The 2022 Flyers season has been disappointing to say the least. Once riddled with exciting unknowns, it has slowly crashed and burned over the past few months. However, unlike most Philly fans, I think there are some reasons to be positive, and I hope that the organization has a somewhat decent grasp of the situation moving forward. Although that is highly unlikely, here is what I would like to see the Flyers do over the offseason to put this team back on track and potentially compete for a cup in 3 years time.
1. Move on from JVR
JVR has never been one of my favorites because his style of play is so boring. In a league dominated by speed, strength, and skill, he chooses to park himself in front of the net and score uninteresting goals from time to time. Carrying an annual contract of $7 million, he is not worth the money that he is owed and therefore needs to be moved. Because his contract is so steep, the Flyers will likely have to package a cheap yet intriguing asset with him.
2. Potential Package Deal
This brings me to my next point. If the Flyers cannot deal JVR on his own, they will need to entice other teams into taking some or all of his money off the books. Although I was his number one fan at the beginning of the season, I think Morgan Frost could be the answer to this deal. His injuries combined with the Flyers incompetence when it comes to developing players has led to a stagnation in his game that is extremely noticeable. He looks hesitant at the NHL level, and I think it is mainly due to poor coaching. Instead of pushing him to thrive in the offensive end, it seems that they have tried to turn him into a complete player and given him too much responsibility at the center ice position. He's a wing, and they just don't know it. If they can get a solid 2nd-3rd pairing veteran D-man and a pick in return, this could benefit all parties tremendously.
3. Draft a Stud
The upcoming draft is extremely important for the future of this franchise. With there being an apparent abundance of high end offensive talent at the top of this years prospect pool, the flyers need to draft a needle moving player that can put this team back on the map. Although we don't yet know exactly where they will be picking, we can assume that it will be in the top 7. Here are my top 3 guys based on what I think the Flyers need.
1. Shane Wright - Consensus #1 overall pick by most. Wright is a true playmaking center that has top line potential. Although he's not the quickest, his hockey IQ and lethal shot allow him to excel in the offensive end. He has been dominant in the OHL, and I think will continue to be dominant at the next level. He also has good size which the Flyers need if they want to be a contender.
2. Juraj Slafkovsky - Big bodied European player with good hands and a wicked shot. This kid is super physical and dominates the game athletically. His Olympic performance was super impressive and was one of the main reasons that Solvakia medaled. The Flyers need players who can hold up physically and who aren't afraid to shoot. I think this kid has both of those things.
3. Brad Lambert - A year ago he probably would have been my top choice. His current season in Liiga has been a let down statistically, but I still think his ceiling is very high. He possesses outstanding skating ability and speed which allows him to glide into the offensive zone. One of the Flyers biggest problems has been on their zone entries, especially on Powerplays. He would bring an immediate fix to this issue. He also brings an exciting play style that would help engage a fan base that desperately needs a spark.
4. Don't Trade Away Prime Young Players
This organization needs to take steps forward and not steps back. In order to take steps forward, they have to create a sense of chemistry among the players who have already been here and should continue to play here. Giving up guys like TK, Sanheim, and Provy will likely not yield a return that will equate to sustained success. This team needs offensive talent and experience on the back end, so giving up your 2nd most prolific young scorer and 2 of your more experienced defensemen makes no sense. All three of these guys have talent and will likely elevate their games once the players around them are healthier and more experienced.
5. If They Draft a Winger or D-man, Move Farabee to Center Permanently
I have always thought that Farabee would make more sense at center for this team, and his small tryout in the middle this season affirmed that thought. He is super poised for a player of his age, and has shown that he can handle the responsibilities of a center ice man. This team needs a play driving center that can play on the top line. If a Shane Wright or other draft prospect isn't that guy, I think Farabee could grow into that role. Coots can be the top centerman for now, but I hope the team develops to the point that he becomes the 2C.
6. Call up the Youth
The Flyers have a lot of holes on their current roster that could potentially be filled by prospects. We have seen many guys get their opportunity this year, and there are still many yet to come. Here are my top 5 most important prospects to watch over the next 3 seasons. These are guys with less than 25 games of NHL experience.
1. Tyson Foerster
2. Wade Allison (If he can stay healthy)
3. Ronnie Attard
4. Bobby Brink
5. Elliot Desnoyers
7. Re-sign key guys
1. Owen Tippett - Top 6 scoring potential
2. Zack MacEwen - Gritty Forth Liner that we need
3. Nick Seeler - Good depth D-man
4. Kevin Connauton - Another good depth D-man
5. Felix Sandstrom - Potential good backup to Hart
6. Morgan Frost - If you decide not to trade him
8. Add a solid Veteran D-man
Having a calming veteran presence on the back end makes everything better. Had Ryan Ellis been healthy this year, who knows how this season could've turned out. We saw what having Matt Niskanen did a few years ago as well. Adding more guys like this to your lineup is so important, especially if you are trying to become a playoff team. Don't waste your money on veteran forwards that don't want to play here. Spend it on your defense and build a young, cohesive, and skilled forward group around it.
9. Hate to Say it, but Don't Bring G back
It's time to move on to a new era. Let G win a few cups in Florida and then bring him back in a few years when we are better and ready to make a run.
10. Hire a good coach
Please hire the opposite of Alain Vigneault. I want a coach that will help the young players thrive and not hold them back. Not sure who that is but don't screw it up. This is crucial to the organizations future and could set them back even further if they don't make a good hire.
I desperately need good hockey back in my life. I hope that the Flyers can deliver that.