Flyers

2019-20 Flyers, Stanley Cup predictions

2019-20 Flyers, Stanley Cup predictions

Alain Vigneault called it a new era of Flyers hockey.

The Flyers haven't won a postseason series since 2012 and are coming off a 2018-19 season in which they missed the playoffs with their fewest points (82) in a full year since 2006-07.

Is 2019-20 looking like a big bounce-back year?

After providing our Flyers Fearless Forecast, NBC Sports Philadelphia's Brooke Destra, Katie Emmer and Jordan Hall give their season predictions:

Destra

Flyers prediction/outlook

The Flyers are making the playoffs ... comfortably.

The talent spread out across the Metropolitan may make it the toughest division to beat in the league and many believe the Flyers will underperform.

I believe they will do the opposite. In fact, when looking at the roster, the Flyers have one of the most complete teams and will fly under the radar for quite some time. It's OK, let them doubt this team's abilities.

This is the season everything clicks. From the depth at forward to Carter Hart, legitimate veteran presence on the blue line and new faces behind the bench — the Flyers are going to surprise many.

Let's go with a 43-25-14 record, giving the Flyers their first 100-point season since 2011-12, when they tallied 103 points.

Another pro, something that has been long overdue — they make it past the first round of the playoffs. However, they don't advance to the Eastern Conference Final ... this season. If they have the incredibly proficient season I believe they will, another banner will be in the team's future very soon.

Stanley Cup Final prediction

Last season showed that once the playoffs start, it is anyone's game. No one saw the Blues winning it all and certainly did not see the Blue Jackets sweeping the Lightning in the first round.

If that is the case again, keep an eye out on the Dallas Stars. I believe they will beat out the Golden Knights and represent the West during the Cup Final.

I think Alex Ovechkin leads the Capitals to the Final for the second time in three seasons after taking down the Bruins in a seven-game series.

There, the Caps will hoist Lord Stanley after six hard-fought games for their second win in franchise history — but on home ice this time around.

Emmer

Flyers prediction/outlook

Well, the Flyers not only need to make playoffs because they need to make playoffs, but they also have to continue the playoff trend! Since the 2011-12 season, the orange and black have a pattern of making, then missing the playoffs. The good news is, this year is the year to make.

Aside from the trend, I think it is completely doable.

I’m an optimist with this team. I’m predicting the Flyers will finish 47-30-5 with 99 points at the end of the season and will be top three in the Metro. 

I see them taking on the Islanders in the first round and if my senses are correct, this will also be the year they make it past the first round. They’ll pass the Isles in Game 6.

After that, I’m predicting they go up against the Pens and fall short, 4-1, in the series. 

Stanley Cup Final prediction

This year, I see the Sharks and the Penguins in the Final. 

Sharks will take the series in Game 7 at SAP Center and Joe Thornton will finally get his championship at the age of 40. I’m predicting Nathan MacKinnon wins the Hart Trophy as league MVP and the Art Ross Trophy goes to Nikita Kucherov for the second straight year. 

Hall

Flyers prediction/outlook

The Flyers had an underrated offseason. It wasn't flashy but it was productive.

With the uncertainty on Nolan Patrick (migraine disorder), the Kevin Hayes signing is looking better and better. The 27-year-old changes the game in all areas and gives the Flyers a jolt down the middle. The Flyers look deeper, especially if Patrick can return and a youngster steps up in the bottom six.

Much of the Flyers' hopes will rely on the team's defense. Can Shayne Gostisbehere get back to being the point-producing threat he was in 2017-18? Will Ivan Provorov look like a No. 1 defenseman again? And just how much will 32-year-olds Matt Niskanen and Justin Braun impact the group?

The right coaching staff is in place to push this team into the playoffs. Let's go with 44-29-9 for 97 points and a wild-card berth. The Flyers will lose in the first round, making the offseason and 2020-21 that much more important to break some franchise trends.

Stanley Cup Final prediction

The Lightning will have all sorts of motivation this season following last year's first-round playoff flop. That type of embarrassment fuels a team and can make for a great sports story.

Tampa Bay will write that story by beating the Blues in the Stanley Cup Final.

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Flyers' Oskar Lindblom diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma

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Flyers' Oskar Lindblom diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma

Oskar Lindblom, a 23-year-old forward on the Flyers, is expected to miss the remainder of the 2019-20 season after being diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, the team announced Friday afternoon.

Ewing’s sarcoma is a rare form of cancer that occurs in bones or in the soft tissue around the bones.

Below is a statement from Flyers president of hockey operations and general manager Chuck Fletcher:

Philadelphia Flyers forward Oskar Lindblom has been diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma by leading specialists at the University of Pennsylvania. He will undergo further testing and evaluation next week and begin treatment immediately thereafter. He is not expected to return to play for the remainder of the season. The Flyers will do everything possible to support Oskar and assist him in securing the best care available. Out of respect for Oskar and his family, the team will have no further comment at this time and asks that Oskar be afforded a period of privacy so that he may focus his efforts on his treatment and a return to full health.

