Ok so now that the battle of Pennsylvania is over and the Penguins are moving on to round 2 lets discuss the series a bit. The penguins won the series 4-2 and outscored the Flyers 28-15 so almost doubling up the fly guys in this stat. There was a lot to take away from this series in my eyes so lets go through it. Both teams had major players sidelined at times. First, start with the Pens Patric Hornqvist and Evgeni Malkin both missing games. Thats 2 of the penguins top unit power plays guys and 2 top 6 forwards. Next you have the unbelievable story of Sean Couturier tearing his MCL in practice due to a hit from his own player in Radko Gudas and coming back and stealing the show in the remaining games. Both teams battled injuries and had to rely on role players to step up and make the series interesting.
Now lets move on to the veteran element of this series. The Penguins have been here with almost an identical team from last year albeit a few subtractions in Fleury, Daly, Kunitz and Bonino. Pittsburgh countered that though with great additions during the season in Brassard replacing Kunitz, Murray playing well and having the confidence of a goaltender who has been here before. Then you have Oleksiak replacing Daly rather well as did Sheahan taking over for Bonino, so all in all the weaknesses the pens need to fill were up for the task in round 1.
Goaltending was a huge issue for the flyers as 3 different goalies saw time between the pipes in this series and none did particularly well for more then a few periods outside of game 5 and Neuvirth. In the years to come though the flyers seem to have the answer for that with Carter Hart being touted as a cant miss prospect. I see Hart as the next Matt Murray and if the broad street crew sticks to the game plan Hart may be ready sooner rather then later.
With all this being said here is what I see when I look into my crystal ball. A Stanley Cup for the flyers before 2022. I really was impressed by the flyers young talent in this series and see them growing and maturing as a unit. The likes of Voracek, Couturier, Gostisbehere, Konecny, Patrick and Provorov all of which who are 28 years old or younger make this team very scary for the foreseeable future. If im Philadelphia I trade Giroux while you can still get something for him and get yourself a few more younger talented NHL ready players and promote either Couturier, Gostisbehere or Voracek to captain and allow the youth movement to finally take shape and get a coach in there that has the experience and can get the respect and discipline out of the younger guys. Ken Hitchcock ring as bell? If the flyers management does anything at all this off season I would say bring Hitchcock back with a 5 year plan in mind and watch a young team blossom in to a masterpiece.