When you ponder the Philadelphia Flyers’ roster, it doesn’t immediately scream “hopeless.”
That’s especially true if you scroll down starting with the forwards; the one-two punch of Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek is complemented by the unusual power play + power forward work of Wayne Simmonds as well some other nice pieces. Combine that group with redemptive goalie Steve Mason and one can understand the optimism.
The glass gets closer to half-empty as you scan that blueline.
Mark Streit is probably the brightest light in that group, and he’s 37. Things get pretty dicey from there, and GM Ron Hextall’s hands were tied with a clogged cap situation.
Could this roster churn out a wild card berth? One would think it’s a possibility, so we’ll start with that poll:
Feel free to disagree in the comments, yet as plausible as a postseason bid might be, it’s tough to imagine the Flyers contending with that bumbling blueline.
Flyers owner Ed Snider won’t like this, but it could be best to swallow a bitter pill of defeat in 2015-16 and gear up for better days.
You never want to throw away peak years for the likes of Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek. That said, they’re young enough (Giroux is 27 and Voracek is 26) that they could still be elite producers when the smoke may start to clear in a year or two.
Between Luke Schenn and Sam Gagner alone, the Flyers will see $6.8 million in cap space dissolve in the summer of 2016 alone. They’ll also be free of R.J. Umberger’s $4.6 million mark after 2016-17.
(Vincent Lecavalier’s $4.5 million cap hit taunts them through 2017-18, though. Hey, you can’t win them all.)
Beyond gaining financial breathing room, Hextall collected nine draft picks in 2015, 2016 and 2017, so the farm system could be impressive down the road. Naturally, that would only be more apparent if the Flyers end up with a premium pick in 2016.
So, long story short: should the Flyers go into tank mode next season?