By Michael Donovan

The 2018-19 NHL season is starting next week with the Flyers opening next Thursday, Oct. 4, in Vegas against the Stanley Cup finalist Golden Knights.

Here’s a thumbnail preview of the Philly season:

LAST SEASON: 42-26-14, 98 Points. Third in Metropolitan Division. Lost to Pittsburgh Penguins in first round of Eastern Conference playoffs.

COACH: Dave Hakstol (fourth season, fourth NHL season).

ADDED: F James van Riemsdyk, D Christian Folin.

LOST: F Matt Read, D Brandon Manning.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Nolan Patrick (above). The Flyers bet their future on the 20-year-old Patrick when they made the center the No. 2 pick of the 2017 draft.

Patrick had been bothered by a variety of injuries and but didn’t need offseason surgery for the first time since 2015. Patrick’s ice time jumped late in the season and he could blossom into a star this season paired on a line with James van Riemsdyk, a 36-goal scorer who signed a $35 million, five-year contract.

On a team that still counts on the veterans for the bulk of the scoring, Patrick’s emergence would show the Flyers were right to start a rebuild.

OUTLOOK: The Flyers have won between 33 and 42 games each of the last five years, a streak of mediocrity that sometimes gets them in the playoffs and sometimes it doesn’t.

The Flyers would like to not have to wait until the final week of the season to qualify for a playoff berth but it’s difficult to imagine they can approach 100 points this season.

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