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:


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.


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. 


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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Former Flyers share their favorite all-time teammates

Former Flyers share their favorite all-time teammates

As my family has spent a great deal of time together at home the last few months, I found myself repeating the same thing (as parents often do) to my children, ages 9 and 11: Help out when you can, be a good teammate.

That led me down the path to ask a handful of former Flyers players this question: Who was your favorite teammate when you played in the NHL?

Chris Therien (Flyers defenseman, 1994-04, 2005-06)

"That's a good question and there was a lot of great ones. I roomed with John LeClair and played with a lot of really, really high-caliber guys that were high-caliber people, as well.

"I'm going to say, at the end of the day, Luke Richardson was the best teammate on the ice and probably the best teammate off the ice, as well. He had great leadership qualities. He knew team bonding. You understood the long season that guys deal with. He helped me keep the room light a lot of the time. Just an absolutely sensational human being.

"Easily a person I will never forget until the day I die because of those great qualities that he possessed as a friend, a teammate and a leader."

Rick Tocchet (Flyers right winger, 1984-92, 2000-02)

"Craig Berube is definitely one for me. Whether he played two minutes or 15 minutes, he always thought of the team. A very unselfish player and was an excellent leader even though sometimes he didn’t play a lot in some games. Kept the room loose and serious at the same time."

Brian Boucher (Flyers goalie, 1999-02, 2009-11, 2013)

Phantoms, 1997-98:

Neil Little

"The greatest guy I played with! This guy was always willing to lend a hand, advice, share a story and laugh. He was my first goalie partner in pro hockey and he set the bar incredibly high. To this day, he’s still helping me. He was responsible for getting me back to Philly from San Jose and also helped land a spot for my son Tyler to live in Plymouth, Michigan, by setting him up with his childhood buddy Chris Osgood while he’s playing for the U.S. national team development program. He’s the best!


Flyers, 1999-00

Mark Recchi

"As a rookie that year, Rex always made me feel welcome to dinners, golf and whatever else was going on. He always was generous too!


Rick Tocchet  

"Late addition to the team but had instant respect the minute we got him. He too like Rex always included me and made me feel like I had been a teammate for years. Extreme work ethic and showed me as a young guy how hard you have to work to be a pro.


Keith Jones

"Same as the other two guys. He was great to me. He always had a line for me the minute Beezer (former Flyers goalie John Vanbiesbrouck) gave up a goal. He’d say, 'Start stretching, kid!' He’s always been there for me. Even up to this day! Love Jonesy!


Later years:

Jody Shelley

"Played with Jody in Columbus, San Jose and Philly. Team guy! Great friend. Spent lots of time with him doing extra practice because we weren’t playing much."

Joe Thornton

"Never met a guy who loves being at the rink and being with the guys as much as Jumbo. He rarely had a bad day. Played with him in San Jose.

Bill Clement (Flyers center, 1971-75)

"Bernie Parent: He was never in a bad mood. All he did was smile and laugh and keep us loose. No matter how difficult certain situations seemed, he was the messenger that let me know life would go on and be better than it was yesterday. Maybe it was because he knew he could single-handedly control outcomes on the ice."

Keith Jones (Flyers right winger, 1998-00)

Craig Berube. Protected my [butt] on a game-to-game basis!”

Anything else made him a great teammate?


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Flyers sign prospect Linus Hogberg to entry-level contract

Flyers sign prospect Linus Hogberg to entry-level contract

One down, a few more to go?

The Flyers on Saturday signed prospect Linus Hogberg to an entry-level contract. The rights to Hogberg would have expired Monday if the Flyers didn't ink the 2016 fifth-round pick.

During 2019-20, Hogberg, a 21-year-old Swedish defenseman, had 14 points (five goals, nine assists) through 50 games with the Vaxjo Lakers playing against men in the SHL. The 6-foot-1, 176-pounder is regarded as a strong skater and intelligent passer.

Hogberg will start the 2020-21 season with AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley. The Phantoms are gaining on the blue line with prospects Egor Zamula and Wyatte Wylie turning pro, as well.

(Joe Siville/Philadelphia Flyers)

Lehigh Valley could be gaining more with Wyatt Kalynuk and David Bernhardt, who remain unsigned. Bernhardt, another Swedish defenseman, needs to be signed by Monday or his rights will expire. It's uncertain if the Flyers will ink the 2016 seventh-round pick.

It appears Kalynuk has decided to forgo his senior season at Wisconsin as he plans to turn pro in 2020-21.

Kalynuk is an offensive-minded defenseman who has developed a ton with the Badgers. His rights were set to expire next summer. Now that he is leaving Wisconsin, it would be surprising if he's not signed soon by the Flyers. If, for some reason, both sides don't agree to terms, Kalynuk can eventually become a free agent.

"Philly has had lots of people here and been very instrumental in his growth as a player," Wisconsin head coach Tony Granato said. "I think when they drafted him, they recognized out of the gate that this guy could be a big part of their organization moving forward. They’ve been hands on, they’ve been here a lot, they’ve done it respectfully in a way that they’ve helped him a ton in preparing to get ready for the next step.”

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