Previous entries in the series
Last we left off, the Flyers after starting strong, dropped to just over 0.500 to end the month of November. Trailing the second wild card spot by a mere point, will the boys in Orange and Black be able to climb their way back into the playoff picture?
That question and more will be answered in today’s episode of the Flyers in Franchise Hockey Manager!
Before we get started, I wanted to address both your comments and the result of the poll I put out on the previous episode, as well as an unfortunate occurrence. The former of these will only take this sentence, as the only real suggestion I received was “WIN THE CUP!!!”. I will certainly try.
As for the latter, unfortunately the game file I was using crashed resulting in the corruption of the save. I was able to, in a new save, create all the moves I had made and those that had been made by other clubs, and simulated up to the point where I was upon leaving off in part 2. Fortunately, the Flyers record through this point was only slightly improved at 15-10-2, which still left us only one position out of the wildcard, so I felt comfortable resuming from this point. This is why other teams’ records will appear different in the standings, but generally the teams what were good then are good still. I will now be more fervently backing up my files :-).
As for the poll, it was a very close race indeed, but winning out by a mere single vote was option A, which was for me to shake up the roster with a blockbuster trade. Regardless, I would be making another trade in this episode since the next closest option was to make a trade but not give up a player from the core. So, before I begin with the games, I would like to announce the following news tweeted from the totally real Flyers account:
That’s right folks! Dylan Larkin is a Flyer!
I like this move for a number of reasons, the primary one being that Larkin and Jake Voracek, whom I gave up, are similar in skill, yet Larkin’s contract saves me money. Larkin also has room to improve (my scouts rate him at 4.5 star potential) and at 23 years old, Larkin can certainly fulfill that potential. So far on the year, Larkin has 26 points in 29 games (7 goals and 19 assists). I’m thinking of simply placing Larkin in the Voracek spot in the lineup at 2RW, despite Larkin being a natural center, though alternatively I could shift Morgan Frost to the wing.
In the end, I shifted Larkin to center, placing Kevin Hayes as a power forward (he is adept at the role) on RW, moving Frost down to 3C, where he is probably best suited.
With these newly tooled top two lines, I’m hoping to propel the Flyers into a solid playoff position. Let’s see if I can do it...
The month started off with a 5-2 dismantling of the Toronto Maple Leafs. After Auston Matthews scored a slick wrist shot halfway through the first period, the Flyers scored four answered goals in the second and third periods. Travis Sanheim evened the score, with Adrian Kempe scoring on a breakaway backhand over Frederik Andersen to give the Flyers the lead after being sprung by a Morgan Frost breakout pass. Dylan Larkin and Sean Couturier scored in the third, with Larkin adding an empty netter for his second. Brian Elliott got the victory, stopping 28 of 30 shots.
This set off a smooth sailing run of what I can only describe as purely lethal form for the Flyers. After the Toronto game, they would go on to win 9 of the next 12 games, jumping straight into first place in the division!
Surprisingly, Dylan Larkin only has 4 points since becoming a Flyer. The real standout star of the month was a tie between, yet again, Filip Forsberg, who went on a seven game point streak. He now has 39 points in 40 games (18 goals and 21 assists). The other star was James van Riemsdyk, who scored a whopping 11 goals in December! That leaves him with 21 on the year, and 35 total points. Ten of his goals have come on the power play.
The Flyers also managed to remain injury free during the month. In this regard, I can say we have been fairly lucky, as some teams have just been ravaged this year (the Blackhawks have like 6 key players hurt). Also, Nolan Patrick appears set to return in one to two months according to team doctors.
Early in the month, the torrid JVR unfortunately suffered from blurry vision, and was forced out for two games, but we were able to replace him with Derek Grant (yay for depth!).
In the end, it was a solid month for the Flyers that would’ve been far better had it not been for those pesky Pittsburgh Penguins, who managed to beat us twice to force the Flyers into 3rd place in the Metropolitan division.
I truly don’t understand how the New York Islanders are so good in this game, but hey ho they’re first place in the division with games in hand. The Penguins managed to scrape 2nd place after winning both games we had against them, but they only have the lead by one point, and I think with a bit of luck we can pass them.
Perhaps the most interesting talking point of the month was a game against the Hurricanes that ended 4-1 in favor of the Flyers. Four straight goals from Farabee, Forsberg, Hayes, and Phil Myers resulted in the firing of Rob Brind’amour as Hurricanes head coach after this one was over. To be fair, the ‘Canes are struggling, but not that poorly.
Filip Forsberg remains top point-getter for the club still, with Claude Giroux and JVR just behind him. Shayne Gostisbehere has also played well still. No players have markedly improved or declined in terms of their natural ability. The same can be said for our prospects in the AHL. Interestingly though, the top ranked prospect in the Flyers organization is now Ronnie Attard, who has become a 5 star potential defenseman. It will be interesting to monitor his development. I am very much considering signing him during the offseason to play in the AHL.
Overall, it appears that the Larkin trade has really worked out, at least in terms of the Flyers record and position. The player himself has 11 points in 24 games so far, which is a bit disappointing. Meanwhile, in Detroit, Jake Voracek has 14 points in 20 games, which isn’t markedly better enough to say he’s leagues better at the moment. This could be a case of Larkin needing to adjust to his line mates, as he hasn’t yet developed any chemistry with Kevin Hayes or Travis Konecny. Only time will tell.
Lastly, there were a couple of Flyers that made the all-star team. Shayne Ghostisbehere, Dylan Larkin, Sean Couturier, Claude Giroux, and Carter Hart were all all-stars, which is a nice honor to see for these guys, especially Hart who in 39 starts holds a 0.915 save percentage!
Anyways, that concludes this episode of Flyers on FHM. We’re quickly approaching the trade deadline, so we’ll see if I make any more moves. Please continue to comment and give me suggestions! I truly appreciate it!
Next episode, we’ll go through to the deadline, looking at moves that other teams make as well. We will also then be finishing the season. Hopefully we’ll have some post-season hockey to enjoy!