By Julie Glass
The Flyers are 12-10-3 for 27 points and fifth place in the Metro Division as they prepare for the Chicago Blackhawks this afternoon at the Wells.
So, after 25 games, about one-third of the season, let’s see how the Orange and Black are shaping up:
Wayne Simmonds, Claude Giroux (above) and Jakub Voracek play a pivotal leadership role on this team, all play major power play minutes, and all have 22 points on the season.
Something the Flyers did not have last year was Voracek’s typical production (55 points last season). His numbers dipped with an embarrassingly low shot percentage (that led to an 11-goal campaign), but this year, Voracek has been producing and finding his way on the scoresheet each night. So far, he’s tallied 14 assists, 8 goals and has a team lead 84 shots on net.
Simmonds has been a consistent 50-point producer for years. Through 25 games, he has 22 points (11 goals, 11 assists). Simmonds is on pace to have one of the best campaigns of his career (on pace for 75 plus points, that’s if he plays all 81 games this season).
Giroux is already on pace to surpass his 22 goals over 78 games in 2015-16 (on track for roughly 73 points total). If the Flyers hope to continue their early goal production, these three players will need to be a consistent presence on the scoresheet night in and night out.
The Flyers’ defense is extremely weak and their goaltending has been mediocre. The Flyers blue line does not have one player that gives them that edge when facing top performers on opposing teams.
Shayne Gostisbehere has started very slowly and has not looked like the Ghost many fell in love with less than a year ago.
But Ghost was never a great all-around defenseman – nor was he expected to be. His game has always been offensively driven so it will take some time for him to make a complete transition to the NHL level. Mark Streitand Michael Del Zotto are at best a number 5, maybe number 6 defensemen on many teams in the league. Well, on the Flyers roster, they are number 2, number 3 – and that just doesn’t work.
There is no need to even discuss Radko Gudas or Andrew McDonald.
Steve Mason and Michael Neuvirth splitting time has also not worked out. It’s a common trend among a lot of NHL teams trying to play two goalies equally, when realistically it does not work. Dallas Stars, Pittsburgh Penguins (Rutherford just said that the two goalies are not working), Tampa Bay Lightning, the list goes on and on.
Mason has seen the majority of time in the crease this year. So far this season Mason is 7-8, with a 2.91 goals against average (GAA), and .899 save percentage (SV%). Michael Neuvirth is 4-2, posting a 3.54 GAA, and a .859 SV%. Nothing spectacular nor anything a team should feel confident in.