For the past few seasons here at BSH, right before the season’s begun, we’ve taken part in what we call the Flyers Over/Under game, wherein we set a number of lines pertaining to the season and ask our fearless contributors to make decisions on them.
Sneaking in right under the wire, here are our over/under predictions for this coming season, which is set to begin tonight. The first batch, found in this post, will focus primarily on individual players; the second one, out in a couple of hours, will look mostly at team-level measures. Enjoy.
1. Claude Giroux, as we know, was simply incredible last season, posting 102 points and ... hang on, I’m reading here that he wasn’t a finalist for the Hart Trophy? That seems like nonsense. In any case, most are expecting a little bit of fallback from Giroux this year — but how much? Over-under 87.5 points for Claude Giroux this season.
Kurt: UNDER, but not by much. Giroux will probably not score quite as much as last year — that shooting percentage seems ripe for some regression — but somewhere around the point-per-game range seems reasonable. If he’s above this I’ll be quite content.
Kelly: UNDER. He’s going to have a great year, but we can’t expect what we saw last year. Let’s manage expectations here.
Brad: OVER. Funnily enough before I even saw what the over-under number would be I was thinking 89. So, I guess i’m going with over - but barely! Giroux was clearly on another level last season, and he looked like that same guy in the preseason.
Steve: OVER. Oh captain my captain! This may just be me being too optimistic and loving Giroux too much, but I think as long as Claude stays on the wing this year and (knocks on every damn piece of wood in existence) stays healthy, he can replicate his success from last season.
Jake: UNDER. I still believe Giroux can be at or near a PPG, I’m just not sure it’s going to be over a PPG this season. He looks as determined as ever to have a great year, I’m not doubting that one bit. I’m just not sure it’s going to result in a nearly 90 point year.
Jay: OVER. I think last year I predicted the over for “The Captain”, stating that last season be a return to form. While he may not approach the 100-point plateau, he will certainly eclipse 90 points again.
Craig: UNDER. He set career highs in goals and assists last year while shooting 17.6 percent. I think he gets around 25 goals and 60 assists, so he’ll just barely miss the mark. Still over a point-per-game player.
Steph: OVER. I think Giroux has a lot to fight for this year, with the Hart snub. I don’t think he’ll reach the 100 point mark, but I think around 90 is what we can expect. He didn’t slow down at all towards the end of the season, we all saw his hatty against Lundqvist.
Mike: UNDER. About 80 points seems right for Giroux given the ridiculously unsustainable shooting percentage a year ago and a deeper second power play and forward group that will suck a few points away from the captain.
Kyle: UNDER. I think he’ll be right on the cusp but just barely miss that point total. With the addition of James van Riemsdyk to boot, there might just be too many points to go around for the captain to get the over here.
Paul: OVER. Giroux was given the freedom to exercise his creativity and play-making ability last season to its full extent for the first time since his rookie season. Playing on the wing relieved him of the defensive responsibilities that comes with playing the center position, so I believe this season will be much the same. Coupled with the fact that Travis Konecny will start the season on the top line and (hopefully remain there for eternity), I see Giroux eclipsing the PPG pace with ease.
Joe: OVER. Claude Giroux is regressing … backwards.
2. Sean Couturier also was outstanding last season, posting 76 points and finishing as the runner-up for the Selke Trophy. What’s his second season as a top-line center have in store? Over/under 60.5 points for Couturier.
Kurt: OVER. Unless he gets hurt, I have a hard time seeing him not reaching this. Very little in his performance last year suggests that his scoring numbers were fluky.
Kelly: OVER all day. That top line is not a joke and Couturier’s performance last year was not a one off. 70 doesn’t seem out of the realm.
Brad: OVER. To be honest, if he wasn’t going into the season on the top power play unit I would have gone with the under. I don’t think he scores 30 goals, but 60 points is absolutely doable.
Steve: OVER. I am a little concerned about Couturier coming off of his many playoff injuries, seeing as his torso became separated from his body and was still somehow able to score a hat trick. If he’s properly recovered, however, it seems like Coots has finally found his offensive groove in the NHL.
