If TSN’s grades are accurate, it’s going to be another long season for the Philadelphia Flyers.
In TSN’s final positional rankings — goaltending — the Flyers were in the fourth (next-to-last) tier Wednesday.
The Flyers were either in the last or next-to-last tier in four of the five positions: goaltending, defense, left wing, and center. They were in the third tier (out of five) at right wing.
Welp, as colleague Charlie O’Connor likes to say.
This is a critical season for Philadelphia Flyers goalie Carter Hart. After a pair of good to very good years to start his career, he has regressed in the last two campaigns.
Having John Tortorella as the new coach should help Hart because of his defense-first mentality.
But not having Ryan Ellis would alter the Flyers’ defense considerably. And based on hints dropped by GM Chuck Fletcher, Ellis is not expected to be ready for the start of the season as he battles back from a pelvic injury.
DeAngelo and Provy
DeAngelo is very good offensively, but has had problems on D, so this pairing does not look ideal.
Last season, Hart had a 3.16 GAA and a .905 save percentage. His backup, Martin Jones, was mediocre at best (3.42, .900), and he signed a one-year, $2 million deal with Seattle this summer.
As it stands, inexperienced Felix Sandstrom or journeyman Troy Grosenick will be Hart’s new backup.
Sandstrom, 25, played in five games last season with the Flyers, compiling a 3.23 GAA and .910 save percentage. He spent most of the season with the Phantoms (2.89 GAA, .902 save percentage).
Grosenick, who turns 33 on Aug. 27, signed a one-year, one-way contract as a free agent last month. He is coming off a strong AHL season — a 16-6-6 record while having the league’s best GAA (2.00) and save percentage (.933) for the Providence Bruins.
Stellar in AHL
The former Union College standout has been stellar in his AHL career; he has played in four NHL games.
Ivan Fedotov, the promising 6-foot-6 goalie who led his team to the KHL title last season, had a good chance to be Hart’s understudy before being detained in Russia and forced to serve in its Navy.
Overall, Flyers’ goalies are listed as underperformers by TSN, which ranks Nashville, the Islanders, the Rangers, Tampa Bay, and Winnipeg as the teams with the best goaltenders. Those five teams are listed in Tier 1.
Carolina (Frederik Andersen, Antti Raanta), Pittsburgh (Tristan Jarry, Casey DeSmith), and Washington (Darcy Kuemper, Charlie Lindgren) are among the seven teams in the second-highest grouping, Tier 2,
If you add them to the Isles (Ilya Sorokin, Semyon Varlamov) and Rangers (Igor Shesterkin, Jaroslav Halak), that means five teams from the Philadelphia Flyers’ division, the Metropolitan, are among the best in the NHL.
No Metro teams are ranked worse than the Flyers’ goalies.
Hart and Co. can use that has motivation when the season starts in less than two months.