Continuing a now-yearly tradition here at Broad Street Hockey, we’ll begin the season by positing 20 different over/under prop bets regarding this coming Flyers season, and asking our writers how they expect those particular lines to shake out.
Last year — our second time around on the exercise — we made our guesses on 10 different individual and team-level props, and at the end of the year basically found out that we don’t know jack. This time around, we’re expecting a similar end-result, but that doesn’t mean we’re not going to try and do better. As such, below are our 10 individual lines; a bit later today, we’ll roll out the 10 team lines.
Feel free to make your own guesses in the comments, as well. Otherwise, enjoy!
1. Last season, Claude Giroux tallied 58 points while playing in every game for the Flyers. Over/under 62.5 points for Giroux this season.
Steph: OVER. This is the year! Expect great things from Claude Giroux.
Kyle: OVER. Last season G shot at a career low at 7%, a return to normalcy somewhere around 9.5 or higher should equal a bounce back season for the captain.
Jay: OVER. This is the season Giroux springs back to relevancy among the top offensive forwards in the Eastern Conference.
Kelly: OVER. Claude Giroux was not himself last season. He's going to bounce back in a big way this season and 65 points feels like the lowest to expect from the captain.
Mike: OVER. Coming off a “down” year, I look for the captain to play with a chip on his shoulder and regain his close to point-per-game form.
Kurt: OVER. I worry about us all cursing Giroux a bit here, the same way we did last year when we all took the over on his point line, but unless the top PP totally falls apart this season he should bounce back a bit this year just by percentages. Only a meaningful injury keeps him off that mark, I think.
Bill: OVER. The move to wing could benefit Giroux, allowing him more space to make plays and distribute from the outside, while Sean Couturier does a bit of the dirty work that may have contributed to Giroux’s wear and tear over the last couple of seasons. I could see the captain getting into the 66-point range.
Craig: OVER, but not by much. I think he’ll show he’s past the injury concerns from the last few seasons and will benefit from playing the wing with Sean Couturier and Jakub Voracek. I think the new found depth of this team also helps. Slightly hesitant to say he’ll easily clear 62.5 points because of the power play. Those points for Giroux are more about him feeding the slot rather than who is being fed in the slot, but the lack of an obvious solution for Schenn’s role on the first power play is a slight cause of concern.
2. Travis Konecny collected 28 points in 70 games as a rookie. What's this year got in store for him? Over/under 41.5 points for Konecny in 2017-18.
Steph: UNDER. This is not a slight on Teeks, have you see who they are playing him with?
Kyle: OVER. I said over here but it really all depends on if he feels the wrath of Dave Hakstol for a second consecutive season.
Jay: UNDER. The sophomore slump doesn't hit all 2nd year players, but Konecny will feel the pressure and will fall just shy of 40 points.
Kelly: Right now, I have to say UNDER. I'm not sure what TK did to offend Dave Hakstol's sensibilities but woof, that third line. Going to be tough for Konecny to score while he's dragging two anchors.
Mike: OVER. In case you haven’t seen any preseason action TK11 has been all over the place making plays. Put him down for a 25-goal season.
Kurt: OVER. We’re going to freak out about the line he’s on now and then they’re going to move him to a different one in two weeks and he’ll keep playing great. Konecny had kind of become the forgotten man as Patrick and Lindblom dominated the discussion of this offseason — I don’t think he’ll be forgotten for much longer.
Bill: OVER. Konecny draws a bad assignment to start the year at even strength opposite Dale Weise. But being able to play give-and-go with Valterri Filppula and the improvement of the second power play unit should help Konecny enter and exceed the half-a-point per game plateau.
Craig: OVER. I think he’ll benefit from playing with more skilled players when on the top two lines or feasting on lesser competition if he is slotted on the third line. I also think the second power-play unit may score some goals this year and he’ll have a part in that.
3. Is this finally Sean Couturier's year to top that elusive 40-point mark? Let's aim a little higher, but just a little: over/under on Couturier tallying 44.5 points this season.
