At the 2023 NHL All-Star Break, John Tortorella has his squad astatine a grounds of 21-21-9. Not a winning oregon a losing record. The Philadelphia Flyers are connected neutral ice.
This clip past season, the Flyers were 15-22-8 successful a play divided betwixt Alain Vigneault and Mike Yeo. At the 2022 NHL All-Star Break, Philadelphia possessed 38pts successful the wide standings.
This existent rendition has a warring spirit. They’ve played resilient hockey, not straying from their crippled and coming backmost often against opponents. A flimsy uptick successful wins from past play by the NHL All-Star Break shows Tortorella’s unit are crafting a rebuild from the footers, mounting a instauration moving forward. At times, this squad is outright surprising.
“This squad needs to beryllium built from the footers. We’re not adjacent successful the foundation.”John Tortorella; 12/1/2022
The Flyers are six points retired of a wildcard berth in the archetypal twelvemonth of a rebuild.
Ahead of the 2022-2023 NHL season, Connor Bedard seemed similar a morganatic prize that Philadelphia would beryllium competing. Chuck Fletcher didn’t marque a determination for Johnny Gaudreau, opting to clasp onto James van Riemsdyk, past swapped a batch of superior for Tony DeAngelo earlier adding Nicolas Deslauriers and reacquiring Justin Braun. “Fire Chuck” was, and inactive is, the mantra for astir of Broad Street. At a time, the blistery spot was molten but cooled erstwhile the Flyers recovered a rhythm. What is the authorities of hockey successful Philadelphia astatine the 2023 NHL All-Star Break?
Dave Scott is hands-off, which is good if the radical making hockey decisions are correct. Fletcher hasn’t had a bully off-season since earlier the 2019-2020 season.
Being self-aware is simply a prime of a large owner. For the Flyers, self-awareness is non-existent. Scott apt doesn’t marque a determination surrounding the aboriginal of the GM relation successful Philadelphia, whether Fletcher keeps his presumption oregon not, earlier the extremity of 2022-2023. At the midway constituent of the season, it’s not a spoken taxable from the beforehand office.
Scott besides owns the Philadelphia Wings, wherever Paul Day is the dual GM and HC of the franchise. Unlike Fletcher, Day makes the close decisions to tally a nonrecreational lacrosse squad successful the NLL. The Wings achieved their archetypal playoff berth a play ago.
The larger entity owned by Scott, the Flyers, is disconnected the heels of their second-worst play successful franchise history.
We’ve watched Philadelphia sludge done a ten-game losing streak successful 2022-2023. Since then, we’ve besides witnessed this squad spell 8-2-0 aft Christmas. Tortorella is getting the astir retired of his lineup, contempt not having the apical endowment astatine his disposal. The caller occurrence doesn’t person overmuch to bash with Fletcher. It has adjacent little to bash with Scott, echoing the sentiment fans person for Comcast Spectacor to merchantability the team.
The support standing for Fletcher arsenic the GM of the Flyers had a drop-off lone Carson Wentz could understand. In 2017, Wentz had an MVP-caliber season. In 2019-2020, the Flyers were an elite NHL team. Both nose-dived into obscurity. Only Howie Roseman was aware, alleviating the Eagles of their issue.
What if Scott does escaped Philadelphia of Fletcher? Is Daniel Briere the close replacement? Technically, yes. He is nether the thumb of Comcast Spectacor with the Maine Mariners, but his hockey decisions helped the Mariners amended each season, including their archetypal playoff berth successful 2021-2022.
The Flyers are 21-21-9, however. It’s not needfully an betterment to unafraid different play for Fletcher. It does bargain him time, apt finishing the 2022-2023 season.
Aside from Fletcher, Philadelphia mightiness person a amended location than we realize.
Player development, drafting, and the Lehigh Valley Phantoms look to inclination successful the close direction. All of those are captious to a rebuild, with oregon without Fletcher progressive long-term.
Everyone who came into the 2022-2023 play with wishes of the Flyers tanking apt believes Tortorella is the worst coaching prosecute for the situation. However, that couldn’t beryllium further from the truth.
It’s the opposite; Tortorella was the astir captious acquisition.
His lineup isn’t getting pushed around. They’re not the astir talented lineup by far, but Tortorella has his players keeping choky passim astir of the season. Just nether fractional of the full losses (including overtime) were by a one-goal margin. Additionally, Brad Shaw and Kim Dillabaugh are doing a good occupation accentuating the positives.
Tied with the Montreal Canadiens, Philadelphia shares the NHL pb with 9 shorthanded goals scored. The ‘power-kill’ is flexing its muscle. It’s the astir improved portion of peculiar teams, down a radical of forwards caller to sidesplitting penalties and coagulated goaltending.
The Flyers would beryllium person to a top-overall draught enactment without the close coaching staff. With Tortorella, tanking was ne'er an option. It is the close determination for Philadelphia, navigating unsmooth waters to spot what stays afloat. How other volition Tortorella cognize what helium wants oregon doesn’t for the future? Missing retired connected Bedard by playing an honorable play alternatively of intentionally tanking is beneficial.
Again, the Flyers are without their dense hitters. Sean Couturier, Cam Atkinson, and Bobby Brink are forwards that would spell a agelong mode with the contributions we’ve witnessed passim the lines. Ryan Ellis would assistance stabilize the defense, which is each it ever required. The discourtesy ranks 26th successful the NHL, which would amended with those fewer talents. Defensively, Philadelphia is 20th successful the NHL.
In the lack of a steadfast lineup, we’ve watched prospects find a groove astatine the NHL level. Noah Cates and Wade Allison both marque the astir of their time, thriving nether Tortorella. Additionally, Cam York mightiness beryllium the apical brace defenseman primed to spouse with Ivan Provorov. Tortorella challenged him to enactment connected the carnal borderline of his crippled by not naming him to the opening nighttime lineup, but past York figured it out.
That doesn’t include the favorable goaltending concern Tortorella has with Carter Hart and Samuel Ersson.
As those prospects bloom, different veterans are rekindling:
- Kevin Hayes; NHL All-Star C/LW
- Travis Konecny leads the squad successful goal-scoring
- Owen Tippett and Morgan Frost tie for 2nd successful even-strength goal-scoring
- Scott Laughton is 2nd successful powerplay goal-scoring
- Rasmus Ristolainen is playing the champion defence of his career
- Nick Seeler is playing the champion hockey of his career
Tortorella recovered the footers to his instauration successful the archetypal twelvemonth of a rebuild. Whether oregon not the remainder of the operation requires Fletcher isn’t up to him.
(AP Photo/Derik Hamilton)