Lindblom, a native of Sweden, had been one of the Flyers’ top players through 30 games, scoring 11 goals and 18 points.

He was selected by the Flyers in the fifth round of the 2014 draft and has blossomed into a promising player.

Always smiling, positive and humble, Lindblom is beloved by his teammates. His rise from a fifth-round pick to a difference-making player has been a product of hard work.

After scoring 17 goals last season, sixth most among NHL rookies, Lindblom went back to Gävle, Sweden, to train all summer with his old team Brynäs IF.

"It’s like five minutes from my house," Lindblom said during training camp.

“It was nice to be back home for a bit, just relaxed, had some time with friends and family, so it was great.”

It didn't take long for the Flyers' new coaching staff to fall in love with Lindblom's game as the winger raced out of the chute, scoring in the team's season opener and playing a major role ever since.

“I didn’t know much about Oskar before coming here, but what I’ve found is a real smart, two-way player, hard-working young man," Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault said Oct. 26.

In the summer of 2017, Lindblom talked about his climb within the Flyers' system.

"I just think about it by myself, like fifth-rounder, I just felt like I can play and I can be on this level," Lindblom said.

By the age of 23, he has more than made it on the highest level.

Below is the outpouring of support for Lindblom, via social media:

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Shorthanded Flyers can't keep up with Avalanche to begin road trip

Shorthanded Flyers can't keep up with Avalanche to begin road trip

BOX SCORE

From the moment it was announced that Oskar Lindblom would miss Wednesday night's game, the Flyers' chances at Pepsi Center felt bleak.

No Lindblom, no Travis Konecny and facing the NHL's highest-scoring team in its building was not a promising script for the Flyers, who lost to the Avalanche, 3-1.

In stretches this season, the Flyers have struggled to bury goals. And that has been with Lindblom and Konecny — their two leading goal-scorers at 11 apiece — in the lineup.

The Flyers (17-9-5) did some good things but Colorado finished plays behind its world class talent up top.

The Avalanche (20-8-3) are on an eight-game point streak (7-0-1) in which they've scored 4.13 goals per game.

• Without Konecny (concussion) and Lindblom (upper body), the Flyers had difficulty putting the puck in the net. They were going to have to put up some goals against the Avalanche, who entered scoring an NHL-best 3.70 goals per game. For the second time in the last three games, the Flyers scored only one goal.

The lone tally came from Claude Giroux when the Flyers were trailing 3-0 with just over five minutes remaining in regulation.

• Following a first period in which they survived, especially in the back half of it thanks to Carter Hart, the Flyers actually played a solid second period. At one point during the middle stanza, the Flyers were outshooting Colorado 11-0.

But as the Flyers kept pushing to no avail, the Avalanche changed the whole complexion of the period with one play by their two best weapons. Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen hooked up for a nasty marker to make it 2-0 with 3:55 left in the period, a deflating goal to allow for the Flyers (see highlights).

Considering Colorado was 14-0-1 when leading after the middle period, the Flyers were in a serious hole, even after a hard-working period.

• Hart, who entered 8-2-2 with a 1.96 goals-against average and .928 save percentage over his last 12 starts, faced the Avalanche for the first time in his career.

He made a highlight-reel save and gave the Flyers a fighting chance in tough circumstances.

The 21-year-old has been impressive during the first period all season long, allowing the Flyers to find their legs and rhythm. He converted 12 of his 24 saves in the opening stanza against Colorado.

On the Avalanche's first-period goal, Scott Laughton won a defensive zone faceoff but the Flyers failed to clear the puck, resulting in Matt Calvert's tally.

Rantanen added his second goal early in the third period and that was pretty much the game.

Colorado goalie Pavel Francouz, who came in 5-0-1 with a 2.36 goals-against average and .926 save percentage over his last eight games (six starts), finished with 32 stops.

• When Philippe Myers (back spasms, day to day) is ready to return, Robert Hagg should be the odd man out on defense. Shayne Gostisbehere has found some of his offensive mojo and Myers has shown way too much promise to be sitting when healthy.

A stay-at-home guy like Hagg was far too noticeable against the Avalanche. He committed a penalty and was a minus-2 in 15:21 minutes.

• David Kase was summoned to Denver this morning to make his NHL debut and become the ninth rookie to play for the Flyers this season

The 22-year-old winger had a nice scoring chance and two shots in 7:47 minutes. 

• The Flyers head to the old stomping grounds of general manager Chuck Fletcher and assistant general manager Brent Flahr when they visit the Wild on Saturday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

Fletcher was the GM in Minnesota from 2009 to 2018 and Flahr was his AGM from 2010 to 2018.

The Flyers have not lost consecutive games in regulation since Oct. 27-29.

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