Steph: OVER. If you're playing next to Claude Giroux and Jake Voracek, you better have 40+ points
Kyle: OVER. I'll go one step higher, if Couturier stays with Giroux and Voracek the entire season, he breaks 50 points. Making him a "true 2nd line center"
Jay: OVER. Book it, regardless if he is centering Giroux/Voracek or some other combination of forwards, our little Cooter will put up over 50 points this season.
Kelly: OVER. That first line is fun as hell and the potential for Coots to get a crap ton of assists is super high.
Mike: OVER. He’d be over this easily if he could bury any one of the countless breakaways he’ll whiff on this season. But seriously playing with Claude Giroux and Jake Voracek will help tremendously (if he stays with them).
Kurt: OVER. This is basically just asking if he can keep up what he did in the last two seasons and not get injured. He can do that, right?
Bill: OVER. Couturier is going to benefit from the best line mates he’s had over his tenure with the Flyers, beginning the season between Giroux and Jake Voracek. Couturier has scored at a 46-point pace over the last two seasons, but has missed significant time with injuries. Health and an improved surrounding cast on the second power play unit should contribute to the long-awaited break out season for No. 14.
Craig: UNDER. I love Sean Couturier. I really do. However, what would Flyers’ fans argue about if Couturier was the team’s best play-driver and penalty killer, the team’s strongest player on the puck, AND also averaged 0.5 points per game? I don’t know. I feel like God doesn’t want us to be that bored, so Couturier will most likely put up 40 points in 82 games so he’s not technically a 0.5 point-per-game player and that can be thrown into any argument against him.
4. Jordan Weal came out of nowhere to be one of the Flyers' best forwards in the final two months of the 2016-17 season. He tallied eight goals and three assists in 23 games last year. Over/under 19.5 goals for Jordan Weal this season?
Steph: UNDER. I would be thrilled to be wrong.
Kyle: UNDER. As much as I love Weal, I just can't see him scoring many goals on a line with Patrick and Simmonds. Plenty of assists though.
Jay: OVER. Last season was no fluke for Weal, as some players just take longer to figure it out and/or get their chance to prove themselves.
Kelly: OVER. I think now that he's finally being given a chance he's going to light it up.
Mike: UNDER: Not really sure why fans and some select media think of Weal as a “core” player, but he’s easily replaceable and won’t come close to 20 goals.
Kurt: OVER. Because, I mean ... some forward has to score goals at 5-on-5 on this team, right? I’d love to see him get a shot with Giroux later in the season.
Bill: UNDER. It pains me to say Weal won’t break 20 goals, but playing with a net-front presence like Wayne Simmonds, he has an opportunity to rack up a few more assists than last season. Even with time on the second power play unit, there are only so many goals to go around. 17-19 seems like a realistic total for Weal.
Craig: UNDER. He shot 16.3 percent for a quarter of a season. He also got top-line minutes last year with Giroux and Wayne Simmonds. I think he’ll benefit from playing a full season, but I also think his shooting percentage regresses to the league norm, which I think will leave him in the range of 15 to 18 goals.
5. Nolan Patrick is on the Flyers. (In case you didn't hear, the Flyers went from 13 to 2 in the lottery and drafted Patrick.) What should we expect from him? Over/under 37.5 points for Nolan Patrick this season?
Steph: UNDER. And that's ok.
Kyle: OVER. Considering Patrick's commitment to defense along with offense, we shouldn't expect to see him Hak'd this season, and that's the only way I see him not reaching this point plateau.
Jay: UNDER. It pained me to even write that, but even the most talented of prospects struggle to learn and adjust to the NHL game.
Kelly: I'm going UNDER. But not by much. I'm thinking 35 points.
Mike: OVER. By midseason this kid is going to have things figured out and finish with a strong stretch run to give him a comfortable 45+ points. He’s just too skilled and his hockey IQ is too high for him not to be a high-impact rookie.
Kurt: OVER. Oh god I’m getting so optimistic someone help me this is just going to end in pain. But unless Patrick suffers an injury or hits a big-time rookie wall a year after playing in just 33 games, I think he’ll get here.
Bill: OVER. I can see Patrick being right around the 40-point range. He’s currently slotted as the second line center between Weal and Simmonds, two guys who have shown they can take advantage of a smooth playmaker of Patrick’s caliber.
