Tag: Brayden Schenn

Ottawa Senators v Philadelphia Flyers

Philadelphia Flyers ’15-16 Outlook


The Philadelphia Flyers have built a great foundation, but it remains to be seen if their supporting cast is ready to help propel them into the playoffs.

Although it hasn’t always been the case, at this point it seems reasonable to bet on Steve Mason providing the Flyers with a strong presence between the pipes. At the same time, the chemistry that Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek have developed should result in the Flyers once again having one of the most effective top lines in the league. Even defensively, which tends to be seen as their weakest point, they have a solid anchor in Mark Streit.

A solid starting goaltender, great top line, and an effective offensive defenseman are a good start, but that in and of itself isn’t enough to make a serious contender, as the Flyers exemplified last season.

For example, a championship team typically has quite a bit of offensively depth, which Philadelphia didn’t possess in 2014-15. That problem could be largely addressed though if 24-year-old Brayden Schenn and 22-year-old Sean Couturier are able to make bigger contributions this season. There’s also a chance that newcomer Sam Gagner will prove to be an effective complimentary player or that Vincent Lecavalier or R.J. Umberger will bounce back.

Their defense is an even bigger question mark though. While it’s true that Philadelphia has a very promising group of defensive prospects, it’s entirely possible that none of them will be ready to make major contributions this season. That means that the Flyers might be relying in part on Michael Del Zotto, who has been inconsistent over the course of his career, to have a good season or that 32-year-old Yevgeni Medvedev will make a smooth transition from the KHL and at the very least prove to be a helpful stopgap measure.

There are certainly scenarios that can be painted in which this team bounces back and perhaps even enjoys a lengthy playoff run. However, with so many significant X-factors in play, Philadelphia will be interesting, but not necessarily successful in the short-term.

It’s Philadelphia Flyers Day at PHT

Steve Mason

Throughout the month of August, PHT will be dedicating a day to all 30 NHL clubs. Today’s team? The Philadelphia Flyers.

In 2013-14, the Philadelphia Flyers endured a terrible 1-7-0 start, but they improved as the campaign went on and still managed to make the playoffs. Last season they once again struggled out of the gate (0-2-2), but this time no comeback of significance was forthcoming.

There were silver linings to be sure. Steve Mason showed that his solid 2013-14 campaign wasn’t a fluke as he posted a 2.25 GAA and .928 save percentage in 51 games. After years of goaltending headaches, the fact that the 27-year-old netminder is secured for another two seasons with a reasonable $4.1 million annual cap hit is a big plus for Philadelphia. However, the Flyers largely squandered his strong play in 2014-15 as he had the NHL’s best GAA in losing efforts (2.67) among goaltenders that were charged with at least 10 defeats.

Philadelphia was credited with just 215 goals for, which left them in 22nd place. That’s despite the fact that Jakub Voracek stepped up in 2014-15 with 22 goals and a career-high 81 points in 82 contests.

Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds were the only other Philadelphia forwards that recorded at least 50 points as Sean Couturier and Brayden Schenn weren’t able to make a significant leap offensively, Vincent Lecavalier was used sparingly under coach Craig Berube, and R.J. Umberger struggled in his first season following the Scott Hartnell trade.

That all culminated in Philadelphia ending the season with a 33-31-18 record.

Off-season recap

After missing the playoffs, Flyers GM Ron Hextall fired Berube and replaced him with Dave Hakstol, who previously served as North Dakota’s bench boss. Philadelphia stayed busy in the lead up to the UFA period by inking veteran KHL defenseman Evgeni Medvedev, shipping forward Zac Rinaldo to Boston for a 2017 third-round pick, and trading Nicklas Grossmann along with Chris Pronger’s contract to Arizona in exchange for Sam Gagner.

When it came to the draft, Philadelphia realized it needed a forward, but with Ivan Provorov available for the seventh pick, Hextall couldn’t pass on the opportunity to grab the highly regarded defenseman.

The Flyers were relatively quiet during the free agent period, likely due in large part to their cap situation, but they did ink 27-year-old goaltender Michal Neuvirth to a two-year, $3.25 million deal. A veteran of 168 games, he’ll enter the season as Mason’s understudy.

