It seemed like last season, the only positive to come from the Philadelphia Flyers was the introduction of now-beloved mascot Gritty. Upon his introduction, many found him to be off-putting and terrifying to look at, but that was nothing compared to the actual play from the Orange and the Black. Now, with a new head coach and some new additions to the roster, the Flyers are looking to put that season behind them and make a return to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
While the Flyers were quieter in free agency, they instead focused on locking up players who have been reliable for them down the stretch. Some notable names from this bunch include C Kevin Hayes, D Travis Sanheim, and G Brian Elliott. Hayes was acquired in a trade from the Winnipeg Jets and is coming off a career year, which translated to a seven-year extension as he was slated to hit free agency. Sanheim was one of the better young defenders in the league in his first full season, which was enough for the Flyers to add another two years to his deal. Elliott has had issues staying on the field the past few years but has been serviceable when in the net and should be a quality veteran presence for up-and-coming stud Carter Hart.
Hakstol Out, Vigneault In
Many Flyers fans got their wish last season when former head coach Dave Hakstol was shown the door. They will begin the 2019-20 season under new coach Alain Vigneault, most recently of the New York Rangers. He coached the Rangers to a Stanley Cup Finals appearance in 2014, and did the same with the Vancouver Canucks in 2011. His track record of advancing in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, as well as regular 100-point seasons, will be a welcome culture change for the Flyers, who have barely averaged 90 points over the last five seasons and haven’t won a playoff series since 2012.
Stanley Cup Bound? Not So Fast
While the Broad Street Bullies are sure to improve this season, they currently own 40/1 odds on winning the Stanley Cup Final, putting them in the bottom ten of the NHL. With an improved roster and a winning attitude, this team has the looks of a team that makes the playoffs, but expectations still need to be tempered. Unfortunately for fans, it will be a far cry from likely to see Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier, or even Gritty himself hoisting the Stanley Cup trophy.
Luckily, the best athletic awards in Philadelphia can be found at Spike’s Trophies, so maybe you can get yourself your own Stanley Cup trophy there. What a great consolation prize for residents of Philadelphia and Bucks County! For athletic trophies and more, contact Spike’s Trophies.