Friday, October 14, 2016

Flyers Season Preview

This is going to be a very exciting season. Ron Hextall's rebuild seems to continue to be a year ahead of schedule, and the infusion of youth (via Travis Konecny and Ivan Provorov) should spark some of the more experienced players to return to their peaks.

The Schenn-Giroux-Simmonds line? Bangarang.

The Konecny-Couturier-Voracek line? Your boy needs new shorts every time I think about it.

The bottom six that can create offense and play responsible defensive hockey? That's less exciting than the top six but still undeniably a good attribute.

Del Zotto-Gudas-Gostisbehere? We are in here.

Streit-Schultz-Manning? That's not terrible.

Andrew MacDonald? Fire him into the sun, that will be enjoyable for us at least.

Travis Konecny? Ivan Provorov? I just changed my shorts and I already need a new pair.

The folks over at Broad Street Hockey broke their preview down into three section:

As we usually do here, I'm just going to steal their whole entire format to kill some time at work. 

Individual Player Numbers

Claude Giroux over/under 69.5 points?

He scored just 67 points last year, but I think the consensus is he's going to improve on that number pretty substantially. The quality of the second line and the bottom six means Giroux has less of a load to handle - especially defensively - and can focus his attention (and energy) on creating offense at 5v5 and on the power play. 

Verdict: Over

Shayne Gostisbehere over/under 48.5 points?

Am I missing something here? He scored 48 points in just 64 games last year, and he's going to take on an even bigger role this year than he did last year. The power play production will still be there, and if he's ultimately paired with Michael Del Zotto then there is going to be a LOT of offense happening when they're on the ice. This one should be easy. 

Verdict: Over

Sean Couturier over/under 49.5 points?

That line comes from his 50-point pace last season (he missed some time due to injury). Clearing 40 points would give him a career high, and based on the preseason I'd expect him to have enough success with Voracek and Konecny that he becomes the 50 point player that so many goddamn idiots on the internet desperately need him to be. I think this one is a lot closer than the Giroux/Ghost props, but I like the potential of the second line and the second (Konecny-led) power play unit. 

Verdict: Over

Brayden Schenn over/under 52.5 points?

Schenn goes as Giroux goes. They'll spend their time on the same line and the same powerplay unit, and their success is undeniably intertwined. I'm nervous that he'd finish under this mark, but only because the internet will freak the fuck out and say we shouldn't have signed him to an extension. But if we have G going over 70, I think that drags Schenner up in to the high 50's. 

Verdict: Over

Ivan Provorov over/under 21 minutes average time on ice?

Last season, Del Zotto averaged 23.3 minutes, Streit averaged 21.8, Gostisbehere and MacDonald averaged 20.0, Gudas averaged 19.8, Schultz averaged 17.9, and Manning averaged 16.5. 

While Del Zotto and Gudas are out, I expect Dave Hakstol to rely heavily on the Ghost-MacDonald and Provorov-Streit pairings. Once the top pair returns from injury/suspension, I still expect Provorov to be on the second pairing. Over the course of the season, I would expect that to leave him just below 21 minutes. There's only so much time to go around. 

Verdict: Under

Steve Mason over/under 49.5 appearances?

Get the fuck out of my face with this fake goalie controversy. 

Verdict: Over

Wayne Simmonds over/under 13.5 power play goals?

Hear me out on this one. I think Simmonds will score more than he did last year, but I think he'll fall back a bit in terms of power play scoring. First, I think the second unit is going to have enough success that they'll steal a decent percentage of the first unit's goals. And second, I think the team really needs to get Jake Voracek cooking this year, and power play attention is one way to achieve that. Love you, Wayne, but I think it might be single digits in the PPG column this year. 

Verdict: Under

Sanheim/Morin combined over/under 0.5 NHL games played before 1/1/2017?

It seems like every Flyers fan has different ideas (and plans) for these two young defensemen. They both show flashes of NHL readiness, though those flashes are very different. Morin is generally solid in his own end, and his physical tools are undeniable. Sanheim's tools are also undeniable, though they almost exclusively reveal themselves on the offensive end of the ice. 

The answer to this prop comes down to one question: do Sanheim/Morin outplay fellow Phantoms TJ Brennan/Will O'Neill to the point where Hextall feels comfortable calling them up as injury fill-ins? I think not, and I think this is a full AHL season for both of them. 

