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The Flyers are neither contenders, nor pretenders, nor disappointments

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So, uh, I guess that’s good?

Heather Barry - SB Nation

On this lovely FanPulse Wednesday-on-Friday, we find that the Flyers are not the subject of any conversation — which feels weird. You really can’t expect to get a ton of praise when you start the season at 8-5-2, but you won’t receive a ton of ire either. So we’re just average 15 games into the season, and that’s ok.

So who are we talking about? Oh boy, let’s jump right into the disappointments. The top four teams received 90.73% of the FanPulse votes, with the Minnesota Wild and New York Rangers splitting just under 10%.

Oh boy San Jose. WOOF. These perennial Cup favorites have started the season 6-10-1, that’s 13 points in 17 games. What is going on with them? Well, the easy narrative is goaltending. Has anyone outside of that front office thought that Martin Jones is a strong enough goaltender to help his team seriously contend? I think it absolutely follows that they are the biggest disappointment after one month. They are closely followed by the Tampa Bay Lightning, another perennial Cup favorite. Sitting at 6-5-2 in a competitive Atlantic Division is not good enough, especially from a team that has the firepower that they do. Next up, the Dallas Stars, the team I will never, ever trust to actually make the playoffs. I have been burned too many times, Dallas! Turns out CEO Jim Lites may have actually been onto something with that “fucking horseshit” business last year, but 8-8-1 isn’t the worst record in this group. Wrapping up the disappointing top four is Metro “rival” New Jersey Devils. First, they won the sweepstakes for Nico Hischier. Then Jack Hughes. Add some upgrade sprinkles across the lineup, and you get a team that has started the 2019-20 season 4-6-4. That’s 12 points in 14 games and simply not good enough, especially considering the buzz around this team to begin the year.

The last two teams are the New York Rangers and the Minnesota Wild. What I learned from this poll is that there is a very vocal handful of Rangers fans screaming about how the season is lost and that they should be at the top of the division considering their talent...and these fans do not represent the national view of the team. I personally love to see the Rangers towards the bottom of the division with a 7-6-1 record, so if they could stay on this pace, I wouldn’t be disappointed in them at all! The Wild are 5-10-1, which makes me think that expectations going into the season could not have been high or even remotely average. Do they miss Chuck Fletcher or is this new GM Bill Guerin trying to clean up Paul Fenton’s bonfire? On this score, the Flyers should consider themselves lucky to not be included in the conversation.

The next group are the teams that have had some surprising early season success and we wanted to gauge if their positions among the top of the rankings was realistic. The people have spoken, and they believe the only true contender out of this group is the Carolina Hurricanes.

Sitting at 9-6-1, they are fourth in the Metro and seem to have won over the national crowd by their first playoff appearance in a decade. Finally, the stats nerds and the eye-test crowd agree on something. Carolina sits behind the New York Islanders in the standings, with an 11-3-1 record, people aren’t quite sure whether they’re for real or not, but lean towards pretenders.

Other teams that seem to have fans a little confused over whether they are contenders or pretenders are the Edmonton Oilers and the Buffalo Sabres. All three of these teams nearly split the vote 50/50. I understand wanting to believe these two teams in particular are in for some playoff luck, but I tend to fall on the side of the majority in that they are pretenders. Sorry to Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel. I love the idea of the Arizona Coyotes being contenders, but it appears I am in the minority. I also think it would be really fun for the Vancouver Canucks to make a playoff appearance once again, but the masses do not think that this is their year.

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