Earlier today, we asked our writers for answers on 10 over/under prompts relating to Flyers players’ performances this season. Here, we’ll do the same thing at more of a team-level. Enjoy, and the comments are there if you think you can do better than us.
11. Nerd stuff! Over/under 51.0 adjusted 5-on-5 Corsi-For percentage for the Flyers this season, as measured by corsica.hockey? Last season, the Flyers were at 50.56 percent in this measure. (Corsi is the percentage of all shot attempts on the ice that are taken by one team.)
Kyle: OVER. With Bellemare and VandeVelde off the team, this should only go up. Especially with the help on the blue line.
Jay: OVER. Without the dead weight of poor possession players like Boyd Gordon, Peter Bellemare and Chris VandeVelde, the Flyers will easily eclipse this mark.
Kelly: Given the Corsi numbers the first line has put up in preseason, I'm gonna go OVER.
Mike: OVER. We’ve seen it in the preseason, the Flyers are going to get more pucks to the net in 2017-18 and if they can continue to get shots through to the net like they have in the exhibition season, they’ll beat this benchmark.
Kurt: OVER. Hopefully this year they get there via fewer point shots from defensemen, but I think they’ll get there regardless.
Bill: Watch the game, computer boy. [Ed. note: Fuck you too, Bill.]
Craig: OVER. MacDonald still seeing plenty of ice time and Filppula centering the third line are concerns in this department, but the line of Giroux-Coutuier-Voracek could post a Corsi for percentage somewhere in the mid to high 50’s. Replacing Bellemare and VandeVelde with Laughton and Raffl on the fourth line should improve the team’s overall Corsi for percentage by a fair amount. Also, Filppula’s role on the third line could hurt the team’s 5-on-5 possession, but I wouldn’t count out Dale Weise and Konecny overcoming the anchor on their line to help put the trio above the 50 percent line on some nights.
12. The power play had its ups and downs last season, ending up 14th in the NHL on the year. Then the team fired Joe Mullen, brought in a new guy, and traded Brayden Schenn. Will things get better? Over/under 12.5 as the Flyers' end-of-season NHL rank in power play percentage. (IN OTHER WORDS: if you think the Flyers will finish 12th or better in the NHL in power play percentage, say OVER; if you think they will finish 13th or worse, say UNDER.)
Steph: UNDER. Brayden Schenn is a big loss, and both units have looked shaky in preseason.
Kyle: OVER. Despite their struggles in preseason, the powerplay units were starting to come alive in the final few games including the second unit which was essentially irrelevant last season. Just please move Couturier off PP 2 or change his spot on the unit.
Jay: OVER. The talent this team has for the powerplay makes no sense to be anything other than a top 5 PP team.
Kelly: I'm optimistically saying OVER. It hasn't looked great in preseason but I'm going to trust that Knobs figures it out.
Mike: OVER. Only because I think both units are better going into this season. The second unit was actually dangerous in the exhibition season and the first unit has too much skill and chemistry not to put up good numbers.
Kurt: OVER. I like Brayden Schenn and I think some people downplayed his importance on PP1, but at the same time ... that unit’s lost good players and ticked along multiple other times in the past six years. They’ll be fine. And the Patrick-led PP2 should be at least a slight improvement, I think.
Bill: OVER. I’m saying the Flyers will have a top-ten power play this year.
Craig: OVER. There isn’t an immediate replacement for Schenn, but like I said with Giroux’s point total, I think it’s more about who is doing the feeding and not the one being fed. There might be a drop off from Schenn to Filppula, but I don’t think it will be significant enough that the unit ends up in the middle of the league. Also, with a few flashes this preseason, I think the second unit might be able to chip in a few more goals than usual.
13. The penalty kill, meanwhile, finished 21st in the league last year at 79.8 percent, and it lost its two top penalty kille—sorry, couldn't finish that thought with a straight face. Anywho, how do they fare? Over/under 81.0 percent for the Flyers on the penalty kill this season. (For reference, 81 percent would have been 15th in the NHL last season.)
Steph: OVER. Imagine what they can be with real NHL players??
Kyle: OVER. Last season Bellemare was a mainstay on the PK, the upgrade in personnel alone should boost this number.
Jay: UNDER. This will be an area where the Flyers struggle at certain points throughout the season.
Kelly: UNDER. I don't think this improves much.
Mike: OVER. There is going to be some fresh blood on the PK a little this season and that is going to be a good thing. Did I mention no Chris VandeVelde? Huge plus.
Kurt: OVER. I LOVE the forward group that the Flyers will be able to roll with on the PK this year, and I think they make up for what will inevitably be some bumps in the road for a young defensive group.
Bill: PUSH. The Flyers will kill exactly 81% of their penalties in 2017-18. Take it to the bank.
