We are seven days away from the start of the NHL season. The scheduling of your Fantasy Hockey drafts have begun. The DraftKit is on sale and it is time to start previewing the 2016-17 NHL season.
I will be previewing two teams every day and each preview will consist of: Projected Line Combinations, a breakdown of each team’s top Fantasy assets, a look at their goaltending situation and 2016-17 NHL Standings projection.
If you don’t want to wait for the previews, buy our 2016-17 DraftKit—which has previews for every team as well as projections for over 300 players and goalies. You will get rankings and projections on here over the next few weeks, but why wait, when you can get it all right now for just $4.95?
Let’s take a look at the Philadelphia Flyers.
|Dale Weise – RW – (from CHI)||Ryan White – RW – (to ARI)|
|Boyd Gordon – C – (from ARI)||Sam Gagner – C – (to CBJ)|
After missing the playoffs in 2014-15, the Philadelphia Flyers made it back to the postseason last year on the back of a 41-27-14 record. However, they were bounced in the first round for the second time in as many playoff appearances.
Dave Hakstol is back behind the bench for his second season. His Flyers surprisingly ranked 22nd in the NHL in scoring (2.57 GF/PG) after being 12th over the three previous years combined (2.72). They also finished 12th in goals against (2.56) with the 11th best power-play (18.9%) and 20th penalty kill (80.5%). All of those numbers speak to the Flyers being a mostly mediocre team and this summer they did little ti improve their team.
Up front they continue to be led by the trio of Claude Giroux, Wayne Simmonds and Jakub Voracek. From 2010-14, Giroux led all players in points (303), but his numbers have dipped a bit over the last two years—his 140 combined points is good for 13th. Simmonds finally cracked the 30-goal plateau last season and has scored 89 goals (12th in the NHL) over the last three years, with 42 of them coming on the power play (3rd). Voracek is more of a playmaker than a goal-scorer having ranked 10th in the NHL with 166 assists over the last four years. That trio is one of the best in the NHL and the rest of their top-6 is rounded out by 2015-16 breakout star Brayden Schenn, two-way centre Sean Couturier and Michael Raffl. The only real additions the Flyers made this season was Dale Weise and Boyd Gordon, who will bolster their bottom-6. Lastly, Nick Cousins appeared in 36 games with the Flyers last year but is expected to land a permanent role this year. Cousins has a sound two-way game, making him a solid option for their third line centre.
On the blueline, the Flyers are hopeful that second-year defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere can take step forward after bursting onto the scene in 2015-16. The 23-year-old had 17 goals and 29 assists (46 points) in just 64 games last season, but his 11.2 shooting percentage will likely take a hit. Outside of Gostisbehere, Mark Streit, Michael Del Zotto and rookie hopeful Ivan Provorov are their only point producers. Prior to last year, Streit had only missed one game over five years, but is coming off of an injury plagued season. The 38-year-old’s best days are behind him, but he remains a low-end No.3/high-end No.4 fantasy option thanks to his power-play usage. Del Zotto is a true injury risk, having missed 48 games in two years with the Flyers, which really hurts his fantasy appeal. Provorov was the seventh overall pick in 2015 and is expected to make the Flyers’ opening night roster. Provorov picked up 134 points (36G / 98A) over the last two seasons in the WHL, showcasing his high-end offensive potential.
Steve Mason is back as the Flyers’ No.1, but Michal Neuvirth is a close No.2 having posted better numbers than Mason last year. Neuvirth ended up tied for fourth in save percentage (.924) and tied for ninth in goals against average (2.27) while winning 18 of his 29 starts. Mason on the other hand was tied for 21st in SV% (.918) and 26th in GAA (2.51). The two of them form an above-average duo and should help lead the Flyers back into the postseason in 2016-17.
Overall, the Flyers are basically the same team as they were last year with a little more depth in their bottom-6. They find themselves in a very difficult Metropolitan Division, which will make it difficult for the Flyers’ to finish in the top three, but they still have a great shot to be a Wild Card team.
Flyers in the DFO Top 275:
- 15. Claude Giroux – C
- 50. Wayne Simmonds – LW
- 58. Jakub Voracek – RW
- 77. Shayne Gostisbehere – D
- 83. Brayden Schenn – LW
- 145. Steve Mason – G
- 161. Mark Streit – D
- 201. Sean Couturier – C
- 212. Ivan Provorov – D
- 257. Michal Neuvirth – G
2016-17 Season Projection:
The Flyers will fight for a playoff spot in the Metropolitan Division, but they look like they’re going to have to deal with being a Wild Card team, because it’s tough to see them finishing above the Washington Capitals, Pittsburgh Penguins or either team from New York.