Broad Street Bullies hoping to Fly

by Russ on May 23, 2017
Claude Giroux - USA TODAY Sports Images

 

The Philadelphia Flyers were well represented at the World Championship with 10 players donning their countries colors. Five suited up for the silver-medal-winning Team Canada, Claude Giroux, who was named team captain, Wayne Simmonds, Brayden Schenn, Sean Couturier and Travis Konecny. Jakub Voracek and Radko Gudas played for the Czech Republic. Defenseman, Ivan Provorov played for Russia, while Valtteri Filppula suited up for Finland, and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare played a key role for France.

 

In addition to the players representing their respective countries, Flyers management also filled various significant roles at this tournament. Ron Hextall was the Team Canada general manager, and Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol served as an assistant coach for Canada.

 

Travis Konecny

Who could have imagined that Konecny would outpoint Claude Giroux at the World Championship? The line of Konecny-Mitch MarnerBrayden Point found some chemistry early on, and head coach Jon Cooper left them together for the duration of the tournament. Konecny recorded eight points (all assists) in 10 games, and that kid line performed very well on the world stage.

In his final year of junior hockey, Konecny scored 101 points in 60 games. Konecny made the jump right from junior to the NHL this past season, garnering 28 points in 70 NHL games. The guy appears to have it all, he can skate, shoot and has that competitive fire needed to succeed at the highest level.

Konecny slots nicely into the top six forwards in Philadelphia, but the top power-play unit is pretty set, so he is stuck with mop-up minutes with the man advantage. With the confidence gained from his World Championship experience, look for Konecny to take it to the next level in his sophomore season.

 

Shayne Gostisbehere

After the defenseman recorded an amazing 46 points in 64 games (a 59-point pace) in his rookie NHL campaign, Gostisbehere fell back to Earth a little this season. Still, he recorded 39 points in 76 games — not exactly bad for a sophomore slump.

The 24-year-old rearguard is slated to become a restricted free agent, but I have no doubt he’ll be back in the Flyers fold with either a long-term deal or more likely, a shorter bridge pact.

Gostisbehere led the team in power-play time on ice, averaging 3:49 minutes per game, and his 19:35 overall minutes per game put him squarely in the top four on the team. He also finished the year strong, registering eight points in his final 10 games.

Can Gostisbehere get back to the points-per-game mark that he put up in his rookie season? Will Provorov take away the lone defenseman spot on the top power play unit? I see the Flyers improving next season and believe Gostisbehere can threaten the 50-point mark.

 

Ivan Provorov

It’s rare to make the NHL as a teenager. It’s rarer still for a defenseman to turn that trick. Provorov finished his junior career by recording 21 goals and 73 points in 62 games for the Brandon Wheat Kings of the WHL. This season, he not only made the NHL as a 19-year-old, he also led his team in average time on ice, logging nearly 22 minutes per game, including 1:41 with the man advantage. He also played in all 82 contests while scoring 30 points.

Provorov played for the bronze medalist Russian squad at the recent World Championship. He wasn’t able to put up big offensive numbers, recording three points in 10 games, and his ice time varied from game to game. Chalk that up to risk averse coaching and more senior defensemen being given a larger role.

The guy is clearly a stud, but this is a case where his real-world talent makes him slightly less valuable in fantasy, as Gostisbehere will likely continue receiving top power-play minutes, while Provorov’s minutes are put to better use at even strength and on the top penalty-kill unit. The young Russian could eventually take over the top power-play duties, however, until that happens, his fantasy upside is limited to 40, maybe 45 points.

 

Claude Giroux

Giroux’s goal and point totals declined for the fourth straight season in 2016-17:

 

Season

GP

G

A

Points

2016-17

82

14

44

58

2015-16

78

22

45

67

2014-15

81

25

48

73

2013-14

82

28

58

86

 

Okay, so that’s not exactly a great trend. He did however, finish fourth in the NHL in face-off wins (977) and logged the most total power-play time on ice in the NHL while registering the fourth most power-play points (31).

Giroux acquitted himself fairly well at the World Championship, recording six points in 10 games for Team Canada. Although it certainly wasn’t a dominant performance by any means, I have a feeling that Giroux will rebound to the 20-goal and 70-point marks next season. I’m not as confident in making this prediction as I’d like because all the indicators are pointing down, but call it a hunch, I think the 29-year-old isn’t quite done yet.

 

Michal Neuvirth/Steve Mason

 

It appears as though Mason has played his last game as a Flyer. With the Flyers signing Neuvirth to a two-year contract extension before this past season’s trade deadline, it’s hard to imagine Mason re-signing in Philadelphia. It is likely for the best for everyone that he finds a new team to tend the crease for.

I can’t imagine Philadelphia has the confidence to go with a Neuvirth–Anthony Stolarz tandem this coming season. Neuvirth’s numbers last year were worse than Mason’s, going 11-11-1 with a 2.82 goals-against average and sub-par 0.891 save percentage.

Stolarz looked capable in seven NHL appearances this year. He sported a 2-1-1 record with a 2.07 goals-against average and 0.928 save percentage along with one shutout. His AHL record was lukewarm at best, though as he went 18-9-1 with a 2.92 goals-against average and 0.911 save percentage.

Mason will be looking for a team that will give him a fair shake at the starting gig. I won’t list all the teams that might be interested, but at the right price, the 28-year-old unrestricted free agent could be a decent bargain and a netminder to target as the No. 3 fantasy goalie for your virtual club.