Opening day, October 2nd, 2019, was capped by a 3-1 victory by the Vancouver Canucks over the Edmonton Oilers, despite a Leon Draisaitl power-play goal.
Meanwhile, the Flyers were set to play their opener two days later against Chicago. Unfortunately, though James van Riemsdyk scored just a minute into the first period, the Flyers were unable to stave off the Blackhawks as they were fueled by a Patrick Kane hat-trick to win 6-1. However, goals from Ristolainen, Gostisbehere, Raffl, and Sanheim propelled the Flyers past the Devils in the following match for a 4-3 win at home. Carter Hart stopped 25 of 28 shots.
However, before we go any further, I had one request...
User ‘Michael Del Blotto’ asked if I could hire and then subsequently fire Dave Hakstol, which, funny enough, I can.
I hired Hakstol and there he is in my staff below:
His coaching ratings aren’t amazing, but aren’t terrible either. His ‘motivation’ and ‘player management’ skills are just bad. Also see ‘favors veterans’. I shuddered at the memory:
And finally, me firing him. Catharsis.
It cost nearly half of a million dollars to do so, but hey, it was worth it for the fans (and for me too personally).
Anyways, on with the show!
Despite niggling day-to-day injuries to key players Travis Konecny and James van Riemsdyk, the Flyers managed to escape the first month of the season with a winning record, and more importantly, third place in the division!
Before his injury, the biggest surprise so far had been the play of JVR, who had been scoring at a point-per-game pace before an abdominal strain took him out of action.
Otherwise, there’s been decent, well-balanced scoring across the board. Sean Couturier and Joel Farabee are joint top goal-scorers with four goals a piece. Filip Forsberg sits atop for total points with nine, but is closely tailed by both Claude Giroux and Jake Voracek with eight each.
Fortunately, van Riemsdyk’s injury did not keep him out for long and he returned for the beginning of November. Additionally, Carter Hart was named best goaltender for the month of October, which was good to see. He impressively showed a 0.914 save percentage in 11 starts.
However, these positive notes were overshadowed when early into November, Sean Couturier suffered contusions in his knee, forcing him out. Fortunately, it is only a day-to-day injury, but it will be a massive blow nevertheless.
Around mid-way through the month, I decided to pull off a minor trade, giving up Michael Raffl and a 4th in 2022 for the Los Angeles Kings’ Adrian Kempe.
I wanted to bring in a faster forward to compliment the top nine, and Kempe brings enough skill along with his speed to merit the move. I put Kempe with Kevin Hayes and James van Riemsdyk on the third line, moving Joel Farabee to the fourth line as he had tailed off since his good start in October.
In the end, we managed to escape just one win over 0.500, which is disappointing considering the start to the season we had. Sean Couturier was only out for five games, but those five games really hurt. The Flyers now sit one point out of the wild card with around a quarter of the season left.
Filip Forsberg still leads the team in point with 22, followed by Shayne Gostisbehere (who has had an amazing year and even went up a half-star rating) and Claude Giroux with 21.
This concludes this edition of the Franchise Hockey Manager series. Next up, I’ll play up to the half-way mark in the season.
I think I’ll definitely be looking to strengthen the team more, possibly at the expense of yet more draft picks. I think I’ll be looking to acquire a top line talent, along the lines of players I’ve been able to pick up before. In previous play-throughs, I’ve traded for both Taylor Hall and Mat Barzal (in separate saves). I don’t know if I can pull something like this off without giving up a really good player in return, but I’m willing to shake up the roster big time.
I’ve left a poll here for you to vote (it ends Wednesday noon GMT), but please do comment with suggestions and feedback!
Should I make a blockbuster trade and really shake up the roster?
This poll is closed
Only if you aren’t giving up a piece of the core (i.e. Giroux, Voracek, etc)