NHL

Ron Hextall is Against the Changes the Flyers Need

 

Currently, the Philadelphia Flyers have 37 points, which puts them in a tie for fourth worst in the league. Now, I know most fans have read that and already started searching for the nearest window to jump out of.

Actually, let me take that back.  

I think we know now that Flyers’ fans are different from most fans. Flyers fans see 37 points and think, ‘Yea, but we just won a shootout game the other night, which is equivalent to seeing a double rainbow while on the back of Pegasus, so we’re on a roll. Playoffs here we come’.

I mean, Flyers’ fans are bred young.  

Faith in this team flows through the blood of that tiny fan just like it does through all Flyers fans.

However, the fact of the matter is, these Flyers are in disarray.  

The problem with this roster is not very simple to find. Giroux and Voracek are sixth and first in points in the league, respectively. Mason is playing well, and while he has not been winning us games, he also isn’t playing poorly enough to warrant major criticism.  

Could we improve our goalie play? Yes, but it’s kind of like saying that Tony Montana should be worried about the negative side effects of cocaine. Yup, that is not ideal, but he had bigger issues coming his way.

Really, it’s everything else. The additional scorers are not playing up to their potential, as Matt Read only has 3 goals on the season so far. This is a kid who averages 23 goals a season (disregarding the 2012/13 season in which he only played 42 games), and at the halfway point in the hockey year, he has put up 3 goals.  

It is not only Read who is under performing. In fact, pretty much the entire roster outside of our two stars are playing below their potential. The Flyers as a whole are scoring only 2.68 goals per game, which ranks them 17th in the league.  

Everyone wants to point their finger at the defense, which is a major problem as they rank as the seventh worst defense in the NHL. However, the Flyers defense wasn’t great last year either, ranking eleventh worst in the league.

The difference between last year and this year is the offense isn’t performing the same. Last year, we were eighth in the league in goals per game, which covered up our flaws on defense. However, the offense isn’t clicking in the same manner that it once was.

So, it bears the question, how do we improve this roster to make a legitimate playoff push? Or, do we scrap the season and try and get a difference maker in the draft?

Well, we know that the Flyers will make a move, as it has been part of our DNA to make roster adjustments on the fly, pardon the pun. However, with Hextall at the helm, it would appear less likely that we will make a trade for an older player to supplement some of the scoring flaws that this team struggles with.

However, having a veteran presence in our lineup who can hold some of our role players accountable might be just what we need. A player such a Danny Briere, someone with a proven career, who is already familiar with most of the players on our roster, and who has the full support of the fanbase, would be a perfect addition.  

Yes, I know that he wouldn’t add offensive firepower. But we have the talent on our roster already.

What we need is someone on the ice to propel our talent forward. As the team stands now, if Giroux or Voracek aren’t scoring, the Flyers aren’t scoring.  

Having a player like Briere or Jagr on our roster might be the piece that we could reasonably add that would allow us to get more from our secondary scorers.

Ron Hextall has already said, though, that he will not make trades that send out young players or picks for older veterans. He is determined to turn the Flyers roster over from one of the oldest in the league to a younger and more defensive oriented team.

What this means for the Flyers fans out there?

That times are changing. We can’t expect Hextall to do the same thing that Holmgren got us used to. This is a new regime. And with new regimes, come new cultures and growing pains.

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