Jake: OVER. Sean Couturier exceeded everyone’s expectations last year, even me as one of his loudest supporters. Given his rightful role as the 1C and his supporting cast I think the over is doable here. It just may come down to staying on PP1 and staying healthy.
Jay: OVER. He’s good, he’s great and he’s going to be that for awhile. Couturier will hit 80 points this season.
Craig: OVER. I think he’ll play with Giroux for the whole season again and the way he racked up points last season is easily repeatable. Set up Giroux or go to the net and clean up garbage.
Steph: UNDER. Listen, someone has to be the buzzkill around here and I guess today that’s me. I don’t believe he will remain on PP1, I think there are better options there and he will be bumped in favor of heavier playing time on the PK. I don’t like it either guys, this is just what I think Hak will do.
Mike: OVER. No matter what Steph says, this is a shoebox bet for the over.
Kyle: OVER. He’ll be playing with Giroux again and now Travis Konecny who is poised for a breakout season. I think he reaches 60 points quite easily and as Jay said, could very well have himself an 80 point season. He’s that good, folks.
Paul: OVER. He’s simply just too smart a hockey player to not score points with the likes of Giroux and Konecny on his wing. The upper end of his point production will be determined by his status on the powerplay, but with the addition of JVR, both units should be fairly potent.
Joe: OVER. Coots learned how to shoot the puck last season, and we all found out he’s pretty good at it. 1Couturier is here to stay.
3. James van Riemsdyk is back! And he’s going to score goals! JVR had 36 goals last season in Toronto, a career-high for him. What does he do in his return? Over/under 31.5 goals for JVR this season.
Kurt: UNDER. This is tough. On the one hand, JVR has only topped 30 goals once in his career, last year, and his shooting percentage last year was the highest it’s ever been. On the other hand, he did that last year while playing just around 15 minutes a game. Do the Flyers have bigger plans for him than that? We’ll see. I’ll guess that he doesn’t get here.
Kelly: UNDER. Unless he gets time on PP1, then I’m going to be wrong. But without that power play time, I think he struggles to hit 30 goals.
Brad: UNDER. As Kurt said, JVR has only beat that number once in his career, and that’s while getting time on the top power play unit; something he won’t start the season with. Unless the power play struggles out of the gate and he gets moved up, it’ll be quite the challenge for him to get to 30.
Steve: OVER. I’m going over, but barely. Like somewhere around 32. This is so dependent on playing time and usage, however, that is extremely difficult to say.
Jake: UNDER. I think it’s more likely going to be in the 27-30 range for JVR this year. It’s all very dependent on his usage. As of now it looks like he’s starting the year on PP2 and the 3rd line, which was the same last year in TOR but he was playing with better talent. He’ll score, but I don’t think it’ll be 32+ goals.
Jay: UNDER. My guess is that JVR will likely hit the 30-goal mark on or near the final game of the season.
Craig: UNDER. I think he just misses the 30-goal mark, which isn’t bad for a guy starting out on the third line and on PP2.
Mike: OVER. I have no idea why but a 33-34 goal season just feels right for JVR in his triumphent return to Philadelphia. Mostly banking this on PP2 being much improved, but he could see PP1 time as well to stuff the goal column.
Kyle: OVER. This was a tough one, but I think with all the power play time he’s going to receive, in addition to having a playmaking center like Vorobyev on his line, JVR should be piling up the goals this season. I will say this however, I wouldn’t be surprised necessarily if he is just under 30.
Steph: UNDER. If he is going to spend the year on the third line without PP1 time, I would like to see 20 goals from him. Anything over that will be the sprinkles on the sundae.
Paul: OVER. JVR will start the year next to Mikhail Vorobyev, who has excellent vision and passing ability. He spent last year playing mostly third line minutes, but was part of the Leafs top powerplay unit. This could affect his total goals scored considering he is likely going to be featured on Philly’s second unit, but I certainly think he’ll be good for around 25 even strength goals this season, so adding just 7 more on the powerplay isn’t a reach. I’d put him around 33-35.
Joe: UNDER. JVR might see some time on the first power play unit, but if Wayne Simmonds returns to form, JVR might have to fight a bit harder for his goals. I’d be more comfortable predicting him as a twenty goal scorer, but thirty goals isn’t out of the realm of possibility.
