Flyers

Fearless Forecast for the Flyers' 2018-19 season

Fearless Forecast for the Flyers' 2018-19 season

We gave our season predictions.

Now, let's get you further set for the 2018-19 season by providing our Flyers Fearless Forecast, featuring a random assortment of bold predictions from NBC Sports Philadelphia's John Boruk, Tom Dougherty and Jordan Hall.

Getting some Hart
Last season, I thought we'd see three Flyers defensemen score double-digit goals for the first time in franchise history, and while Shayne Gostisbehere and Ivan Provorov did their part, the team couldn't quite squeeze out the third one.

Where do we venture this season?

For starters, five different goaltenders will see time in net at some point this season, and I think Carter Hart will play a handful of meaningful games in the second half. If Brian Elliott stays healthy, he'll be re-signed for one more season as a veteran presence to Hart, who will win the job in 2019-20.

- Boruk

Hakstol's milestone
Dave Hakstol will pass Peter Laviolette for third place in career victories with 146 when the Flyers edge Laviolette's Predators in Nashville on New Year's Day

- Boruk

Vorobyev will score at least 40 points
Mikhail Vorobyev was the most impressive Flyer during training camp and preseason and won the third-line center spot fair and square. He did so by recording a team-high seven points but also displaying a complete, 200-foot game. His vision and playmaking ability wow you.

I've liked Vorobyev for a couple of years. He popped during the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championships and he finished his first year in North America strong last season. He did exactly what you want a young player to do in a competitive environment this training camp. He knocked the door down and not only earned a spot, but he also took it from a veteran.

I don't think the 21-year-old is in over his head, either. He's a mature player who's responsible in his own end, and that's important for a young player in this environment.

Vorobyev will be centering a third line that features some pretty talented wingers — likely two of James van Riemsdyk, Wayne Simmonds and Oskar Lindblom. There is absolutely no reason to believe that the 40-point mark is out of reach for Vorobyev.

In fact, I think he'll eclipse that. I think the Flyers have hit big on a fourth-rounder.

- Dougherty

Provorov will score 20 goals, be in Norris Trophy convo
The Flyers haven't had a 20-goal defenseman since Mark Howe in 1985-86. Howe also topped the 20-goal mark in 1982-83. That will change this season.

Provorov is poised to leap into stardom in his third season. He finished his sophomore season with a big jump and finished tied for the NHL lead among blueliners with 17 goals.

It was a pretty quiet 17 too if you ask me.

This season, Provorov changes that. I see him not only being the steady defensive player he already is at 21 years old, I believe he'll be even better in his own end.

But, I see him figuring out the power play and that will pay dividends on the stat sheet. Provorov scores 21 goals and 55 points. He won't win the Norris Trophy, but we'll see his name pop up in the conversation. This kid is special and he's only going to get better.

- Dougherty

'Ghost' set for scary numbers
Gostisbehere blew me away in the preseason.

He skated and dazzled with the puck like a swift center. There were times when instead of making the simple, side-to-side pass to start creating momentum up ice, he would shake the opposing player in front of him — and with ease.

His shot was lethal and accurate. With the addition of James van Riemsdyk, he'll be even more dangerous running the power-play point.

Big things are ahead. He'll somewhat flirt with Mark Howe's franchise record of most points (82) in a season by a defenseman. Let's say 75, why not? He looks that good.

- Hall

Patrick doesn't break out … yet
Nolan Patrick will be sound and productive, but maybe he doesn't erupt just yet.

Some are looking for that kind of jump in his second NHL season after he finally had a healthy summer.

But we need to remember that he just turned 20 years old last month and he'll be among a talented group of forwards, so production will go around.

The 2017 second overall pick also does a lot of positive things that don't always show up in point totals. He's going to have a nice season and I could see his growth as an NHL player coming along at a steady pace, not in one crazy leap and bound.

- Hall

More on the Flyers

Breaking down 2019-20 third-line competition after Flyers' signing of Chris Stewart to pro tryout

Breaking down 2019-20 third-line competition after Flyers' signing of Chris Stewart to pro tryout

You can never have enough competition.

There will be plenty of it when training camp rolls around in September as the Flyers have a third-line job opening on the wing.

General manager Chuck Fletcher added a candidate Wednesday by signing forward Chris Stewart to an NHL pro tryout for camp.

Stewart, 31, was a 2006 first-round draft pick of the Avalanche and has played 652 career NHL games between six teams. His best season came as a 22-year-old with the Avalanche in 2009-10, when he scored 64 points (28 goals, 36 assists) over 77 games. Last season, he played in the EIHL for the Nottingham Panthers, scoring 13 points (six goals, seven assists) through 23 games.

The 6-foot-2, 242-pound winger has ties to the Flyers' GM. He played parts of three seasons for Fletcher's Wild from 2014 to 2018, putting up 25 goals, 20 assists and a plus-6 rating in 146 games.

The Flyers like their options for the third-line winger vacancy. The names include Joel Farabee, Morgan Frost, Isaac Ratcliffe, German Rubtsov, Carsen Twarynski, Mikhail Vorobyev, Nicolas Aube-Kubel, Andy Andreoff and Kurtis Gabriel.

Farabee and Frost have drawn a lot of attention as young first-round draft picks coming off big seasons with Boston University (see story) and the OHL's Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (see story), respectively. Rubtsov is an underrated option given his size, advanced game and positional versatility. Ratcliffe is a 6-foot-6 winger who scored 50 goals last season with the OHL's Guelph Storm, while Vorobyev saw time with the Flyers in 2018-19.

"It's more than Farabee and Frost," Fletcher said July 1. "I think Rubtsov had a tremendous prospect camp here. Ratcliffe is a quality young player. Vorobyev is a young man that we feel is going to come back next year a little bit stronger.

"There are several players down there that can play games, never mind Andreoff, who's a player that I think will make a very strong push to make our team this season. Kurtis Gabriel is a player that's played games in the NHL the past few seasons. We have a lot of options. That's what training camp is for — it's an opportunity for players to come in and show that they belong. It should be an exciting camp."

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Flyers mascot Gritty works on his dad bod at Planet Fitness

Flyers mascot Gritty works on his dad bod at Planet Fitness

Did you think Gritty was going to be satisfied with winning the NHL Fan Choice Awards honor for best mascot?

Think again.

The guy is not resting on his laurels this summer. He's training hard for 2019-20. He was seen working up a sweat Tuesday at the Planet Fitness on Christopher Columbus Boulevard.


(Picture courtesy of NBC Sports Philadelphia's Todd Berman)

Rumor has it Gritty is working on his summer abs.

Or maybe not.

Regardless, the orange fella knows how to stay in shape. He's a preparation junkie, a true gym (and rink) rat. Complacency is not in Gritty's vocabulary.

He's also not breaking glass and scaring kids, so that's a positive.

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