The NHL regular season is just around the corner. In anticipation, Eyes on Isles takes a look at every team in our division. What have they done to their roster, have they improved, and how will the New York Islanders fair against them?
The Philadelphia Flyers gave us a bit of a scare near the end of last season. The New York Islanders thought they sat comfortably in the playoff picture last season until we started dropping contests and Shayne Gostisbehere challenged us all to say his name right after a 15-game point streak.
This is the fourth installment in our preview of the Metropolitan Divison, and how each team in the division stacks up against the Isles. What can we expect from these teams going into 2016-17? Here’s a link to the other previews:
Philly is slowly starting to sort its house. The Flyers have been troubled for a number of years. Bloated with loads of bad contracts. The work in reshaping this team isn’t over for GM Ron Hextall, but he’s making progress.
Hextall got Gudas and Schenn under contract for the next four years at a combined $8.475 million cap hit. The Flyers from a few years ago would have given them both everything and the kitchen sink after the seasons they had.
Schenn is coming off a nearly 60 point season and Gudas finally found a home that will let him roam the ice and hit anything. Neither was given any sort of no-trade clause or even a no-move clause. Giving the Flyers more assured flexibility later down the line.
Other than those two great signings the Flyers addressed some depth issue by ditching Sam Gagner, a perennial forty point scorer until he hit Philly where he netted 16 points. In his stead, the Flyers brought in Dale Weiss, who had a bit role in Chicago’s failed attempt to capture back-to-back Cups.
Great, but what does that mean for the Islanders?
Ghosts, Bears, and a Czech
The focus for the Flyers is on recalibrating the roster. Ditching bad contracts and committing to quantifiable talent. Assets that are going to return the Flyers to relevancy.
Ghost-Bear will hope to continue his progression and prove he wasn’t just a flash in the pan. His 46 point season was a revelation, and even got him a Calder nod with 955 votes.
Good enough for second after Chicago’s Artemi Panarin, and 97 more votes than Edmonton’s latest first-overall draft pick and generational talent; Connor McDavid.
Jakub Voracek is going to try and show that he’s actually worth that massive eight-year $66 million contract extension he received at the end of the 2014-15 season. Remember Voracek posted 81 points that year.
Last season the 27-year-old Czech fell well short with 55 points. Voracek didn’t score a goal until November 14th against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Next: How Does the Isles Past Predict Their Future
For the Islanders, that means the Flyers will likely fall to the same position within the division, somewhere in the wild card picture, but keeping the pressure on the top three. Make a routine of dropping points the Flyers will be right there to take that third Metro spot.