4. The one rookie to make the team out of camp, Mikhail Vorobyev, will open the season centering the team’s third line. What should we expect out of him? Over/under 33.5 points for the man they call “Mike”. (It’s true, I checked.)
Kurt: OVER. This feels aggressive for a rookie third-line center, I know, but he’s going to have two pretty good wingers beside him at basically all times this year. This feels about right; I’ll give him the edge.
Kelly: UNDER, but not by much. I worry that Hakstol won’t trust him if he makes a few mistakes and his ice time will suffer.
Brad: OVER. A line with Simmonds, JVR, and a rookie center just screams “sheltered,” so under the assumption that he’ll be given a ton of offensive zone starts alongside two former 30-goal scorers, I’m going to go with yes. He should pick up a few special teams points along the way as well.
Steve: UNDER. I hope I’m wrong on this one, but just knowing how Hak uses young players, I’m not coming into the season with huge offensive hopes for Misha.
Jake: UNDER. I’m not convinced Misha is going to stay in the 3C role all year just based on how Hakstol tends to treat rookies. He has the talent at the moment surrounding him and it looks like he’ll start the year on PP2, so the potential is certainly there. But it’s hard for rookies to produce so I’ll say it’s more likely that he drives play well and finishes with 25-30 points.
Jay: UNDER. Nothing against Vorobyev’s talent, but playing in the NHL is tough. While he may not have the heavy lifting responsibilities of the first two lines, his offensive game may take a bit of time to come together.
Craig: UNDER. It’s just hard for rookies to put up points, and he’ll be coming in as the 3C. His line will probably be sheltered and he may even see 2C work this season, but I don’t see him doing it.
Mike: UNDER. Nothing against Misha, love the talent there, but have ya met Dave Hakstol? Make one mistake and it’s to the press box for a month for youngsters, so beware.
Kyle: UNDER. I love me some Misha, but it’s his offensive game that needs to improve. I think he’ll be a lot like Couturier when he first entered the league, great defensively, but struggles to put up high point totals. What he does have going for him though is that his line will most likely be fairly sheltered, plus having two goal scorers alongside him will be very complimentary.
Steph: OVER. I was going to go with the under for this because he’s a rookie and all of that, but screw it. He’s playing next to JVR and Simmonds, this man better be an assist machine.
Paul: OVER. Are you noticing my optimistic trend? Yes, he’s a rookie, but he’ll be centering two legitimate 30-goal scorers in Simmonds and JVR to start the year. With his incredible vision and passing ability, he should get a decent amount of helpers at even strength. This comes down to powerplay usage, but he looked great in pre-season in the “Voracek spot” along the half wall in the umbrella setup. If they run that system with him on PP2 - and all indications point to that - over for sure.
Joe: UNDER. I believe in Misha, but playing underneath a top six which is stacked, points will be harder to come across. I’m not saying he’s going to be bad, because he’s going to be awesome.
5. Last season, Ivan Provorov had 17 goals, while Shayne Gostisbehere had 13. Will those two combine for the same offensive output this season? Over/under 29.5 goals for those two this season.
Kurt: UNDER. I think Ghost actually picks up a few, but I think Provorov will have a hard time matching his goal output from last year.
Kelly: OVER. They’re good, y’all.
Brad: UNDER. I want to say over, but the math just doesn’t work for me. Even if you get super conservative with projections and give Giroux, Couturier, Simmonds, and JVR 27 goals each, Konecny 22, and Patrick 18, you get to 148 goals. Add 30 from those two and you’re at 178 goals, 71 short of their mark of 249 last season, with ten regulars still unaccounted for, including Voracek. And that’s with conservative numbers! I don’t know, I just don’t see it.
Steve: UNDER. It is so difficult to rely on goals from defensemen. Ghost and Provy are going to come close, but I can’t see them surpassing 30.
Jake: OVER. Screw it, I’m going bold with this one. I think Ghost scores 20 goals this year and all Provorov has to do at that point is put up double digit goals, which shouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility at all.
