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2023-24 NHL East Preview: SENS vs PHILADELPHIA FLYERS

SWOT Analysis of the Metropolitan division ends with the Philadelphia Flyers who finished seventh in the Eastern Conference with 75 pts in John Tortorella’s inaugural season as head coach.


Strengths


New General Manager, Daniel Briere, has his work cut out for him. The Flyers don’t have much going for them.


Tortorella’s shelf life as a head coach seems never-ending. The Flyers overperformed last season and he is likely the best person to handle this situation as he won’t tolerate mediocrity and has no compunction about keeping people in line.

Their number one centre, Sean Couturier, missed all of last season and most of the season before due to back surgery. When healthy, he was a legitimate two-way force. He is supposed to start the season on the top line. Who knows if he will last or if the layoff will have permanent impacts?


Carter Hart and Cal Petersen are a decent tandem in goal. Travis Konecny, Morgan Frost, Owen Tippett and Joel Farabee are good young pieces to build on up front. Scott Laughton is a good glue guy and leader. However, they don’t intimidate anyone.


Weaknesses


Their power play seems to lack a clear number-one defenseman now that Tony D’Angelo has been moved on.


Their defense, in general, is problematic with Travis Sanheim being the alpha and Rasmus Ristolainen, continuing to be the guy everyone hoped would become elite.


The Flyers are married to both for the next six and four years respectively.


Sean Walker is a decent defenseman who came as part of the Ivan Provorov deal with Los Angeles and Columbus. This wouldn’t be considered an upgrade.


Marc Staal, fresh off his run to the cup final with the Panthers, has signed a one-year deal at the age of 36.


Opportunities


The Provorov and Hayes deals show where Briere is headed with this team. Briere does have some digestible contracts in Konecny, Atkinson and Laughton if the right suitor comes calling. He can even absorb some cap to improve the bounty.


Briere knows this situation is in need of tear down and he is in a position to do so with some pieces to build around.


Threats


For a team that is looking to tear down and rebuild, the only threat to that agenda is good players. He has taken care of some of that issue by moving Provorov and Hayes.


Oddly enough, if Sean Couturier can return to the lineup and be close to the player he was, that will make the Flyers better. He also has a full no-movement clause and a contract of six more years with a cap hit of $7.75 million per. Even if he is healthy, it’s hard to imagine anyone taking a flyer on that contract for at least the next four to five years.


If he can’t recover and becomes a full-time LTIR candidate, perhaps he will show the Flyers the same loyalty that Carey Price is showing the Canadiens and allow his contract to be moved down the road, for the good of the team.


Kevin Hayes will be on the books for the next three years at half of his $7.142 million annual cap hit. The goal isn’t likely to be competitive in that window. As such the impact is minimal. In fact, there is room for two more of those contracts on their ledger.


The Senators have the advantage at every position and the Flyers shouldn’t pose a threat to anyone’s playoff aspirations.


Prediction: 8TH IN THE METROPOLITAN DIVISION

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