Craig: OVER. Bellemare and VandeVelde are bad penalty killers, and Steve Mason might be the worst penalty-killing goalie in the league. Simmonds and Couturier did well together last season, so making them the first forward pair followed up by Laughton and Raffl seems like a huge upgrade over last year’s setup. Elliott isn’t amazing when his team is shorthanded, but he is better than Mason in that department.
14. Four rookies have made the team, two more seem pretty close to making it, and between injuries and strong/weak performances it wouldn't be too surprising to see guys move around a bit throughout the season. How much will we see of these guys this season? Over/under 4.5 rookies that play at least 41 games with the Flyers in 2017-18. (This includes Taylor Leier, who broke camp with the Flyers this week.)
Steph: OVER BECAUSE WE'RE KEEPING THEM ALL
Kyle: OVER. It's time to go full on Leafs!
Jay: OVER. Flyers will employ lots of large adult sons this season.
Kelly: OVER. I hope.
Mike: OVER. Five is a good number for this because the first couple call ups should be younger guys and that number will only grow if the Flyers are indeed out of things come spring.
Kurt: OVER. Patrick and at least two defensemen will definitely get here barring catastrophic injury, which means that two of Leier, Lindblom, and a third defensemen will need to as well. I think all three of those guys get their shots.
Bill: OVER. Why the hell not?
Craig: OVER. Patrick, Leier, Morin, and Hagg all play over 41 games. One of Sanheim or Lindblom play over 41 games this season.
15. In a truly bizarre twist of fate, the Flyers were second in the entire NHL last season in games won in a shootout. That can't last, right? Over/under 3.5 shootout wins for the Flyers this season. (The average NHL team won 3.3 shootout games last year.)
Steph: OVER. Hello have you met Nolan Patrick?
Kyle: UNDER. There's no way the Flyers get that lucky again, this is Philadelphia we're talking about.
Jay: OVER. They figured it out damnit! No one step forward, two steps back crap this season.
Kelly: This is going to depend on how Brian Elliott fares with us, but I'm going to say OVER. Why not.
Mike: OVER. Neuvirth stopped all six shootout attempts last year and Elliott went 10 of 12. Combined that’s pretty darn good and should earn the Flyers at least four or five shootout wins.
Kurt: UNDER. Come on.
Bill: OVER. Giroux, Voracek, Konecny, Weal, Simmonds, and no more Steve Mason. Everything’s coming up Flyers!
Craig: UNDER. The team may have succeeded last season, but they’re the Flyers. Losing in shootouts in a franchise pastime. It doesn’t matter who is sent out to shoot or who is in net.
16. Should we expect Ron Hextall to shake up this roster at all during the season? Over/under 1.5 NHL-level trades for the Flyers between now and the trade deadline.
Steph: OVER. Give me reason to hope, Ron. Get rid of this crap and bring me real players, Ron.
Kyle: UNDER. I expect this team to still be in playoff contention come the deadline, so if that's the case we have a good idea that Hextall won't be buying or selling.
Jay: UNDER. The Flyers contend for a playoff spot and keep the core intact.
Kelly: UNDER. I've come to believe Ron has no balls.
Mike: OVER. Hextall won’t go too crazy, but I could see three to four NHL-type trades from Hexy at some point during the season. Thanks to a stockpiling of prospects, Hextall has a lot of options as to what to do with his current (and future) assets.
Kurt: UNDER. Not because I don’t think he’s gonna try, but because I don’t really see many obviously tradeable and desirable assets on this team that it’d make sense to deal and/or deal for unless things go way, way out of control.
Bill: OVER. The Flyers will be in a race down the stretch and Hextall will finally part with some of his considerable assets to bolster the lineup.
Craig: OVER. I could easily see one trade being completed due to the volume of forwards who could play in the bottom six. Add in the fact it's possible the Flyers aren't in playoff contention or will want to add a veteran seventh defenseman if they are in playoff contention and I think it's likely we see two or more trades from Ron this year.
17. The Metropolitan Division figures to be as tough as ever this year, with basically every team but New Jersey having realistic playoff aspirations and some having much loftier goals than that. The Flyers will play 28 games against the Metro this year, four against each team. How will those games go? Over/under 14.5 wins against Metro Division teams this season.
Steph: UNDER. Things will be very bad. I think they lose all four against the Devils.
Kyle: UNDER. They'll come close, but I envision too many overtime games that will most likely end in OTL's or SOL's.
Jay: OVER. #ClutchTime
Kelly: UNDER. The division is so freaking good, and a few teams have gotten better, and I'm not confident yet that the Flyers have put together a team that can compete.
Mike: UNDER. The Flyers have struggled against the Rangers, Penguins, and Caps in recent years. They’ve also had their issues with the Canes and even Devils at times, so many Flyers wins will come elsewhere.
Kurt: OVER. I have no idea. Just beat the Devils four times, OK? I’m getting really sick of their shit.
Bill: This is really long. Where are the questions about plus-minus and fights. That’s what I’m here for. [Bless you, Bill. Honestly.]
