Flyers predictions

2019-20 Flyers, Stanley Cup predictions

2019-20 Flyers, Stanley Cup predictions

Alain Vigneault called it a new era of Flyers hockey.

The Flyers haven't won a postseason series since 2012 and are coming off a 2018-19 season in which they missed the playoffs with their fewest points (82) in a full year since 2006-07.

Is 2019-20 looking like a big bounce-back year?

After providing our Flyers Fearless Forecast, NBC Sports Philadelphia's Brooke Destra, Katie Emmer and Jordan Hall give their season predictions:

Destra

Flyers prediction/outlook

The Flyers are making the playoffs ... comfortably.

The talent spread out across the Metropolitan may make it the toughest division to beat in the league and many believe the Flyers will underperform.

I believe they will do the opposite. In fact, when looking at the roster, the Flyers have one of the most complete teams and will fly under the radar for quite some time. It's OK, let them doubt this team's abilities.

This is the season everything clicks. From the depth at forward to Carter Hart, legitimate veteran presence on the blue line and new faces behind the bench — the Flyers are going to surprise many.

Let's go with a 43-25-14 record, giving the Flyers their first 100-point season since 2011-12, when they tallied 103 points.

Another pro, something that has been long overdue — they make it past the first round of the playoffs. However, they don't advance to the Eastern Conference Final ... this season. If they have the incredibly proficient season I believe they will, another banner will be in the team's future very soon.

Stanley Cup Final prediction

Last season showed that once the playoffs start, it is anyone's game. No one saw the Blues winning it all and certainly did not see the Blue Jackets sweeping the Lightning in the first round.

If that is the case again, keep an eye out on the Dallas Stars. I believe they will beat out the Golden Knights and represent the West during the Cup Final.

I think Alex Ovechkin leads the Capitals to the Final for the second time in three seasons after taking down the Bruins in a seven-game series.

There, the Caps will hoist Lord Stanley after six hard-fought games for their second win in franchise history — but on home ice this time around.

Emmer

Flyers prediction/outlook

Well, the Flyers not only need to make playoffs because they need to make playoffs, but they also have to continue the playoff trend! Since the 2011-12 season, the orange and black have a pattern of making, then missing the playoffs. The good news is, this year is the year to make.

Aside from the trend, I think it is completely doable.

I’m an optimist with this team. I’m predicting the Flyers will finish 47-30-5 with 99 points at the end of the season and will be top three in the Metro. 

I see them taking on the Islanders in the first round and if my senses are correct, this will also be the year they make it past the first round. They’ll pass the Isles in Game 6.

After that, I’m predicting they go up against the Pens and fall short, 4-1, in the series. 

Stanley Cup Final prediction

This year, I see the Sharks and the Penguins in the Final. 

Sharks will take the series in Game 7 at SAP Center and Joe Thornton will finally get his championship at the age of 40. I’m predicting Nathan MacKinnon wins the Hart Trophy as league MVP and the Art Ross Trophy goes to Nikita Kucherov for the second straight year. 

Hall

Flyers prediction/outlook

The Flyers had an underrated offseason. It wasn't flashy but it was productive.

With the uncertainty on Nolan Patrick (migraine disorder), the Kevin Hayes signing is looking better and better. The 27-year-old changes the game in all areas and gives the Flyers a jolt down the middle. The Flyers look deeper, especially if Patrick can return and a youngster steps up in the bottom six.

Much of the Flyers' hopes will rely on the team's defense. Can Shayne Gostisbehere get back to being the point-producing threat he was in 2017-18? Will Ivan Provorov look like a No. 1 defenseman again? And just how much will 32-year-olds Matt Niskanen and Justin Braun impact the group?

The right coaching staff is in place to push this team into the playoffs. Let's go with 44-29-9 for 97 points and a wild-card berth. The Flyers will lose in the first round, making the offseason and 2020-21 that much more important to break some franchise trends.

Stanley Cup Final prediction

The Lightning will have all sorts of motivation this season following last year's first-round playoff flop. That type of embarrassment fuels a team and can make for a great sports story.

Tampa Bay will write that story by beating the Blues in the Stanley Cup Final.

