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Can the Flyers still make the playoffs?

It’s a question that deserves some context, too.

New Jersey Devils v Philadelphia Flyers Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

The Philadelphia Flyers look like a different team than the one we watched in the first 20 or so games this season, but have they crapped the bed too much early on to make up ground? Can this team even realistically think of making the playoffs after the horrid start? Should we be looking up the young teens of the 2022 NHL Draft instead? Well, these questions might be answered on the ice, or in this lovely blog that forced me to pull out a calculator.

Regardless of other teams around them and how they are performing this season, according to our friend and math genius Micah Blake McCurdy, teams in the Metropolitan Division will need approximately 90.9 points to make the post-season. The Flyers currently have 29. So let’s do some math.

Philadelphia has played 29 total games so far (12-12-5) earning them a .500 points percentage and a mid-season coaching change. With 53 games remaining, that is a total of 106 points available for them — so they should just simply win every game to make the playoffs.

Sarcastic dreams aside, they will need 62 points to get to 91 and slightly over that math-induced threshold of 90.9 points to make the playoffs. Of course, their current points percentage won’t get them there — leading them to just 82 points on the season — but to reach that mark, they will just need a .584 points percentage, or roughly a 31-22-0 record, or a 30-22-2 record, or a 29-22-4 get the idea.

Winning that many more games than losing would seem impossible under Vigneault, especially considering their 10-game losing streak leading to the eventual firing. But now with Mike Yeo in charge, the Flyers have gone 4-2-1 for a .642 points percentage. It is only seven games of course, but if they continue earning points at the same rate that they have under Yeo, they would finish the season with approximately 97 points, which should be enough to earn that playoff spot.

That feels wrong, but the math doesn’t lie.

This dream scenario will only happen, of course, if everything stays the same. Which does involve the Flyers overcoming the 19th-ranked shot attempt share and 26th-ranked expected goals share at 5-on-5. It’s certainly not impossible, and especially if the two goaltenders keep on stopping things like they are currently, but it also means scoring goals on 9.44 percent of the shots on goal they make and with the lineup still in flux, that might not be as achievable as it is currently.

Philadelphia just simply isn’t a very solid even-strength team, or one that will outscore their problems on the power play. It’s this weird middle and weeks of percentages bending to their will that truly defines them. The process is not there, but the results have been so far under Yeo.

It is truly the most Flyers thing to be 29 games into a season, and despite a coaching change, you can really see them either making the playoffs, staying perfectly in the middle and barely missing the post-season threshold, or bottoming out and have us pumping out prospect profiles with even more gumption than normal.

Time will tell, but at least there’s a glimmer of hope that this season will not be a waste.