Looking back at our preseason predictions

Before this miserable season started, we made some predictions about players, records, and more. Now we're looking at how wrong (and right) we were.

Looking back at our preseason predictions
Photo Credit: Heather Barry

Pobody's nerfect. We (people) have to deal with the fact that we cannot nerfectly coast through our years on this rock as omniscient beings, knowing what is coming and how things have gone in the past to immaculate detail. We are cursed with mortal souls.

We also suck at predicting how an upcoming Philadelphia Flyers season is going to go and what players will be good and what players will be bad.

Before the weird and wacky and wasteful 2022-23 season began, we made some predictions on a variety of topics. From individual performances, surprises, and even an overall win-loss record.

Now with the all 82 games played and the Flyers not involved in the playoffs, there is no better time than now to look back and what we thought was going to happen and either laugh at some retrospectively hilarious answers or mope around as we view some courageous optimism.

The team

It's probably the easiest to start with how everyone thought the team would perform overall. In real life, the Flyers went 31-38-13 to earn 75 points and finished in seventh place in the Metropolitan division (in case you needed a reminder).

Among the nine of us that took part in the little preseason questionnaire, zero were too optimistic or thought too highly of this team to predict them earning more points or winning more games than they actually did this season. The closest was definitely Kurt (we hate to give him credit) with a prediction of a 28-37-17 record and 73 points. There were some 69-point guesses, which could have become a reality, and, nice.

The one major thing that a whole lot of us guessed correctly is that new and shiny head coach John Tortorella would push this team in such a way to earn an unfathomable amount of loser points in overtime or shootout losses. The reality was 13 of them and all but one record prediction had the Flyers earn at least double-digits. So, hooray for us!

The division

We did end up taking a quick glance at how the entire Metro would pan out and looking at how better and healthier teams would do.

To answer the question of what team "scares" us the most, the majority of us clever folks put the Flyers and that is certainly the most correct answer. It was terrifying to see a team be just so mediocre and fall ass backwards into some middling draft lottery odds.

For the Metro standings, it is very funny looking at so many people (myself included) think the New Jersey Devils were going to be just as bad this year. How could we have predicted it, honestly? They are the Devils. And in addition to that, we even thought the Columbus Blue Jackets would be taking the leap over them and competing for some sort of playoff spot with Johnny Gaudreau in the fold. Oh, look at us being dumb stupid idiots.

The players

There is too much meat on this bone and too much of an opportunity to really dive head-first into the bucket of muck to just glance over what we generally thought would happen. We made specific predictions when it came to what players we would like or be surprised by, so I am putting it in raw and uncensored.

Which Flyer do you expect to be surprised by (and why)?

Jay: Travis Konecny...now hear me out. I think we see TK bounce back and become more of a shoot-first threat in the offensive zone. He’ll lead the team in goals by the deadline.

Thomas: I think we’ll be surprised what Noah Cates can do during a full season and how entertaining he will be to watch.

Steve: Morgan Frost. Yeah, I’m probably setting myself up for disappointment, but that’s the Flyer way. This is the make or break year for Frosty and it would be nice not to see him melt.

Matt: Wade Allison. He plays 82 games and is among the Flyers’ top five in points.

Kurt: How can you be surprised by something you expect? Checkmate, dorks. Anyways. I’ll go Owen Tippett. What we have seen from him so far has been good, just need some bounces, and with enough time those come around.

Jeff: For the sake of fun and trust in young players, I’m going to go with Ronnie Attard. After getting a few games of experience last season, in which he played fairly well, I’m expecting him to play very well in 2022-23. It may take a bit for him to fully prove himself and show that he is a full-time NHLer, but by the end of the season I’m hopeful that he can be one.

Mike: Travis Sanheim takes another leap forward, steals away top pair minutes from Ivan Provorov, who gets traded in the offseason.

Ryan Q: I’m gonna agree with Kurt, who’s almost always wrong (owned) [ed. note: I’m not owned] and go with Owen Tippett. Tippett’s shown some encouraging flashes since joining the team last season, so maybe this year he’ll take a step forward and become a legitimate point producer in the top six.

Kelly: I’m putting my answers last because I have poor time management which means everyone already took my answers BUT just so you all know, I definitely thought of them first. Anyhoo, after watching the way Torts was pushing Tippett in-game in the last episode of The Standard, I think we’re going to see him really turn a page. Seems like it might be the perfect marriage of coach and player here.

We could have interpreted a "surprise" as either a player doing really well, or just downright bad, so the answers vary.

But, I will happily pat Jay, Steve, Kurt, Ryan, Kelly, and myself for being the most correct in our guesses. Owen Tippett, Morgan Frost, Noah Cates, and Travis Konecny all had very good years respective to how they performed last year. It might have been a little bit of a lay-up to guess that talented forwards play better with bigger opportunities since everyone that would be ahead of them in the lineup is either dead (injured) or gone from this team. We will take the victory either way.

Now, we don't want to be mean when we're looking back at predictions. (We have all had our optimistic love of a certain prospect fail us.) But even so, it does look a little unfortunate that guessing glass-bone Wade Allison could play all 82 games – he did play 60 which is a miracle – ended up not being the case. Also thinking that Ronnie Attard would be actually playing more than two games this season, is an unlucky whiff.

Which Flyer do you expect to be disappointed in (and why)?

Jay: Ivan Provorov. This is going to be the season where he loses the fanbase. He will be saddled with carrying TDA who will be “unleashed” which will lead to a lot of frustration in the defensive zone. He will sink to new career-lows on the stat-sheet.

