Flyers

Debating Flyers' biggest disappointment from 2019-20 training camp, preseason

Debating Flyers' biggest disappointment from 2019-20 training camp, preseason

Going End to End today are NBC Sports Philadelphia's Brooke Destra, Katie Emmer and Jordan Hall.

The topic: After touching on the positives, who was the Flyers' biggest disappointment during training camp and the preseason?

Destra

There's a ton of excitement around the anticipation of having Carter Hart between the pipes for his first full season. But what about when he needs to rest? What about when the Flyers play games on back-to-back days and he's able to play in only one of them?

Don't get me wrong, managing the amount of games the 21-year-old should play has to be one of their top priorities in order to avoid another carousel of goaltenders.

So when Hart is resting, how confident should we be with Brian Elliott? If his presesaon was any indication of the performance we'll get moving forward — not too confident.  

Now, it was just the preseason. I'll say that again — it was just the preseason. And it's important to remember that there's no need to overreact until games start to matter.

Elliott appeared in four out of seven preseason games and, for the most part, it wasn't pretty.

In his first three appearances, he allowed seven goals and had an .873 save percentage. Following the team's overtime loss in Boston last week, it did not appear that Alain Vigneault was impressed by Elliott's performance and it looked like the head coach was vocal about it behind the bench.

"You can't win with goaltending like that," Vigneault appeared to say.

If your coach is concerned about the performance of the backup goaltender, we should be, too.

Elliott's only strong performance came during his fourth game on Monday afternoon, when the Flyers lost to Lausanne HC. Yes, Elliott looked solid, but it was against a team that isn't even in the NHL ... so do what you will with that information.

Emmer

Improving the blue line was undoubtedly a focal point in the offseason for the Flyers.

The team acquired new veteran presences Justin Braun and Matt Niskanen with hopes that its current defensive core will show improvements.

Someone who needs to show improvement is Shayne Gostisbehere. 

He’s a good defenseman, he’s shown it in his five seasons with the orange and black — most noticeably in the 2017-18 season, when he finished with a career-high 65 points. 

Of course you can’t expect those kind of numbers every year, but after his 37 points and minus-20 rating in 2018-19, there's a lot of hope that his strong game will bounce back this year.

That being said, he didn’t stand out as much as expected in camp. He made an impact on special teams, but didn’t make it on the score sheet once during preseason action.

Among many reasons, it could have been because Vigneault frequently changed around his pairings.

Gostisbehere will be surrounded by a new staff this season. There is no saying what this personnel will be able to accomplish once the puck drops in the regular season. 

Despite the preseason, who says Gostisbehere isn’t on track for another 60-plus-point year?

Hall

There are a number of ways to go here.

Andy Andreoff was signed to possibly win a job in the Flyers’ bottom six but didn’t, even with injuries to Nolan Patrick and Tyler Pitlick widening the door.

Morgan Frost didn’t underperform but a groin injury led to a second straight abbreviated preseason. If Frost stayed healthy, he could have scored his way into the third-line center position.

Kurtis Gabriel was knocked out of the preseason in his first game. The big winger was expected to make the Flyers’ decisions much harder but a lower-body injury threw a wrench into those plans.

But we’ll go with Philippe Myers. It’s not that he was severely disappointing, but an uneven preseason performance led to the 22-year-old defenseman disappointingly falling short of the Flyers’ initial roster to open the 2019-20 campaign.

During the summer, general manager Chuck Fletcher said the Flyers were bullish on Myers’ upside. After the rookie game, AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley head coach Scott Gordon said Myers was an NHL player. Myers seemed poised for a full-time role this year following a 21-game taste of the NHL last season.

"They told me that I should be chomping at the bit for this training camp,” Myers said on Sept. 7. “I want that, too, I want to be a top-four guy, have a bigger role on the team and help the team win.”

The excitement over Myers is still very much alive. It’s just on hold for now and I didn’t expect it to be.

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Flyers mascot Gritty surprises patients at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

Flyers mascot Gritty surprises patients at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

Gritty and the Flyers' ice team brought smiles to the faces of patients on the oncology floor at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

It was an awesome surprise Wednesday as the Flyers provided Love Your Melon hats and tickets to the team's Hockey Fights Cancer game on Nov. 25 against the Canucks.

Gritty and company took pictures, handed out gifts and, most importantly, gave the kids a fun day (which you can watch in the video above, with footage courtesy of the Flyers).

The Flyers truly do wonderful work in the community and so does the NHL with its Hockey Fights Cancer initiative.

(AP Images/Matt Slocum)

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Morgan Frost provides a highlight but Flyers are left looking for more answers following 4th straight loss

Morgan Frost provides a highlight but Flyers are left looking for more answers following 4th straight loss

BOX SCORE

Morgan Frost offered a snapshot of what the Flyers hope is a prosperous future for the skillful playmaker.

The present on Tuesday night did not depict as pretty of a picture.

The Flyers fell behind 4-1 during the second period, Carter Hart was yanked and a 5-2 loss to the Panthers at BB&T Center marked the final result.

Frost gave the Flyers a highlight on a night that didn't feature many for Alain Vigneault's club. The 2017 first-round pick deposited a dazzling goal in his NHL debut but the Flyers (10-7-4) dropped their fourth straight game, a losing skid that has come directly after a season-best four-game winning streak.

The Panthers (11-5-5) can score goals with the best teams in the NHL. They were also allowing 3.55 per game, fourth worst in the league, but kept the Flyers at bay.

• Hart had been so good in November. When he's not on his game, the Flyers can be exposed, which is exactly what happened against Florida.

The 21-year-old goalie entered 4-1-1 with a 1.77 goals-against average and .934 save percentage this month. He wasn't good Tuesday, the Flyers didn't help him and things unraveled.

The first period set the tone when the Panthers' first goal went off Andy Andreoff's stick. Then Hart allowed Brett Connolly to score from a crazy angle off the netminder's back.

Hart had allowed only one first-period goal over his previous five starts. Florida got him twice in the opening frame and ended his night midway through the second period with its fourth goal.

• The Flyers have now allowed more goals (61) than they've scored (60). During the four-game losing streak, they've scored 1.75 goals per game.

Vigneault continues to plead for more from his veterans. They simply have not answered his call and the Flyers are more than a quarter way into the season. The Flyers' record is very indicative of what they've received from their big boys.

Kevin Hayes recorded his first point in 10 games with a first-period assist on Travis Sanheim's goal. He played 19:01 minutes, four-plus at shorthanded. James van Riemsdyk went scoreless and played 12:56, his second-lowest ice time of the season. Jakub Voracek went scoreless, as well, in 15:31 minutes.

That trio has combined for 30 points in 21 games. The Flyers have to find a way to spark those three, along with Claude Giroux.

• Frost was a nice positive. He played with pace, he was active and was consistently a threat. His goal was very Frost-like.

Expect Vigneault to give him another game with Giroux and Travis Konecny.

• Joel Farabee made a costly turnover that led to Aleksander Barkov's second-period goal, which put the Flyers in a 3-1 hole. The Flyers were also slow to get back on the play. Bad all the way around (see highlights).

The 19-year-old was a minus-2 with three giveaways. He's a kid and there will be growing pains. Farabee snapped his stick in frustration when he went to the bench. Now it's a matter of seeing if he can play his way out of some struggles.

• Ivan Provorov and Matt Niskanen were a combined minus-5. Shayne Gostisbehere played only 14:33. While the Panthers pounced on mistakes, the Flyers couldn't fend them off or get much going at 5-on-5.

The Flyers went 0 for 2 on the power play.

• The Flyers stay on the road and visit the Hurricanes Thursday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

 

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