Connect with us

Philadelphia Flyers

Five Most Important Flyers — And Why

Published

on

Tyson Foerster at rookie showcase in Arlington, Va. (AP Photo)
Tyson Foerster at rookie showcase in Arlington, Va. (AP Photo)

Who are the most important players on the Philadelphia Flyers’ roster this season? And why? It depends on your calculation of success.

This season should be focused on player development. Can players who showed growth last season continue that arc? Do they belong on an NHL roster? Can they show they can flourish and play winning hockey?

Can the Philadelphia Flyers’ braintrust envision their young nucleus — based on their play this season — making contributions three years down the road? Because that’s what a rebuild is, really, determining what future assets belong on the ice in a few years.

There are five Flyers who are the most important to the team this season and beyond — maybe that three-year target. This article doesn’t forget goalie Carter Hart. The goalie is always the most important player on the ice. That’s a given.

In no particular order … because all five are important.

Cam York

He was demoted last season coming out of training camp. York returned in December and had a solid, encouraging season. He got paid in July, two years and $3.2 million.

With Tony DeAngelo gone, York should see increased power-play minutes. He scored two goals and 18 assists in 54 games last season.

York is 22 years old and the Flyers are hoping he becomes a top-four defenseman, reliable with the puck, responsible on defense, a little more offensive pop.

When the Flyers acquired 36-year-old Marc Staal in free agency, the immediate thought was that the veteran would mentor York. And with Staal’s presence, York’s development would accelerate. The Flyers would take that, and York would, too.

Tyson Foerster

No Flyers prospect has gotten more offseason attention that Foerster. His eight-game audition at the end of the season was impressive beyond the three goals and four assists. Foerster looked like he belonged in the NHL and he looked comfortable doing so.

Imagine if Foerster steps into a productive, top-nine role at forward. That would be impressive at age 21. And it would open the door to a top-six or top-three placement down the road.

Yes, the Flyers need to improve their defense. It’s also true that they need guys who can put the puck in the net. Philadelphia was 29th in goal-scoring. Foerster, at 6-foot-2, 194 pounds, offers intriguing possibilities.

If a year from now Foerster is coming off a 20-goal season, you better believe the Flyers will feel optimist about his future and theirs, too.

Travis Sanheim

He got paid, too — an 8-year, $50 million deal in October 2022 — and promptly had a season to forget. Sanheim even got benched — the only game he missed all season — in Calgary, near his hometown.

Sanheim could answer many lingering questions with a bounce-back season. Through the offseason, Flyers management talked him up. He was the subject of trade rumors nearly every week until his no-trade clause kicked in July 1.

Sanheim is 6-foot-3 and can skate. An improved defensive posture can make a difference for the Flyers. Perhaps his game will improve from being around Staal.

Joel Farabee

He returned last season after a neck injury that required disc replacement surgery. He appeared to struggle at the beginning of the season before his game picked up in the second half. Farabee finished with 15 goals, 24 assists (39 points) in 82 games.

Farabee showed sniper potential down the stretch, something the Flyers desperately need. At the end of the season, Farabee talked about having an entire summer to work out and to skate enough to strengthen his legs. His training was limited after his surgery last summer.

Farabee was the 14th overall pick in 2018. His career high for goals in 20, in 2020-21. He is only 23. Claude Giroux said just last year that Farabee was going to break all of his records.

Perhaps this will be the season Farabee breaks out. He’s healthy, he’s needed and he’s talented.

Owen Tippett

Tippett might have been the Flyers’ biggest surprise last season. His previous career-high in goals was 10, in 2020-21. Tippett scored 27 goals last season, second on the Flyers behind Travis Konecny’s 31.

His ice-time increased by more than two minutes last season. He received power-play time and scored eight goals with the man-advantage.

Were his 27 goals a fluke, or is this the kind of production the Flyers can expect? He’s only 23 years old.

He showed an accurate snap shot and his game improved as he became more comfortable mixing it up in front of the net. With his size (6-1, 207), Tippett could be that power-play net presence the Flyers need. Philadelphia ranked 32nd in power-play goals last season.

Honorable Mentions

Sean Couturier — He’s returning from two back surgeries. Couturier didn’t play at all last season and only played 29 games the previous season. How he plays could determine how well the Flyers perform this season. Couturier hasn’t played an 80-game season since 2018-19.

Morgan Frost — The still-unsigned center plays showed flashes the second half of the season. Is a breakout season from Frost possible or likely?

Get PHHN+ today!

Get PhHN in Your Inbox

Enter your email address to get all of our posts sent directly to your inbox.

Flyers Cap Info

Copyright © 2023 National Hockey Now and Philadelphia Hockey Now. In no way affiliated with the Philadelphia Flyers or the National Hockey League.