Craig: UNDER. They split the series last year with Pittsburgh, but both wins came late in the season when a lot of the Pens’ roster was injured so that should be 3-1 or 4-0 for the Pens this year. The Hurricanes improved and the Flyers can’t win in Columbus, so I feel like that’s 4-4 at best. The one team the Flyers should sweep in the Devils always cause problems.
18. We've had a few nominees for big-time awards in recent years — most recently, Shayne Gostisbehere in the 2015-16 Calder race and Claude Giroux in the 2013-14 Hart race. Does any Flyer get themselves into awards consideration this year? Over/under 0.5 Flyers named as finalists for the Hart, Calder, Norris, Vezina, Lady Byng, or Selke awards for the 2017-18 season.
Steph: UNDER. It will be Nolan Patrick in consideration for the Calder, but Clayton Keller will win.
Kyle: OVER. Nolan for the Calder, Couturier for the Selke.
Jay: OVER. Couturier is a finalist for the Selke Trophy.
Kelly: OVER. We're going to have a Calder nom, I think.
Mike: OVER. While the Calder race is Artemi Panarin’s to lose according to most pundits, Nolan Patrick will be on a better team than Hischier and will put up more points (not goals) than the No. 1 overall pick to take home the Calder.
Kurt: UNDER. There are potential candidates for the Calder, Selke, and even the Norris on this team if you squint hard enough, but there’s just too much good talent in this league for me to expect it.
Bill: OVER. Sean Couturier will find himself in the Selke race now that he is the is on a line that can help him both dominate possession and score. He took a big step in the faceoff circle last season as well. If anybody is a Lady Byng finalist, they should be bought out immediately. Gentlemanly play? GTFOH. We're still the Bullies, dammit!
Craig: UNDER. I think Gostisbehere may be in the conversation for the Norris, Patrick will be in the conversation for Calder, and Couturier could be in the conversation for Selke, but I ultimately don’t see any Flyer up for any of these awards.
19. The point line out there for the Flyers this year started at 90.5, which would be a slight improvement from their 88 points last season. How much more confident are you than the people betting in Vegas? Over/under 92.5 points for the Flyers this season.
Kyle: OVER. Yay for optimism!
Jay: OVER. Flyers make the playoffs.
Kelly: UNDER. I want to say over, but I think the divisional games are going to kill us. We finish with 92 points, bank it.
Mike: OVER. The Flyers are going to be somewhere between 94 and 96 points this season. The offense will be better and the defense and goaltending will hold up.
Kurt: OVER. I think last year’s team was slightly better true-talent than 88 points and I think this year’s team is slightly better true-talent than last year’s team. I think they can make up at least five points there.
Bill: OVER. I’m guessing 94. Call it a hunch.
Craig: OVER. A lot of things went wrong last season, but the addition of Patrick and mobile rookie defensemen should help the Flyers win a few more games they may have lost last season. Also, if the Flyers see even average goaltending out of Elliott and Neuvirth, there should be a significant increase in their point total.
20. Finally, let's keep it simple: Over/under 0.5 Flyers playoff games at the Wells Fargo Center this spring.
Kyle: OVER. Let's get it done.
Jay: OVER. It's happening, playoff hockey will be back at The Farg.
Kelly: Two weeks ago it would've been an easy over. After seeing the final lineup decisions, I'm not so sure anymore. UNDER.
Mike: OVER. The Flyers are going to sneak into the playoffs and probably get waxed by someone in the first round. Unless it’s the Penguins, cause they’d totally upset the heck out of them again.
Kurt: OVER. I’ve answered basically every question in this series in the positive, for some reason, so at this point to say that I don’t expect this team to make it back to the playoffs would feel a little disingenuous. Plus, we’ve been alternating between “playoff year” and “non-playoff year” for six seasons now, and “playoff year” is up. Let’s do it.
Bill: OVER. The Flyers missed the playoffs from 1989-90 through 1993-94. Those are the only years in franchise history they failed to qualify for postseason play in consecutive seasons. They’ll get in, somehow.
Craig: I have to say UNDER. I think this team is one of the better teams the Flyers have iced in a while, and is better than the playoff team they iced in 2015-2016, but I think the Metro will be too much. You can point out ways the Pens and Caps have lost an edge, but they are still locks for the postseason. The Rangers are always in the mix with Lundqvist and losing Dan Girardi while adding Kevin Shattenkirk could pay off in a big way. I think the Blue Jackets take a slight step back this year, but they should still be fighting for at least a wild card spot, if not the third spot in the division. The Hurricanes have improved their goaltending enough that they should be in a playoff spot. That's the division and a wild card taken without addressing how a healthy Lightning team looks, how the Islanders look with Eberle in the lineup, and both the Senators and Sabres possibly battling for the final wild card spot. Again, I like this team, but I think, as the season starts, it looks unlikely they make the postseason (so be prepared for them to finish second in the division).