Flyers

Could this be a troubling sign for Flyers?

Could this be a troubling sign for Flyers?

Jakub Voracek listed off the things that many ponder about these equivocal Flyers.

He was running down all the positive developments to the team's 2017-18 season.

For one, Voracek himself had a career year (65 assists, 85 points). So did Claude Giroux (34 goals, 68 assists, 102 points) and Sean Couturier (31 goals, 45 assists, 76 points). Shayne Gostisbehere did the same (52 assists, 65 points), while Travis Konecny and Ivan Provorov made significant leaps in Year 2. Even an injury-ravaged Wayne Simmonds managed 24 goals.

Yet, here the Flyers were, needing all 82 regular-season games to clinch a playoff berth before losing another first-round series that felt more lopsided than even. The Flyers were outscored by the Penguins, 28-15, while dropping all three games at home by a combined tally of 18-6.

Then again, they were able to push the back-to-back Stanley Cup champions to six games and would have forced a Game 7 had they held a 4-2 second-period lead. Konecny felt the Flyers had Pittsburgh "exposed." Brian Elliott was convinced they were winning the series after that two-goal advantage.

But, really, how close were they?

"It seems like we were really far," Couturier said two weeks ago at the Flyers' end-of-the-season press conferences. "They dominated us, but at the same time, I feel we were that close to beating them. Maybe it's funny to say, but if we capitalized on a few chances earlier in games, if we're a little more disciplined, then they don't take over and it's a tight series."

From a personal standpoint, so much went right for the Flyers during the regular season. Still, this offseason, they're left in the same position they've been in since 2012-13: no playoffs or a first-round defeat.

"Even if we didn't have a great playoffs, we basically almost pushed the Stanley Cup champions into a Game 7," Voracek said.

"We've got to win at least a playoff series next year. But a lot of bright futures, lot of guys that had great years and hopefully we're not that far off."

Which is a phrase the Flyers have reiterated at past clean-out days. And it's hard to blame them. The players are supposed to believe general manager Ron Hextall's plan is moving forward and nearing greater accomplishments.

In 2017-18, the problem certainly wasn't the core pieces, at least not during the regular season. 

What might be the biggest issues?

Many say it's the goaltending. Some may think it's the coaching. Or maybe the Flyers are just a year away from the youth finally meeting the core in perfect harmony.

"Now we have young players coming up and making a difference," Giroux said. "You look at our team and we have a good balance of older and younger guys. I'm not sure what the plan is coming September, but if we have the same team in the locker room, we're going to be pretty happy about that."

However, what's worrisome is the Flyers' mainstays (and even some of the kids) were significantly productive across the board but the end result remained the same.

So, sure, there are plenty of questions.

With more cap space, should the Flyers add in free agency? How much different will the defense look? Which prospects are next? Will the goaltending tandem hold up?

But these ones should go near the top of the list: can the big boys do it all again and will it even be enough?

Flyers Talk podcast: What to expect with new-look 2019-20 team

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NBC Sports Philadelphia

Flyers Talk podcast: What to expect with new-look 2019-20 team

On the latest Flyers Talk podcast, NBC Sports Philadelphia's Katie Emmer and Jordan Hall are joined by Joe Fordyce, the Flyers Pre and Postgame Live producer.

From expectations for the newcomers, something to look forward to and more, let's dive in:

0:35 — Get to know the Flyers Pre and Postgame Live producer

3:50 — Fordyce's No. 1 Flyers moment

5:20 — You will love Emmer's top moment

 9:45 — A concern has brought out good sign in Flyers

13:50 — How the Flyers save their best for last

17:00 — Keep expectations in check with Derek Grant and Nate Thompson

20:25 — Recognition for Scott Laughton; his role is increasing

25:00 — Kevin Hayes exceeding expectations and has his own beer!

 28:30 — The finish to February will be huge for the Flyers

 30:00 — Ready for Broadway? Should be fun

 32:00 — An underrated aspect to Flyers' turnaround

 39:00 — A glimpse into Flyers Pre and Postgame Live

44:45 — Emmer's hockey joke of the day!

Subscribe and rate Flyers Talk: Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Spotify | Stitcher | Art19 | YouTube

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Kevin Hayes inspired beer to be released by Yards Brewing Company

Kevin Hayes inspired beer to be released by Yards Brewing Company

There’s no question that Kevin Hayes has assimilated well to Philadelphia.

Since signing a seven-year, $50 million deal this past offseason, the 27-year-old has endeared himself to Flyers fans. From being Gritty’s roommate to his fun nicknames to playing hockey well and helping — hopefully — lead the Flyers back to the playoffs, Hayes has quickly become a fan favorite.

The next logical step: A beer made and named in his honor.

Yards Brewing Company is releasing “Big Hayes-y 13” on Friday.

The beer is a double New England style IPA. For those unfamiliar with the style, New Englands are traditionally known for being juicy and hazy — hence the name — unlike traditional IPAs which have more hoppy bitterness. It's also an ode to Hayes' roots being from Dorchester, Massachusetts, and starring at Boston College.

The Flyers take on the Rangers Friday night so you can drink it while New York second guesses letting Hayes get away. Seems like the perfect beer to suck down while watching Hayes kill penalties and score goals with fantastic cellys.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Flyers