Flyers Focus: Is This Rock Bottom?


The most comprehensive weekly look at the Philadelphia Flyers on the internet. 

Lace Up

Flash back to October 26. You’ve accepted an Eagles loss to the undefeated Carolina Panthers. You are busy eating as much Halloween candy you can while still having enough to hand out to the neighborhood kids. The Royals and Mets are about to get things started in the Fall Classic and the Flyers just took down the rival Rangers in a shootout to improve to 4-2-1 on the young season.

All was good.

Since then, success has been hard to come by for Dave Hakstol and the Flyers. The team has taken a loss in seven of its last eight contests. Earning just four of a possible 16 points and dropping from fourth place to sixth in the Metropolitan Division, this could be rock-bottom–at least we hope it is.

Following a decisive 3-0 win over the Winnipeg Jets over the weekend, the Orange and Black traveled back to Philadelphia to kick off a stretch where they’ll play four of their next five games at home. The Colorado Avalanche came to town on Tuesday taunting the Western Conference’s worst record at 4-9-1.

The victory in Winnipeg could have been something to build on. A springboard to better play, if you will.

Instead, the Flyers were dominated. They gave up 40 shots, allowed four goals and somehow managed to be kept off of the scoreboard against a team that had given up an average of three goals per game this season. There wasn’t much to say following the defeat. They were flat out dominated on home ice by an opponent that had lost eight of its last 10.

Another closed door meeting was held, Hakstol supervised melee training at practice on Wednesday in effort to instill a sense of competition into his players and even more questions surfaced about whether this roster is even capable of taking a mere step forward at any point this season.



During the team’s 1-5-2 run, the Flyers have scored just 1.5 goals per game. First line players Claude Giroux, Michael Raffl and Jake Voracek have combined to score just five goals in a combined 45 games played this season. It’s one thing to have a lack of depth scoring when your top line produces. It’s another when you’re getting production from nobody.


Steve Mason hasn’t started a game since November 2nd in Vancouver. Part of the reasoning behind his absence is his lofty 3.34 GAA this season. This is a number that the keeper will aim to shrink as the season plays on. Given Mason’s 7-3-2 career record against Washington, don’t be surprised if the Flyers’ supposed number one goalie gets the nod on Thursday night against Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals.


The Flyers did lose, indeed. Vincent Lecavalier, last week’s winner of the ‘I’m No Longer An NHL Player’ Award, is still winless on the season. I decided to take Panotch’s tweet a bit further. Since joining the team in 2013-14 season, Lecavalier has played in 132 games. He’s recorded 28 goals, 30 assists (0.43 PTS/GM) and a -24 rating. The team is a combined 59-51-22 (.447 Win%) in games that Lecavalier takes part in.

Section 140

Despite a tough luck performance against the Avs, Michal Neuvirth is tending some spectacular goal so far this season.  The Czech keeper entered Tuesday night’s game leading the league in both shutouts (three) and SV% (0.945). Each of those statistics is incredibly gaudy at this point in the season. The troubling part? He’s had to record shutouts for each of his three victories.

This might make you feel a bit better about the big, fat goose egg under the “G” column beside Jake Voracek’s name. This stat table released by former Daily News Flyers beat writer Frank Seravalli shows that Voracek isn’t the only big-money player not producing this season. At his current clip, Voracek is on pace to record 27 points this season, all assists.

Ovechkin can best be characterized as a problem for defensive units across the NHL. Ovechkin needs just one more goal to pass newly-minted Hall of Famer Sergei Fedorov for most goals ever by a Russian-born player. That is an impressive feat–and it’s even more impressive that Ovechkin is going to do it at age 30. He’s got eight goals in 13 games so far this season and has a chance at his fourth ever 50-goal campaign.

Speaking of Hall of Fame inductions…

Chris Pronger‘s time with the Flyers was cut short due to an unshakeable case of post-concussion symptoms. There have been very few defenseman to play at the level Pronger did for as long as he did. The Flyers run to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2010 was a magical one and had they pulled it off, Pronger would have been the recipient of the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff MVP.


The Flyers get a little bit of everything in the next week. The aforementioned Ovechkin will make his first trip of the season to the Wells Fargo Center on Thursday evening.  The Flyers get a chance at one of the league’s hottest teams as Washington comes to town with a 10-4-0 record which is second in the Metropolitan. The Caps are 7-3-0 in their last 10 contests.

Following that clash of divisional foes, the Flyers travel south to Raleigh, NC for a date with the Hurricanes. Carolina is typically below the Flyers in the standings, as is the case this season. However, last year the Canes spelled trouble for Craig Berube’s club. The Flyers struggled with their new division mates going 1-3-1 a year ago and being outscored 10-4 in the last three matchups between the two clubs.

And finally, the Los Angeles Kings come to Philadelphia next Tuesday. A matchup with the Kings doesn’t quite have that same luster as it did when it meant Richie and Carts were coming to town. Mike Richards is currently spending his time skating with his old junior club as he (maybe?) attempts an NHL comeback following the termination of his contract this past summer.  Jeff Carter, meanwhile, is scoring a point per game for the Kings who are second in the Pacific Division with 18 points at time of posting.

Next: Phillies Rumors: Club Looking to Add Two Starting Pitchers

T.J. Fiorillo can be followed on Twitter @TjFiorillo and read his weekly column every Thursday on