By not showing up to games this season, Philadelphia Flyers fans have spoken.
Loud and clear.
The Flyers are averaging 16,461 fans per home game, which is 19th in the NHL. They are playing to 84.3% of the Wells Fargo Center’s capacity, 20th in the league.
More telling: In full seasons, it is their lowest home attendance figure since 1972-73, when they averaged 16,063. But that was at the Spectrum, and it was 94.4% of the venerable building’s capacity of 17,007.
And while the Flyers, who play in Toronto on Tuesday after being swept by the mighty Buffalo Sabres over the weekend, are averaging 16,461 fans in 2021-22, that is the number of tickets sold. In reality, there have been between 10,000 and 14,000 fans in the seats at most home games during the season’s second half.
If that’s not a message to the bean-counters, I don’t know what is.
Just three years ago, the Flyers averaged 20,372 per game, but that number has dropped at an eye-opening rate in recent seasons.
Fans are talking with their wallets, telling management that if the Flyers are not going to be built for the long haul, they are out.
Yes, the Flyers (23-42-11) — who have 40-plus regulation losses for the second time in franchise history — have had an inordinate number of injuries this season, but they didn’t have the depth or the talent to overcome it.
That’s on management.
Dave Scott, the chairman of the Flyers’ parent company, Comcast Spectacor, said on Jan. 26 that general manager Chuck Fletcher will return next season.
Since then, the losses have climbed (a 10-20-3 record in that span) and the attendance has sagged.
Will that cause Scott to re-evaluate the situation?
In no surprise, the crowd at the Wells Fargo Center tonight is extremely sparse. Can't blame lots of people for picking Easter Sunday dinner with family over watching this particular version of the Flyers. pic.twitter.com/9bohvlPu0M
— Charlie O'Connor (@charlieo_conn) April 17, 2022
Special teams’ woes
The Flyers’ last-in-the-NHL power play is clicking at 12.3% and has a chance to have the lowest success rate — which was 13% in 2001-02 — in franchise history. Their penalty kill has been successful at a 75.1% rate, tied for 26th in the league with the expansion Seattle Kraken.
Combined, the Flyers’ two units have a frighteningly low 87.4% success rate.
Former Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock used to say that if the combined power-play/penalty kill rate was below 100, you were in trouble.
And, so, yes, it’s not difficult to analyze what should be one of the Flyers’ top priorities in the offseason.
The Philadelphia Flyers are 13-20-6 at home, 10-22-5 on the road.
In full seasons, they have had fewer home wins just twice — 10 in 2006-07, and 11 in 1969-70.
The former Philadelphia Flyers captain has 16 points (two goals, 14 assists) and a plus-7 rating in 13 games since being traded to Florida, which is 12-1 with him in the lineup. The Flyers are 4-12 since Giroux was dealt for two draft picks and right winger Owen Tippett.