Going End to End today are NBC Sports Philadelphia's Jordan Hall and Brooke Destra.
The topic: Predictions for the Flyers' power play units in 2019-20.
The Flyers' power play was one of the team's downfalls in 2018-19.
It was 9 for 93 (9.7 percent) from Oct. 13 to Jan. 2, a 35-game stretch in which the Flyers went 13-17-5 and dug themselves a deep hole. Overall, the unit finished at 17.1 percent, tied for 22nd in the NHL.
The man advantage finally found some success over the final 32 games of the season, a span in which it was fifth best in the NHL at 24.1 percent.
The Flyers can start the season with the obvious first unit of Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek, James van Riemsdyk, Sean Couturier and Shayne Gostisbehere. There's history, balance and chemistry there. Let's see what wrinkles assistant coach Michel Therrien can add to make the group more consistent and dynamic.
As for the second unit, let's go with Kevin Hayes, Travis Konecny, Oskar Lindblom, Travis Sanheim and Ivan Provorov. It's tough to leave Nolan Patrick off for now, but letting him focus on his 5-on-5 play could be a good thing. Provorov can be a major factor with entries and Sanheim is strong near the point with his offensive abilities.
The good thing is the Flyers have plenty of options for the second unit.
It's no secret that the power play is one of the weakest aspects for the Flyers.
Over the past five seasons, while their average percentage has fluctuated, they have gradually decreased in the rankings. Here's a quick overview:
2014-15: Third (24.44 percent)
2015-16: 11th (18.93 percent)
2016-17: 14th (19.49 percent)
2017-18: 15th (20.69 percent)
2018-19: 22nd (17.09 percent)
Last season they had their worst power play percentage since 2006-07, when they finished 28th in the league at 14.06 percent.
Now, looking ahead to this year, making the power play better needs to be a priority.
The top unit should unofficially be set in stone for the start of the season — Giroux, Couturier, Voracek, van Riemsdyk and Gostisbehere are the top producers and their chemistry should be more than enough.
Looking at the second unit, like Jordan said, there are plenty of options here. While it could run with two defensemen, there should be enough talent when it comes to forwards to keep that at one — that one being Sanheim. As far as forwards go, the combination of Hayes, Konecny, Lindblom and Patrick should be more than enough to get the job done.
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