Jay: OVER. I’m not quite sure Provorov is going to net 17 again, but Ghost certainly isn’t going to stay at 13 either. If anything, I expect a reversal of those numbers and then probably a bit more for Ghost.
Craig: OVER. I’m with Jake, I think Gostisbehere breaks 20 goals this year. Provorov is most likely not getting 17 goals this season, but if Gostisbehere if putting up 20 (or 21, or 22) goals this season I can’t picture Provorov getting at least eight or nine goals.
Mike: OVER. Ditto on the Ghost is going to have a monster year stuff and Provorov has really worked on his offensive game and could easily make up the rest after Ghost pots like 20 goals himself.
Kyle: OVER. They’re getting a full season (hopefully) of playing together, plus power play opportunities. One of these two very well may be a Norris Trophy candidate come season’s end.
Steph: OVER. I think Ghost hits the 20 goal mark this year (along with Craig and Jake I guess), and I think Provorov will be close as well.
Paul: OVER. This is too easy! Ghost is going to score a ton on the powerplay this year and Provorov led defensemen in even strength goals scored last year. I expect that trend to continue moving up.
6. Wayne Simmonds had something of a rough year last year, dealing with injuries and posting some of his worst full-season numbers as a Flyer. What kind of a bounce-back does he have in him? Over/under 13.5 power play goals for Simmonds this year. (For context: Simmonds scored 11 power play goals last year, and has averaged 13.5 per 82 games as a Flyer.)
Kelly: OVER, I think. He’s definitely going to be better, since he’s healthy. And he’s still on PP1. So...yeah, over. Let’s shoot for 17.
Kurt: UNDER. I think he starts slowly and pulls it together later in the year and ends up at 13. Which is still good!
Brad: UNDER. There’s just so many weapons on both power play units that I don’t see him surpassing his career average.
Steve: UNDER. I wonder if Simmer is going to have to split time with JVR on the top PP unit. Simmonds has been such a staple on the power play that it’s hard to imagine him not being up there, but if they struggle it is certainly a possibility.
Jake: UNDER. I feel like they’re going to do their darnedest this year to pump Simmer up, but I just don’t know if he’s going to maintain his spot on PP1 all year, which will hurt his chances to reach that number. I do think he gets double digits, just not over 13.
Jay: UNDER. Is he even 100% healthy? Anyway, this season is where we start to see the real decline for Simmonds.
Craig: UNDER. I think Simmonds will look better this season, but I’m just picturing a scenario where the power play doesn’t score for 4 or 5 games and they replace him with JVR or Patrick. If he starts the season slow and he is the first piece they move to try and get the power play going if they hit a funk, it’ll be real hard for him to net 14 PPG.
Mike: UNDER. Really not sure what to expect with Simmonds this year. His body seemingly is starting to break down but he’s always been a power play ace. It wouldn’t surprise me to see this go the other way though with Simmer doing most of his goal scoring on then man advantage.
Kyle: OVER. I’m going to say over, but I’m not confident in it at all. With the addition of JVR, PPG’s may be a bit harder to come by for Simmonds, and not to mention how great Patrick looked in Simmonds’ spot on the power play at the end of last season. His history as a power play ace gives him the over from me, but it’ll be close.
Steph: UNDER. I am not convinced he is going to bounce back from the offseason surgery quickly, and I think there is a lot of competition for his spot on PP1.
Paul: OVER. He’s going to have a monster year because he’s Wayne Simmonds and everyone, including me, is counting him out.
Joe: OVER. Wayne is healthy and going to be back on the first power play. He’s spoken out against everyone saying he’s too old and his body is broken. Folks, the train is back in motion.
7. The goaltending situation is already quite full of fuckery, with the team (as of this writing) having two goalies on the roster, another about to join them on non-roster, two that are injured, and another one just chilling down in Lehigh Valley waiting to get a call. How many of these guys do we see playing? Over/under 4.5 goalies that play at least one second of ice time for the Flyers this year.
Kelly: UNDER. Let’s just pray to the hockey gods that things aren’t actually this absurd.