Philadelphia might not be done yet though as they do have eight defensemen signed to one-way contracts, so the squad might part ways with one via the trade market. There’s also always the possibility that the Flyers will find a suitor for Lecavalier, although the fact that he has three seasons left on his contract with a $4.5 million annual cap hit makes moving him a challenge.

Flyers’ Hakstol flew 4,000 miles to have dinner with Voracek

Dave Hakstol

Even though Dave Hakstol is now in the NHL with the Philadelphia Flyers, it doesn’t mean he’s shelved his recruiting ways.

The former bench boss at the University of North Dakota, who was named the 19th head coach in Flyers’ history in May, recently jumped on a plane and flew 4,000 miles to have dinner with Jakub Voracek.

“I talked to him over the phone and he told me that he would like to see me in the middle of June,” said Voracek who signed an eight-year contract extension this week. “I was like, ‘Yeah that’s perfect, but I’ll be still in Czech.’ He was like, ‘Yeah I know, I’m just going to fly to Czech to have dinner with you.’”

According to the Daily News, Hakstol and the right-winger met prior to contract talks between the Flyers and Voracek’s agent started heating up.

The two discussed the upcoming season, Hakstol’s coaching style and what was expected of Voracek and his teammates.

“When he came down, I asked him what was his next plan, if he’s staying for the week or going somewhere else,” Voracek said. “He was like, ‘No, no. I’m flying back tomorrow morning.’ I told him that’s a long trip for one dinner, but it meant a lot to me and it was great to talk to him eye-to-eye.”

Voracek had a team-leading 59 assists and 81 points to go along with 22 goals in 82 games last season.

Related: No extension on the horizon for Flyers’ Brayden Schenn

No extension on the horizon for Flyers’ Brayden Schenn

Brayden Schenn

Flyers’ GM Ron Hextall has been busy handing out contract extensions this week inking both Sean Couturier and Jakub Voracek; however, one player who won’t be getting an extension any time soon is Brayden Schenn.

The 23-year-old is heading into the final year of his two-year, $5 million contract and is set to become a restricted free agent next summer.

“I’ve spoken with Brayden’s agent a number of times over the summer about different things and the subject’s never come up,” Hextall said per CSNPhilly.com. “It’s not something we’re in a hurry to do and I’m assuming they feel the same way.”

Schenn, who scored a career-high 47 points to go along with 18 goals in 82 games last season, is headed into his fifth season with the Flyers.

A natural center, Schenn was used on the wing at times by former coach Craig Berube last season.

“From my perspective, he’s played a lot of games and he’s a young player that is growing and developing,” Flyers’ coach Dave Hakstol said. “I think I am going to allow that proof to be decided in his performance. I’m not making any decisions on anything that’s happened in the past. I think it’s about what you do from this point forward and that will be the case in this situation.”

In four seasons with the Flyers, Schenn has 58 goals and 132 points while appearing in 265 games.

Related: How do Voracek, Giroux compare to the most expensive duos?

Flyers re-sign Couturier: six years, $26 million

New York Rangers v Philadelphia Flyers - Game Four

The Flyers opened up the checkbook in extending young center Sean Couturier.

On Tuesday, Philly announced it signed Couturier to a multi-year extension — per Sportsnet, it’s a six-year, $26 million deal with a $4.33 million average annual cap hit.

Courturier’s new contract comes with year left on his existing deal, which pays $1.75 million annually.

So yeah, nice raise.

The 22-year-old cashed in after scoring a career-high 15 goals and 37 points in 82 games last year, then chipping in with seven points in 10 games to help Canada win gold at the 2015 World Hockey Championships.

The eighth overall pick at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, Couturier holds the distinction of ranking first among all players in his draft class in games played — 287 thus far.

Today’s signing is a key building block for the Flyers, but there’s still work to be done. Couturier is one of three key Flyers needing an extension beyond this season; fellow RFA Brayden Schenn is up after this year, while Jakub Voracek — who led the team in scoring last year with a career-high 81 points — is slated to go unrestricted after this year.