.912] would have combined for a .921 on 2,557 total shots against.
Current Pace: 0.919
Any regression from Neuvirth in the second half will likely be counteracted by an improvement from Steve Mason while shorthanded. This over is looking pretty solid, considering the stellar goaltending that Philadelphia has received this year, especially at even strength.
15. As we well know by now, the Flyers, despite not being very good for a few years now, are near-incapable of losing to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Last season, the Flyers got eight out of eight possible points in games against their cross-state rivals. This year, will the Flyers pick up over or under 4.5 standings points across their four games against the Penguins?
Current Points Earned: 0 out of a possible 2
They'll need to go 2-0-1 in their final three games against the Penguins to earn the over here. Not impossible, but pretty difficult.
16. Will Flyers players be handed over or under 3.5 games' worth of suspensions by the Department of Player Safety this year? Last year they had eight, all of course belonging to the since-departed Zac Rinaldo. The average NHL team, meanwhile, had 2.7 games' worth of suspensions given to them.
Current Games: 3
Radko Gudas's three-game suspension puts the 'Over' well within reach. All the Flyers need to do is get one more suspension, regardless of duration. Do you really think that they aren't capable of that?
17. 3-on-3 play is new and fun this year! Will the Flyers' winning percentage in games that end in 3-on-3 play (i.e. after regulation but before the shootout) be over or under 48 percent?
Current Winning Percentage: 0.666
The addition of Shayne Gostisbehere has helped to turn the Flyers into a 3-on-3 juggernaut. Death to the shootout!
18. The Flyers began this week with eight defensemen on the NHL roster -- Streit, Schultz, Del Zotto, Medvedev, MacDonald, L. Schenn, Gudas, and Manning. By the time 3:00 p.m. on February 29 -- the trade deadline -- has come and gone, will over or under 1.5 of those eight defensemen have been traded?
Defensemen Traded: 1
The over bet is looking pretty good here, as Luke Schenn is already gone. Still, Hextall will have to move one more defenseman. Medvedev, Schultz, Streit, Manning and even MacDonald (if only) remain candidates.
19. More trade speculation! As you may or may not know, the Flyers have two players with the last name of "Schenn" on their roster. (Sources tell me that the two of them may actually be related to one another. Wow.) Over or under 1.5 Schenns still being on the roster after the trade deadline has passed?
Schenns remaining: 1
The unders have it, as Luke Schenn is enjoying his new life in sunny Los Angeles.
20. Finally! Good old fashioned wins and losses. After they won 33 games last year, Vegas' line for Flyers wins this year is 37.5 -- will they end up over or under that number?
Current Total: 21 games
Current Pace: 36.6 games
Here's another one that will come down to the wire. The Flyers are just barely behind the necessary pace to earn 38 wins, so it will only take a slight second half improvement to get them there.