32 for 32: Philadelphia Flyers preview

NHL.com offers in-depth analysis of each of the 32 teams between August 8 and September 8. Today, the Philadelphia Flyers.

The Philadelphia Flyers hired John Tortorella to change the culture within the team and restore a standard of performance.

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« I think there are bad habits in the team and I’m looking forward to trying to work with the players, » Tortorella said. I want to work with them. But I will work to make them better. »

The Flyers (25-46-11) finished eighth in the Metropolitan Division and 15th and penultimate in the Eastern Conference last season.

Despite this, the Flyers will return with substantially the same formation. The defender Tony DeAngelo was acquired in a trade with the Carolina Hurricanes on July 8 and defenseman justin brown (one year) as well as the striker Nicolas Deslauriers (four) both signed on July 13, adding experience and depth to the Flyers.

« We will be a much improved team, » said general manager Chuck Fletcher. “We will be a competitive team. I think we’ll be better in a lot of areas where we struggled last season, especially goals against, our structure and our penalty kill and power play performance. These are aspects that we will refine. »

DeAngelo, whose 20 power-play points were a season-high among Hurricanes defensemen last season, should revitalize a power play that finished last in the NHL (12.6 percent) last season.

“I think the elements that I bring and the way that I take shots and work on the point can help the team out of the zone and to make a quick transition game, he noted. So there are several different things. […] It doesn’t matter what power play unit I play on, I’m going to do what I’ve done so far in my career and I think it’s going to help them. »

Tortorella also emphasized the importance of making the Flyers a tough team to play night after night.

“When we talk about being difficult to play against, everyone immediately thinks of checking,” he said. It’s not that. It’s about protecting the puck near the blue line so as not to commit a turnover that will cause the puck to end up in the back of your net. It’s about protecting the puck at the blue line and accepting a hit, which can lead to a 2-on-1 build for us. It’s about understanding that blocking shots is part of the defensive game. […] All of those things come into play.

“It doesn’t happen overnight. I watched portions of some games from last year, and we have a lot on our plate to play the right way. It won’t happen overnight, but that’s going to be our approach and I’m going to direct them that way. »

A return to health for center players Sean Couturier and Kevin Hayes will definitely help the Flyers. Couturier played 29 games before undergoing back surgery on Feb. 11, while Hayes was limited to 48 games due to three abdominal surgeries since the end of the 2020-21 season.

« I’m thrilled with the conversations I’ve had with them in person or on the phone, » Tortorella said. It’s great for me to have two good players from whom we will ask for more. They will have to be better if we want to recover. The fact that they are healthy and in good spirits is very important as we approach camp. »

The Flyers are not completely healthy, however. The defender Ryan Ellis is still recovering from a lower-body injury that limited him to four games and he could miss the start of the season. the attacker Joel Farabee is expected to miss the start of the campaign after undergoing surgery to replace an artificial disc in the cervical area on June 24. He must have needed three to four months to recover.

Regardless of injuries, the Flyers consider they have a better team. Above all, they have the motivation to silence their detractors.

Such is the case for DeAngelo, who was born in the Philadelphia suburb of Sewell, New Jersey, and grew up a Flyers fan.

« We expect to start winning games again, » he said. The Flyers aren’t rebuilding and they’re not the kind of team that wants to rebuild. This is a team that wants to win. They have been one of the biggest organizations in the NHL for a long time now. There is a standard to be respected, and this responsibility lies with the players. People can say whatever they want and we can talk to you for a long time, but we have to start changing the direction in which this team is going. »

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