Philadelphia Flyers fans are filled with excitement as their team opens the 2023-24 NHL season against the Columbus Blue Jackets in less than a week. After missing the playoffs for a third straight campaign, the fanbase could use a strong start to the new season.
Thursday's game against the Blue Jackets reveals what John Tortorella has in store for his second season on the Philadelphia bench. He'll want to get things right in Year 2, meaning he must ice the best possible lineup to begin the 2023-24 schedule.
With that being said, here's what the Flyers' lineup should look like on opening night next week.
Line #1: Travis Konecny — Sean Couturier — Owen Tippett
After missing the entire 2022-23 campaign with a back injury, Sean Couturier is read to be the Flyers' top center once again. The 30-year-old was good for 30-plus goals and 70-plus points in his prime, so it would be nice to see him come close to that level again (assuming that his injury woes are behind him).
Couturier needs talented linemates to help him return to form and few are better than Travis Konecny. The London, Ontario native just recorded a career-high 31 goals while matching his personal best of 61 points and is likely the Flyers' best player at this point.
Rounding out the first line is Owen Tippett, who took a major jump last year. He went from recording 17 goals and 39 points in his 115 career games to 27 goals and 49 points in 77 outings last year. Assuming his progression continues, I could easily see him scoring 35-40 goals this year.
Line #2: Joel Farabee — Noah Cates — Cam Atkinson
Joel Farabee continues to be a bright spot for the Flyers. He just recorded 15-plus goals and 34-plus points for the third consecutive campaign, leaving Philly fans wondering if he can take the next leap this year. Considering how he's a former first-round pick, it's time for Farabee to live up to his draft potential.
Noah Cates has proven himself to be one of the team's best defensive forwards, if not the very best, earning Selke and Lady Byng votes as a rookie. He also showed that he has an offensive touch, amassing 13 goals and 38 points over the 82-game slate.
After missing the entire 2022-23 campaign with a herniated disk, Cam Atkinson is back. The 34-year-old tallied 20 goals and 50 points the last time we saw him two seasons ago, leaving time to tell if second-line minutes help him return to that level.