Last season, the Philadelphia Flyers had quite high expectations for their team. They were coming off of a conference semi-final appearance the year before and seemed to have all of the pieces together to make a deep run through the playoffs.
Then the worst situation happened. Their defensive depth shrunk with the retirement of Matt Niskanin and they left their young hopeful netminder Carter Hart in need of some defensive help. The Flyers started last season with all the hope they could want but ultimately reality took over.
The Flyers ended up finishing 6th in their division and needed a lot of internal reviews to do. The franchise General Manager Chuck Fletcher made some franchise-changing moves that ultimately improved the Flyers and set the team up to make a monumental comeback campaign in the 2021-22 season.
The Flyers have had defensive depth developing in their minor league system for some time now so they needed to clear some cap space to obtain a top pair defensemen in either a trade or by free-agent signing.
They went out and traded their fan-favorite Shayne Gostisbehere for two draft picks. This allowed the flyers to get creative with their salary cap room. In a blockbuster move, the Flyers traded defensemen Philippe Myers and forward Nolan Patrick to the Nashville Predators for All-Star defensemen Ryan Ellis.
This trade allows the Flyers prospects to enter the lineup on the back end and then secures the top pair with Ryan Ellis on the blue line. With defensemen such as Ellis, Ivan Provorov, Justin Braun, Rasmus Ristolainen, Travis Sanhem, Keith Yandle, and Cam York the defensive unit for the Philadelphia Flyers is deeper and looks more secure than that of last years team.
When a franchise has a young talent like the one the Flyers have in Carter Hart, the only question that comes is how will he rebound from his slump of a season in 2020-21?
Carter Hart’s biggest issues started with the lack of defensive help in front of him. When he wasn’t in the lineup Brian Elliot did not perform up to par to help gain momentum while the young netminder was developing on his own.
The Flyers recently signed goaltender Martin Jones to help Hart secure the net for the season. Time will only tell if Hart can mentally get back to what he was in his rookie campaign for the orange and black. If Hart struggles early the Flyers will lean on NHL veteran Jones to help calm things down in the blue paint.
On July 24th, 2021 Chuck Fletcher made a big splash by trading Flyers forward Jakub Voracek to the Columbus Blue Jackets for forward Cam Atkinson.
The trade wasn’t such a surprise as the feeling around the rink was that Voracek was going to be moving on sooner rather than later. This trade will ultimately help both teams, but will deeply help the Flyers as Atkinson brings in newfound energy to the locker room and has a lot left in the tank.
All in all, the Philadelphia Flyers left last season knowing that a new standard had to be set. With their plethora of trades and signings, it is clear that the management for the Flyers has their eyes set on a much-improved team on the ice come this NHL season. Keep an eye out for the black and orange as they will wake some people up not only in their division but throughout the entire National Hockey League.
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