Craig: OVER. Patrick looked good in the preseason and he was just utilizing his on-ice vision. He hasn’t benefitted from his heavy shot yet. I also think he’ll spend almost the entire season in the top six and will be most likely looking to set up the team’s leading goal scorer in Simmonds or be set up to score by either Giroux or Voracek.
6. Michal Neuvirth has played in 32 and 28 regular-season games in his two seasons with the Flyers. What kind of a share does he get alongside Brian Elliott? Over/under 35.5 games played (starts AND relief appearances) for Neuvirth.
Steph: UNDER. Michal Neuvirth has only played over 35 games a season twice in his NHL career, and they were both before the last lockout. I don't see this happening again right now, or ever.
Kyle: UNDER. I think he comes close, but the injuries will hurt his chances yet again.
Jay: UNDER. Brian Elliott establishes himself early that he is the clear superior goaltender.
Kelly: lol UNDER because of course
Mike: OVER. Before long the Flyers will find out that Brian Elliott STINKS and will have to go with Neuvy. However, Neuvirth is the better goalie anyways and can have a productive season if he can stay healthy (though that’s a big if).
Kurt: OVER. The Flyers seem intent on splitting their goalies’ time, and if last season was any indication they’ll do it no matter how well a given guy is actually playing, so yeah, I could see Neuvirth ending up a little higher in terms of starts and games than he has been in recent years. Health is obviously the big assumption there, but sometimes injury-prone guys just stay healthy by accident, y’know?
Bill: UNDER. Neuvirth hasn’t topped 29 starts in either of his seasons as a Flyer, and hasn’t exactly been a workhorse throughout his career. He has already missed time in the preseason and it’s tough to expect his health/luck to turnaround as he approaches 30.
Craig: UNDER. Neuvirth will play in at least 30 games this year. I think Elliott is the guy and will get 45 starts. I also think Alex Lyon will be getting some action this year, as Neuvirth is guaranteed to be injured at least once during this season.
7. Still talking about Michal Neuvirth! Neuvirth had a brutal year on the ice last year, posting a .891 save percentage. What's he going to bounce back to? Over/under .909 save percentage for Neuvirth this season.
Steph: OVER. For the sake of my sanity and that shiny new contract he didn't earn.
Kyle: OVER. The upgrades on defense should help Neuvirth stay in the .910's...or at least that's what I'll keep telling myself.
Jay: OVER. Settling back into a true backup role, Neuvy will perform to a decent SV%, but to nothing that would supplant Elliott as the true starter.
Kelly: I’m saying OVER because oh my god, if it's under it is going to be a very painful year.
Mike: OVER. I’m all-in on Neuvirth. BUY, BUY, BUY! He was bad last year (.891 SV%, 2.82 GAA) but he’s much better than that is his career (.911 SV%, 2.68 GAA) and is just a year removed from a stellar year for these same Flyers (.924 SV%, 2.27 GAA).
Kurt: UNDER, because we’re from Philadelphia and we should not really ever expect good things to happen to our goalies. He’ll still be better than last year, though.
Bill: OVER. While he won’t shoulder much of the workload, I can see Neuvirth bouncing back to the .915 he’d posted over the previous six seasons.
Craig: OVER. I have no rhyme or reason to this one, just don’t think it could get any worse for Neuvirth and think we’ll see more of his play from the 2015-16 season.
8. You may not have heard about this, but the Flyers have some defensive prospects that will be playing in the NHL this year! Two of them will be starting the season with the team, and one more figures to be making his mark before too long. How long until they're all here? Over/under 194.5 COMBINED games played by Flyers rookie defensemen this season. (That’s an average of 65 games for three rookie defensemen, basically.)
Steph: OVER. THE DREAM ISN'T DEAD THEY'RE KEEPING MORIN AND SANHEIM LET'S ROLL.
Kyle: OVER. I can't imagine it taking Ron Hextall and co. very long to realize Sanheim needs to be up sooner rather than later; barring injuries, I think all three play at least 65 games.