Thomas: Can I be disappointed when I assume I know who the bad players will be? Anyways, it’s probably Carter Hart because he might just end up sucking for another year.

Steve: Rasmus Ristolainen. I just want this dude to clear the crease. Please clear the crease. Carter Hart’s crops are dying.

Matt: James van Riemsdyk. I’ve always been a JVR fan and more recently a JVR defender, but I’m predicting that he ends his Flyers career with this season and it’s far from his best.

Kurt: I am on record as believing Travis Konecny is a good player on-balance who looks very good when he’s on a line with good players and does not when he is not. Not sure if you’ve noticed, but there are not many good players in this forward corps. So I think he ends up on record for another “disappointing” year, even though he’s probably still, like ... the second-most-talented player in this forward group? I dunno. Like Thomas kind of said, to be disappointed you have to have expectations that a guy is good, and he’s one of the only guys on this lineup that you can reasonably expect something from.

Jeff: I’m with Steve on this one. At this point, I find it hard to believe that Ristolainen can make himself worth the contract that he signed. Being physical is good, but if he can’t use that to play effective defense, that’s pretty disappointing, and I’m expecting that to happen again this season.

Mike: 2022-23 could end up being make or break in Philadelphia for Provorov, and I’m leaning towards break.

Ryan Q: I’d say Ristolainen, but he’s already disappointed me, so I’m gonna go with Morgan Frost instead. It’s a very important year for Frost, and he’ll need to really perform in order to earn a long-term role on this team. Unfortunately, I just don’t have a ton of confidence in him right now. And frankly, I’d love nothing more than to be proved wrong.

Kelly: I’m going off-board here and saying Tony Meatballs. Sticking To Hockey, he was so good in Carolina. And it’s so hard not to hope that he’ll also be that good here. But Ivan Provorov is not Jacob Slavin. So... yeah. I think the Meatball will not be spicy.

I am the first one to admit that we are mostly wrong! Ivan Provorov and Tony DeAngelo were large disappointments compared to the opportunity they got handed to them, so we'll give Jay, Mike, and Kelly their flowers on getting that one correct. But(!), the other players we mentioned largely improved on last season or kept steady.

Rasmus Ristolainen had a miserable year last season but was able to actually look halfway decent under Tortorella this year and at times felt like someone that wasn't completely terrible. His contract is hanging over his head, but we have to separate the Chuck Fletcher mishap from the artist and say that Ristolainen was not an overall disappointment.

In addition to that, Carter Hart bounced back, Morgan Frost looked good and Travis Konecny was the team's best player, and James van Riemsdyk was just there. Look at them go!

The one bold prediction

We all needed to stake our claim to one "bold" prediction on what we might experience this Flyers season. Not a simple over-under or a record or an individual performance, but just something that might be super specific or something happening off the ice.


Jay: The coaching staff will let “The Kids” grow and make mistakes without resigning them to the tired tribulations of learning from the pressbox.

Pretty correct! You could say that having Cam York average almost 20 minutes a game and Cates, Tippett, Frost, and Joel Farabee, all having the opportunities they got would be Tortorella letting the youngsters grow and learn in the NHL.

Thomas: Another dog will take a big massive dump at center ice this season.

No, you optimistic big dumb loser.

Steve: Kevin Hayes will step up and have a career year. Hayes has never broken 50 points (his high is 49 in 2016-17) but with all of the ice time that he will likely be getting and his role as one of the leaders on this team, I think Hayes will put up a fair share of points this season. After all, someone has to score, right?

Hayes did break the 50-point mark and finish with 54! He started the year with a good amount of leadership responsibilities, but unfortunately, that might be coming to an end.

Matt: Chuck Fletcher will make a mid-season hockey trade well before the deadline that everyone agrees actively makes the current Flyers roster better (and it does).

Oh, no Matt. That might have been the most optimistic thing written in the entire predictions blog.

Kurt: Carter Hart finishes the season with exactly a .908 save percentage — right around what league-average was last year, and just in the area where we continue to be not entirely sure what he is as a goalie.

Okay, Kurt is a freak. Hart finished with a .907 save percentage and that ended up being higher than the league average this season. And, we really don't know what to think of him and if he will play better with a better team around him. Way to go, you freak man!

Jeff: It’s bold, but I’m going to predict that Cam Atkinson scores 30 goals. He has only reached the mark twice, and I don’t expect to be right on this one, but hey, what’s the fun in being reserved on something like this?

Cam Atkinson did not play a game for the Philadelphia Flyers this year.

Mike: James van Riemsdyk leads the Flyers in goal scoring…until being traded during before the trade deadline.

Van Riemsdyk scored an entire 12 goals. Tippett had more than double. And, he famously did not get traded this season.

Ryan Q: Travis Konecny leads the team in just about every major statistical category. He led the team in points last season, and I’m expecting his shooting percentage to increase a fair amount. A big season from TK would make this season somewhat bearable.

Ryan, we hate that you are so correct. Konecny did exactly this. He led the team in points, despite missing 22 entire games and made the Flyers way more watchable as a team. He increased his shooting percentage by 8.9 percent (almost double) and ended up scoring 31 goals (leading the team in that, too).

Kelly: I think we are going to agree with John Tortorella way, way more than we disagree with him. Which, for a Flyers coach, is pretty bold.

It is a more abstract prediction, but I would say that it is mostly correct. At times, we did not like Tortorella and what he said, at all this season. But, we understood what kind of point he was trying to make and he was not handed the best team to deal with. After 82 games, we can say that we agreed with him more than we disagreed, but maybe not by a lot.