Verdict: Under

Power play percentage plus penalty kill percentage over/under 100.7?

Last season, the power play was successful 18.9% of the time (11th in the league) and the penalty kill was successful 80.5% of the time (20th in the league). That's a total of 99.4, and I expect both units to improve this season. The top seven penalty-killing teams in the league are above 84%. I don't know if the improvement for the Flyers will be that steep, but it'll be enough to get over this 100.7 line. 

Verdict: Over

Over/under 40.5 goals from all Flyers defensemen?

Ghost scored 17 last year, Del Zotto has scored 10 twice in his career, and Streit's decline still has him averaging about 10 goals per season during his time in Philadelphia. The issue is even if those three duplicate their best (reasonable) seasons, they still need help from Provorov, Manning, MacDonald, and Schultz. That's too many things that have to go right. 

Verdict: Under

Over/under 8.5 points in the 8 games against the Capitals and Penguins?

Two home games and two road games against each team. A lot of hatred to go around between all three teams. 

Can I saw something outrageous though? The Caps-Pens game on NBCSN last night gave me a lot of hope for the season. That was supposed to be a big rivalry night between two teams that hate each other and want to beat the shit out of each other. They were lazy, their passes weren't crisp, and the goaltending was largely poor. 

Sidney Crosby is concussed, the Penguins Cup run was a fluke, and the Capitals are all too fucking lazy. The Flyers might sweep all 16 points from these eight games. 

Verdict: Over.

Over/under 6.5 shootout losses for the Flyers?

I'm going to let my internet friend Kurt answer this one:
UNDER. I feel like Charlie Brown going to kick the football here, but this is the year that the Flyers don’t totally blow at the shootout. This is the year.
Charlie Brown is eventually going to kick the shit out of that football.

Over/under 1.5 trades made during the season?

The trendy thing to say here is "oh yeah they'll trade Schultz and Streit and call up Sanheim and Morin" but that is a bad opinion. This team is better than last year's team, and they're in a position to make a playoff run. Why are they going to be shedding veteran blueline depth for mid-level draft picks? Even if you can get a second round pick for Streit (you can't) and a third round pick for Schultz (hahahaha), wouldn't you rather have those two guys around to take a shot this Spring?

Verdict: Under

Over/under 0.5 contract extensions given to Steve Mason & Michal Neuvirth during the season?

There are three strategies here:

  1. Extend both Mason and Neuvirth, and keep Stolarz in the AHL for the forseeable future
  2. Extend Mason, and roll with a Mason/Stolarz tandem going forward
  3. Extend Neuvirth, and utilize him as the 1B to Stolarz' 1A going forward
There is not a "let's just have Stolarz without any sort of backup or insurance plan and see where that takes us."

Verdict: Over

Over/under 3.5 home playoff games this season?

Ah, this is really the biggest question of them all, isn't it? We hosted three last year. One of them went well, one of them went poorly, and one of them will forever be mentioned along with batteries, Santa Claus, and That Dickhead Rangers Fan Outside Of Geno's Who Got Beat Up. 

There's no doubt that we should improve on last year's performance, both in the regular season and postseason. The biggest issue is the Metro Division playoffs are going to go through both Washington and Pittsburgh. That's a daunting pair to face back-to-back, no matter how much I can pretend they both stink. 

I'd be an asshole if I went under here, so let's fire up that second round playoff series. 

Verdict: Over

Travis Konecny

They split The Kid (TK, get it?) into his own preview post on BSH. They polled their readers about how many Games, Goals, and Assists they think Konecny will total. The final tallies were 71 games, 18 goals, and 28 assists (for 46 points). 

They followed the Konecny prediction with a very handy chart that featured every player in the last 6 years to debut in his Draft+2 year. The "average" season for all of those guys was 66 games, 10 goals, and 24 points. The "average" for guys that I consider good was 61 games, 11 goals, 16 assists, and 27 points. For TK to have the best season ever of any of those guys, he'd play 82 games and finish with 24 goals, 29 assists, and 53 points. Flyers fans expect him to be pretty damn close to the best 19 year old since 2010. 

We'll see how that goes. 

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