Flyers Season Wrap-Up 2018-19
After a disappointing 2018-19 season, passionate Flyers fans don’t have much to look at. The highlights are unanimously agreed on as Carter Hart’s sensational rookie season, Sean Couturier’s second consecutive 30-goal year, and James van Riemsdyk’s return to Philly. The record, which was a disappointing 37-36-6, shows the inconsistency of this hockey team. They made the playoffs in 2017-18 and missed the year before. The Flyers lackluster defense was very much what ended a late-season rally and elimination from contention by the Canadiens, who are also a disappointing team. There were six games left in the regular season.
Days after the season ended, general manager Chuck Fletcher made a very controversial statement, saying that “our head coach search began today.” Fans and media alike did not understand this at first, especially since former head coach Dave Hakstol, was fired in December 2018. A week after those comments, however, Alain Vigneault was brought in to be interviewed. He was the former Rangers and Canucks bench boss. Vigneault (648-435-98-35) was hired to be the Flyers head coach for at least the next five years.
The fanbase and media are still split among this decision. The Florida Panthers head coach, Joel Quenneville, was on the market and was favored to be hired as soon as Hakstol was fired. Quenneville (884-526-77-134) was hired the day before Chuck Fletcher made his season-ending statement about the head coach search. However, Alain Vigneault is very well known for his defensive strategies and stellar power play numbers. With the Rangers and Canucks, Vigneault has reached five conference finals and advanced to the second round of the playoffs eight times. However, he has not won a Stanley Cup in his career. Vigneault will bring better defensive strategy and a better power play to replace this past season’s ghastly numbers.
The Flyers have nineteen impeding free agents this year. The unrestricted group includes Jori Lehtera, Cam Talbot, Brian Elliott, Michal Neuvirth, Tyrell Goulbourne, Mike McKenna, Cole Bardreau, Byron Froese, Greg Carey and, Phil Varone. The restricted pool includes Ivan Provorov, Travis Sanheim, Travis Konecny, Scott Laughton, Jake Graves, Nicolas Aube-Kubel, Mike Vecchione, Ryan Hartman, and Justin Bailey. The Flyers are expected to resign all players except for impending goalies Michal Neuvirth and Brian Elliott.
Some notable free agents the Flyers are pursuing are Mats Zuccarello (DAL), Kevin Hayes (WPG), Jordan Eberle (NYI), and Derick Brassard (COL). The Flyers, per GM Chuck Fletcher, will not push hard for Artemi Panarin or Sergei Bobrovsky (both CBJ).
Check out our article on the Flyers’ top prospects to watch for the next few years. Even though this last season may have been disappointing, we have a lot to look forward to!