After falling to the Islanders in the second round of the playoffs, the Flyers are looking on to the offseason after what many would call 2019-20 a huge success.
While their playoff run fell short, advancing to the second round is a feat they have not accomplished since 2012. This, in addition to the leaps and bounds the Flyers made in the regular season have proved one important thing — we have entered a new era of hockey in Philadelphia.
Let me explain ...
The 2018-19 Flyers were a mess. They endured midseason changes at head coach and general manager, had enough goaltenders play to make the history books and continued the trend of having yet another mediocre season. It felt like the same rut the Flyers were in since their last second-round playoff appearance.
There was a shift in 2019-20 — and it was a positive one.
Heading into this season, there needed to be a distinct change in a lot of things — one of the biggest being winning games they should win. Between those and trap games, the Flyers dug themselves in a hole that they struggled to get out of.
There was no more of that this season. While there were some clunker performances, sometimes it simply has to be chalked up to having an off night. It happens. The Flyers won against the majority of the worst teams across the league and did so in an impressive fashion.
Based on the standings when the regular season officially concluded, the Flyers went 18-8-0 against the 10 worst teams in the league. They also held an impressive record within the division, going 16-4-4. Needless to say, they were winning when it mattered most.
When watching the Flyers most nights, it was noticeable that if certain players were underperforming, there were others who stepped up. It didn't matter where they found themselves in the lineup, who their opponent was or what the scoreboard looked like — there was a balance on the roster.
The Flyers did not have a single player in the top 30 among the league in points and it still did not matter. Instead, there were productive numbers across all of their top players:
Travis Konecny: 24 goals, 37 assists — 61 points
Sean Couturier: 22 goals, 37 assists — 59 points
Jakub Voracek: 12 goals, 44 assists — 56 points
Claude Giroux: 21 goals, 32 assists — 53 points
Kevin Hayes: 23 goals, 18 assists — 41 points
James van Riemsdyk: 19 goals, 21 assists — 40 points
It almost sounds like a broken record to praise Carter Hart and all of his accomplishments in just his second year in the NHL, but the Flyers have not had a legitimate franchise goaltender in decades ... so it's going to be brought up more times than not. It has been a long time since watching anyone in net for the Flyers without believing fluky goals would go in, or they wouldn't hold a lead.
That all seemed to disappear when Hart arrived. Granted, there are still a few things he's adjusting to, but to see the talent he possesses at just 22 years old, instills a sense of hope and security between the pipes.
Regular season: 24-13-3 — 2.42 GAA — .914 save percentage
Playoffs: 9-5-0 — 2.23 GAA — .926 save percentage
The Flyers have their franchise goaltender ... you never get tired of saying it.
What's most exciting is that this roster is only going to get better in the coming years. Years of drafting well has finally led up to having an almost complete roster from top to bottom — with additional depth, pouring over to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
Listen, you're allowed to be frustrated the Flyers did not win the Stanley Cup this season, but if you truly believe this is the same team from recent years, you haven't been paying attention.
The 2019-20 season was simply the beginning to quite an incredible start for the new-age Flyers.