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Know Your Neighbor: Watch out for the upstart Philadelphia Flyers in 2021

A good combination of young prospects and grizzled veterans might be the recipe for success this season in Philadelphia.

NHL: Philadelphia Flyers at New York Islanders Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Just the Facts

Last season’s finish: 41-21-7 for 89 points, 4th in the Eastern Conference, 2nd in Metropolitan Division, lost to the New York Islanders in the second round of the playoffs.

Record against the Bruins: 2-1, including an embarrassment of a game for the Bruins, who were up by three goals, only to see the Flyers erase the deficit and win in a shootout.

Offseason Moves

Draft picks: With the 23rd pick, the Flyers selected one of the best pure shooters in the draft, Tyson Foerster. Foerster put up 36 goals and 44 assists in 62 games for the Barrie Colts of the CHL.

In the second round, they chose a small, but offensive-minded and puck-moving defenseman, in selecting Emil Andrae from the Swedish Hockey League’s HV71.

Following that pick they selected 3 Canadians: Zayde Wisdom (4th round), Elliot Desnoyers (5th round), and Connor McClennon (6th round).

Acquisitions: The Flyers had a relatively quiet offseason with their biggest acquisition being Erik Gustafsson, whom they signed to a one-year deal worth $3 million.

However, their biggest offseason move was the re-signing of top-four defenseman Philippe Myers to a three-year deal, one that will help the blue line in Philadelphia continue to grow and improve together.

And while it’s not an acquisition per se, the Flyers are also expected to add a healthy Nolan Patrick back to their lineup this season after he missed all of last season with a migraine disorder.

What To Expect

At times last season, the Flyers looked downright unbeatable, especially during a 9-game winning streak at the end of the regular season. However, there were also times when they looked more like the team we’ve seen over the past decade or so: inconsistent.

Part of this surely had to do with the amount of young players the Flyers dressed each night in their lineup.

Last season, the Flyers typically dressed 10+ players per night that were 25 years old or younger; that number could actually increase this upcoming season if Morgan Frost and/or Tyson Foerster make the team out of training camp.

Leading the youth movement are Travis Konecny (24 goals, 37 assists in 66 games), defenseman Ivan Provorov (13 goals, 23 assists in 69 games), and future All-Star goalie Carter Hart (24-13- 3 record with .914 SV% and 2.42 GAA).

One could argue that one thing that makes this team more dangerous this season is the experience they gained from last year.

After sweeping the round robin games and beating the Habs in 6 games in Round 1, the Flyers lost in the seventh game of the 2nd round of the playoffs against the Islanders.

And while the loss no doubt hurt, the young Flyers performed admirably and witnessed firsthand what it takes to win in the NHL playoffs.

On top of this, the Flyers also have a good list of crafty veterans to guide their young players along next season. Although Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek had relatively off years last season offensively, they’re still a threat anytime they’re on the ice, and a comeback year in 2021 wouldn’t be out of the question.

The Flyers also have Selke winner Sean Couturier (author’s note: Bergeron should have won) to go along with decent depth players like Kevin Hayes and James Van Riemsdyk to help round out a solid forward line-up.

The real x-factor for the Philadelphia Flyers this season, however, is the aforementioned Carter Hart.

For so many years, the Flyers were handicapped by inadequate goaltending. At long last for Flyers fans, this appears to be no longer the case.

If the 22-year-old Hart can duplicate his performance last year or perhaps play even better, the Flyers will be a legitimate threat in the East division this season.