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More on the Flyers

Fearless Forecast for the Flyers' 2019-20 season

Fearless Forecast for the Flyers' 2019-20 season

Ready for Flyers hockey?

Let’s get you ready with our 2019-20 Flyers Fearless Forecast, featuring a random assortment of bold predictions from NBC Sports Philadelphia's Brooke Destra, Katie Emmer and Jordan Hall.

Destra

Couturier for Selke? Couturier for Selke!

Sean Couturier was a Selke finalist back in 2017-18 but fell short in the voting last season and ... it's still uncertain as to why. Couturier put up near-identical numbers the past two seasons and, if anything, his two-way game has only continued to improve.

Maybe it was because of his slow start in October. This time last year, he was coming off an injury, but now? Couturier is going into this season hungry.

I expect him to reach career-best numbers with at least 80 points and he will also be a Selke finalist. He'll finally get the national recognition he deserves — or at least I'm hoping, since he was not even ranked as a top-20 center in the league this past offseason. (I had him at 15, though.)

Is it too soon to start a #CootsForSelke hashtag?

Anyways, #CootsForSelke.

A new milestone for T.K.

Travis Konecny has a new, bright and shiny contract but with that comes a lot more responsibility. The winger may even be the most important factor for a successful Flyers season.

Though he missed the first few days of training camp, once he arrived, it was like he didn't miss a beat. Pretty impressive work from the 22-year-old. And things are going to only improve.

I'd be shocked if he doesn't hit the 30-goal mark this season. If there was ever a time to do it, it'd be 2019-20. And to be frank, he would have hit that milestone last season if it weren't for the ongoing battle of him vs. the post.

Emmer

Clear eyes, full Hart, 50-plus games

Yes, the Flyers played eight goaltenders last season, setting the NHL record, but I do not believe that will be the case this season.

I know they say to not put all your eggs in one basket, but I’m betting everything on Carter Hart. 

It is the Carter Hart era in Philadelphia. If he stays healthy and is as successful as he was in his 31 games last season, I see him between the pipes for 50-plus games this year. 

PK will finish top half in the league

The Flyers allowed the third-most goals in the league last season at 280. 

Besides that and the whole goaltending situation, the penalty kill has struggled, as well. 

Last season, the PK finished bottom six in the league. The season before that? Bottom three. 

Since 2014-15, the Flyers’ penalty kill percentage is 78.4. Only one NHL team sports a worst mark during that stretch: the Oilers at 78.0.

General manager Chuck Fletcher knew this needed to be improved and focused on that in the offseason, bringing in Kevin Hayes and Matt Niskanen.

With the new personnel, I see the penalty kill drastically improving this season.

I see the Flyers finishing with an 82.0 penalty kill percentage or above.

Maybe even finish this season the same as the 2012-13 season as top five in the league? That’d be cool. 

Hall

The century man … again

Claude Giroux followed up his career-resurgent 102-point season with a respectable 85 points in 2018-19. 

The Flyers asked him to play different positions and switch roles on the power play, while the 31-year-old also saw the highest ice time of his career (1,759:27) and his most shorthanded minutes (142:14) since the 2011-12 season. He did so playing for two separate head coaches as the organization underwent sudden changes.

The captain was pretty good despite some dire circumstances.

Giroux has discovered a way to get better with age. The Flyers have improved depth and stability this season, while Giroux has shown no signs of slowing down.

He’s going to crack 100 points for the second time in his career.

Concerns about JVR

Concerns about James van Riemsdyk? It has nothing to do with his readiness. The 30-year-old is the epitome of a pro and fuels on preparation.

However, my concerns surround his role. Toward the end of the preseason, van Riemsdyk was playing on the third line and second-unit power play. Those spots are not where he is best suited. There’s no reason why van Riemsdyk shouldn’t be in the team’s top six and on the first-unit man advantage, where he can do damage.

Last season, from Jan. 10 to March 21, van Riemsdyk scored 20 goals in 31 games. No NHL player had more goals during that span. In that stretch, his role was prominent and the Flyers went 21-8-2.

Should we be wary of a slow start from van Riemsdyk? If his position in the lineup and on the power play is up and down and consistently changing, the concerns are real.

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

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

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