After the NHL’s All-Star break, the Philadelphia Flyers are fifth in the Metropolitan Division with 56 points, which is currently good enough for a playoff spot. Seven teams in the Metro are within five points – the Hurricanes with 52 and the Blue Jackets with 57; the Capitals lead the division with 63 points. Needless to say, things are tight.
Flyers general manager Ron Hextall has preached patience during his tenure, and I don’t expect that to change this year. There will be a time for the Flyers to be buyers, but it won’t be in 2018.
Three Flyers players are in the NHL’s top 20 in scoring: Claude Giroux, Jake Voracek and Sean Couturier. Recently, the team has been building some fantastic chemistry. While the core group is getting older, Giroux being the oldest turning 30 this year, by no means are the Flyers an “old team.”
Hextall has built a great farm system for the Flyers and has two first-round picks in this year’s entry draft, which will strengthen that system even more. They also have some great prospects in Travis Sanheim, Oskar Lindblom, Morgan Frost, German Rubstov and Carter Hart. The general manager is building a team here that is going to be good for a very long time and now is not the time for the Flyers to put all their chips in one basket to go for it all.
Would it be great for a long Flyers playoff run? Absolutely. However, the Flyers are in a situation where it’s not smart for them to make that move. They have a great young core with Couturier (25), Ivan Provorov (21), Travis Konecny (20), Shayne Gostisbehere (24), Robert Hägg (22) and Nolan Patrick (19). That is the future of the Flyers and when they are hitting their prime is when it is going to be time to buy. Giroux and Voracek are locked up for a long time so there is no need to rush into a situation that may hurt the team in the long run.
All this being said, if the Flyers have an opportunity to get better without hurting their future, I fully believe that Hextall will make the decision he deems best. While it is possible that the Flyers could add a piece for a playoff run, I wouldn’t count on it.
Maybe next year.