Jay: OVER. Not only will these two rookies log significant ice-time, the defensemen called up as injury replacements will likely be rookies as well.
Kelly: I'm saying UNDER despite hoping for the over, because I have zero confidence in the front office at the moment.
Mike: OVER. My brain isn’t equipped to handle this kind of complex math but the kids on defense are good. They’re just good and they’re gonna force their way into the lineup.
Kurt: OVER. 65 games this year on average between Morin, Hagg, and Sanheim seems like a reasonable expectation. Guys will miss games, guys will get rest and/or occasional Learning Scratches, but I think Sanheim will be back up before too long and they’ll all be at it.
Bill: UNDER. Hakstol and Hextall have broken me.
Craig: UNDER. If Morin and Hagg played all 82 games, that’s 164 games. Factor in possible injuries and Dave Hakstol benching both of them at some point this season because reasons, that realistically puts them around 145 combined. That means 50 games from Travis Sanheim, who will be sent down to the AHL at some point soon and there doesn’t seem to be a guarantee of when he’ll be called back up.
9. Ivan Provorov quickly emerged as the Flyers' top defenseman last year, ending the season right around 22 minutes per game played. Does he see even more responsibility come his way this season? Over/under 23:00 of all-situations ice time per game for Ivan Provorov.
Steph: OVER. All the rookies are going to necessitate more time by the top pair
Kyle: OVER. Even with my excitement of the rookie d-men, I think Provorov will be leaned on heavily to lead the way on the blue line.
Jay: OVER. By the end of the season, Provy is the #1 defenseman on the Flyers.
Kelly: OVER. Russian machine never breaks.
Mike: OVER. He’s not even 21 yet, he’s the best defenseman on the team and the scary part is he’s only going to get better. Count on coach Hakstol riding No. 9 a lot this season.
Kurt: OVER. He goooooood. And if the rookies can prove they deserve more time, my guess is that those minutes will come at the expense of Gudas and MacDonald, not Provorov.
Bill: OVER. Provorov saw nearly 23 minutes a game from February on last season, and topped 23 minutes 15 times in the final 31 games of the year. I don’t know how much playing time Hakstol will entrust the rookie defensemen with, especially early, and I can see a lot of that burden falling on Provorov.
Craig: OVER. With two rookies on the blue line and the expectation he will still be on the ‘top’ pairing with Andrew MacDonald, he should easily clear 23:00 ice time per game.
10. Oskar Lindblom DID NOT make the Flyers. He'll probably be up at some point this season. But when, and what will he do when he's there? Over/under 24.5 NHL points for Lindblom this season.
Steph: UNDER. I have nothing more to say on this matter.
Kyle: OVER. Just like Sanheim, I don't think it will take long for Lindblom to reach the NHL and when he does, he should see time in the top 6 and PP 1.
Jay: UNDER. I don't see Lindblom getting any kind of significant time with the Flyers this season.
Kelly: We'll see him in December, and he'll prove he should've been here all year. OVER.
Mike: UNDER. Someone will get hurt and probably create a spot for Lindblom sooner rather than later, but unless that’s a top-six role like the Flyers seem to want to get him into…can’t see him topping 25 points.
Kurt: OVER. I could very much see a rookie-year-Ghost-like scenario here in which he’s called up early on in the year, either due to a top-9 injury or some general offensive ineffectiveness, and while I’m not expecting him to take the league by storm like Ghost did I think he’ll do juuuuuust enough to clear this bar.
Bill: UNDER. Claude Giroux earned a promotion after Christmas of his rookie season, and ended the year with 27 points in 42 games on a team that scored a ton of goals. I see a similar path for Lindblom, but those results would be stunning. Twenty points seems like a more realistic (although still optimistic) measure, especially if he ends up playing fewer than 50 games.
Craig: UNDER. He's starting the season in the Lehigh Valley and if Nolan Patrick (who the Flyers drafted 2nd overall after jumping up from 13th overall) is projected 'to do well' and net around 35-40 points, I feel like 25 points for Lindblom on an abbreviated season isn't too likely. Especially when Konecny had a strong rookie season and put up 28 points in 70 games.