Kurt: OVER. Bring the chaos. In all seriousness, three are basically locks to (Elliott, Pickard, Neuvirth). Feels like Lyon probably gets into the mix at some point. And come on, Hart will get in there somewhere, right?
Brad: UNDER. I don’t think Stolarz or Hart play a game for the Flyers this year. The other four? Yeah.
Steve: UNDER. As much as I want to see carter hart in the NHL ASAP, I don’t want to see this number above 3. 4.5 ... good god ...
Jake: UNDER. We joke about the goalies they have now (it’s 6, in case you haven’t heard) and how Hakstol likes to run them into the ground, but they won’t use 5 goalies this year. I could definitely see four making an appearance, and more may sit on the bench in hats, but I don’t think more than 4 actually play.
Jay: UNDER. We’ll see Elliott and Neuvirth obviously and probably a spatter of two other goalies. If this actually hits the over, I think the Flyers are in trouble.
Craig: OVER. Elliott starts tonight (1), Pickard plays before the Flyers waive or trade him (2). Neuvirth comes back and plays a bit (3) before suffering yet another injury. Lyon will play a game while backing up Elliott in Neuvirth’s absence (4). At some point, two of Elliott/Neuvirth/Lyon will be injured, leading to Stolarz or Hart to play one game of a back-to-back (5).
Kyle: OVER. Are you kidding? This is Philadelphia, the neverending goalie carousel, it’s gonna happen.
Mike: OVER. Let’s get weird.
Steph: UNDER. But just under. I think it will be 4. And I don’t think any of those four will be Carter Hart.
Paul: OVER. Not sure if one will be Hart, but I can see Elliott, Pickard, Neuvirth, Lyon, and Stolarz all getting in at least one game this season.
Joe: UNDER. Everyone hop on for another ride of the goalie carousel! We’ve got six goalies to choose from, one of them has to be good… right? Right? We can already assume Elliott and Neuvirth will start a game. Pickard or Stolarz might play earlier on in the season. Alex Lyon could see a game sometime too. I do doubt we’ll see any Carter Hart in the NHL.
8. Leading the way in that aforementioned situation of fuckery is Brian Elliott, who had 23 wins for the team last year. How much time does he get, and how does he fare with that time? Over/under 24.5 wins for Brian Elliott this season. (Here is our acknowledgment that wins are, generally speaking, a poor way to evaluate an individual goalie’s performance. We’re playing a game.)
Kelly: OVER. God you people have no faith in BAMF Brian Elliott. He’s not bad you guys! He can win half his dang games!
Kurt: UNDER. I’ll put him where he was last year, not out of a distrust of him but because I think he’s going to get hurt.
Brad: OVER. The team around him is better, and, as long as he doesn’t start every game in a single month, maybe he won’t literally fall apart this season.
Steve: OVER. This is completely dependent on Old Man Elliott staying in one piece. He has a better Flyers team in front of him, so IN THEORY this should be over. IN THEORY.
Jake: UNDER. It’s all about Hakstol usage here. I don’t think Elliott holds up the whole year with how Hakstol treats his tenders. The team in front of him is better offensively, I just don’t know if he’ll hold up long enough. I really want to be wrong here, though.
Jay: UNDER. He’s going to be hurt 1-2 times this season and miss time in addition to sharing the goaltending duties. No way he hits this.
Craig: OVER. Essentially what Brad said. The team is better and if he is just able to stay a little healthier I don’t see why he shouldn’t break 25 wins.
Kyle: OVER. I know this may not make much sense with my previous prediction, but I think he’ll stay healthy just enough to get the 25 wins. The team just needs to live up to expectations, and obviously Elliott needs to stay healthy and not be driven into the ground by his head coach.
Mike: UNDER. I don’t like the man, I don’t think he gets to 25 wins. His body is breaking down and there will be a better option at some point during the season than him.
Steph: UNDER. Only because of injury, not because I don’t think he’s capable of the same average performance as last year.
Paul: OVER. This team is going to score a lot of goals. Elliott is also a decent goalie when healthy, but this will hinge on the penalty kill. I think it will be improved just enough that the team won’t lose as many games due to it being abysmal.
