Summer Skate: Flyers
Del Zotto a reason for hope, but metrics suggest regression elsewhere
Although the weather outside doesn't necessarily make us think of winter pursuits, it's a good time to take the temperature of every NHL team. Hockey Prospectus will guide us through the league-wide tour, spotlighting one player trending up and one player trending down for each club, as well as a key statistic as we look ahead to the 2014-15 season. References will be made to goals versus threshold (GVT), a Hockey Prospectus proprietary statistic; for more on GVT, click here. All other advanced stats are courtesy of Stats.HockeyAnalysis.com.
A disastrous start to the 2013-14 season resulted in the firing of head coach Peter Laviolette and hiring of former Flyer tough guy Craig Berube, who righted the ship and turned the Flyers into a playoff team. A late-season injury to goalie Steve Mason put the Flyers behind the ball in their first-round series against the New York Rangers, which they eventually lost in seven games.
The turnaround gave Flyers fans reason to believe in their new coach, but a closer look at Philadelphia's roster reveals holes aplenty. With a negative goal and shot differential, they were a brutal even-strength team this past season. This summer, the loss of top defenseman Kimmo Timonen to health issues and failure to move Vincent Lecavalier (which would've freed up some cap space to spend on the deficiencies) will hurt their chances at making the playoffs again.
Trending up: Michael Del Zotto, D