Joe: UNDER. Predicting the outcome of a Flyers goalie is equivalent to a blind monkey throwing a dart at a wall. Somehow, something strange in net will happen this season, again. o.e Pickard stealing the starting job or Stolie proving everyone wrong.
9. Travis Sanheim’s rookie year, despite him showing tremendous promise in it, was an ordeal. We like to think that it’ll be different this year, but will it be? Over/under 5.5 reported healthy scratches for Travis Sanheim this season.
Kelly: Ugh. If it’s not UNDER I quit.
Mike: UNDER. Please.
Kurt: UNDER. Don’t.
Brad: OVER. Oh, yeah. He’ll be healthy scratched 6 times by the end of January.
Steve: UNDER. I feel like Hak has guys pay “their dues” as rookies and learn whatever insane Hak lessons he tries to teach them before giving them more trust the second time around. Feeling oddly optimistic about Sanheim’s playing time this year. No, I am not high on Jorald’s supply.
Jake: UNDER. As much as I disagree with Hakstol’s treatment of young players, year 2 tends to be much less grumpy and “get off my lawn”-ish. I think Sanheim’s PDO regresses to the norm this year and he starts putting up enough numbers to keep him in the lineup.
Jay: OVER. All it will take is the PK to struggle and a Sanheim mistake in the defensive zone for Hakstol to get the itch.
Craig: UNDER. Hakstol will definitely get the itch to scratch Sanheim at some point this year, and he may even do it for a string of games, but I don’t know. Six games feels like too much. There will definitely be a point in time when this team can’t kill a single penalty and Hakstol will think the only solution is putting Folin in for Sanheim, but that feels like a 2-3 game experiment.
Kyle: UNDER. Last year was Sanheim’s dog house year, like Ghost’s sophomore season was. I think he’ll be good enough to keep himself in the lineup and avoid being “Hak’d” too much this year.
Steph: UNDER. I think last year was the mess with Sanheim year, I think this year he is going to be a roster mainstay. I’m saying this mostly to myself and in a threatening tone at Hakstol.
Paul: UNDER. I swear... but seriously if Sanheim follows on the same track as Konecny, Ghost, and other rookies who have been “Hak’d”, he should be okay this year.
Joe: UNDER. Travis had his season of learning from the press box, now it’s time for him to be chained to MacDonald’s hip.
10. Finally, since the Flyers do get in trouble a lot, let’s try and guess how much. Over/under 4.5 games’ worth of suspensions for Flyers players this year.
Kelly: Going with UNDER in the hopes that Radko Gudas has learned his lesson.
Kurt: OVER. Plot, twist, though: none of them are Radko Gudas. Someone’s gonna do something dumb.
Brad: OVER. I think someone gets a 5-gamer this season. And by someone I mean Gudas.
Steve: UNDER. Unless Gudas does something exceptionally in the Badko realm, I can’t see this happening. Your dad still wants to know why the Flyers don’t hit anymore, by the way.
Jake: OVER. Don’t get me started on the sham that is the Department of Player Safety.
Jay: UNDER. With the exception of Gudas, who seemed to tone down his play towards the end of last season, I just don’t see many players on this team capable of getting suspended.
Craig: OVER. This is really 4.5 games of Radko suspensions and I think yes. He’s already on the DoPS’ shit list and he’ll have a borderline hit they’ll come down on him for.
Kyle: OVER. Gudas will do something dumb, and get himself a longer suspension because repeat offender and all that jazz. I could see Hagg doing something to get himself in trouble as well.
Mike: OVER. Gudas and a potential NAK call up at some point should blow this thing out of the water.
Steph: UNDER. Gudas is the only wildcard on the roster. I don’t think Jori Lehtera is going to pull any wild shit, no one else really seems to be a suspension candidate.
Paul: UNDER. Radko who? Gudas hasn’t been Gudas in quite a while and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. If Aube-Kubel is somehow called up, then maybe I change my mind, but I don’t envision that happening.
Joe: OVER. This all hinges on Radko Gudas doing something dumb. Which, well, I feel like the chances of that are pretty high. Radko is on thin ice after a ten game suspension last season, and I’d imagine anything out of line this year will result in more punishment.