A season that seemed to have gone on forever finally officially came to an end on Friday night as the Leaflets closed out the 2021-22 schedule with a 4-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators.
The offseason will present its challenges for a team that needs a massive overhaul and improvements at all levels of the organization. There will be plenty of stories to come as next season’s squad is built. For now, here’s a final look at the 2021-22 season with five takeaways from the season.
1. History for all the wrong reasons
It featured a 10-game losing streak. Then there was a franchise-record 13-game losing streak. There were two more six-game losing streaks before the season ended.
Two double-digit losing streaks in the same season were already historic for the Flyers. They also recorded over 40 regulation losses for only the second time in franchise history. They finished with 61 points in the standings, their second-lowest total in an 82-game season in franchise history.
What made matters worse was that the fate of the season was essentially known by the quarter of the season. The mid-season losing streaks, which led to a coaching change, seemed endless and once the trade deadline passed, the remaining games were irrelevant.
2. Special Teams Nightmare
Before the season, GM Chuck Fletcher expressed the need to improve in the special teams. He noted how the majority of playoff teams finish in the Top 15 in both special teams categories. It’s no surprise that the Flyers’ futility this season has been fueled by massive special teams issues.
The Flyers’ power play was dead last in the league. In 239 power play attempts, the Flyers scored just 30 goals – including two in the season finale on Friday night – a 12.6% success rate. On the power play, they also allowed 11 shorthanded goals, tied for third in the league.
The penalty kill wasn’t much better. The Flyers ranked 27th in the league shorthanded, allowing 57 power-play goals on 235 attempts, a 75.7% success rate.
3. The end of an era
Once things got out of control with a coaching change and two double-digit losing streaks on the books, it was obvious the move coming at the trade deadline.
The 17th of March, Claude Giroux took to the ice for the Flyers in his 1,000th NHL game. The Flyers rallied for a 5-4 win over the Nashville Predators and Giroux got the goodbye he deserved, taking a few laps around the Wells Fargo Center ice and waving to fans.
Two days later, Giroux was traded to the Florida Panthers, leaving the Flyers second all-time in franchise history in games played, assists and points.
4. Off-ice noise
It is usually inevitable that in the history of a franchise there will be seasons to forget in terms of results. If the only part of the story was that the Flyers were a mess on the ice for a variety of factors, there might be more optimism heading into the offseason. After all, the Flyers rose from the bottom of the standings in the 2006-07 season, made some savvy moves at the end of that season and in the offseason, and once again transformed the team to reach the conference finals. the following season.
But this season, there was a disastrous amount of off-ice noise around the team. Amid the 10-game losing streak in early December, the Flyers made another coaching change. When mike yeo took over on an interim basis, becoming the Flyers’ sixth head coach since the start of the 2013–14 season. The same day the change was made, a viral video of a police dog relieving himself on the center ice logo caused a stir on the web.
As the losing streak progressed, fans on Twitter started a movement, changing their profile pictures to an image of a Flyers fan with a bag over his head.
The team did not recognize the founder Ed Snider‘s birthday in early January, angering former players and Snider’s daughter. Bobby Clark appeared on the Cam and Strick podcast and commented on how Ron Hextall ignored scouts in the 2017 NHL Draft by taking Patrick Nolan finished Wedge Makar and that no one knew that trade sending Brayden Schenn at the St. Louis Blues was in the works.
The loss only continued from there, and just weeks ago, news broke that two Flyers coaches were suing Comcast after being diagnosed with cancer.
It looked like a reality TV show. It was like every week there was something new coming out that made you question the direction of the organization. And that brings us to the final takeaway…
5. No sense of direction
Midway through the season, the Flyers found themselves mired in their franchise-record 13-game losing streak. This is usually the time of the season when a general manager addresses the media.
It was no surprise that Fletcher was meeting the media in late January, but when the Flyers governor David Scott was with him, it was an unexpected surprise. Scott made a statement to start, sharing the frustration Flyers fans felt and going so far as to apologize.
But from there, everything went downhill at a press conference. Fletcher seemed to be talking about building a team through the draft, not just with quality picks, but proper post-draft player development. That would be as much of a priority for any current prospects as it is for new draft picks to come.
Scott, however, had other ideas. He explained how he would make blank checks available to the team to get everything they needed to improve. It screamed reckless abandon.
Fletcher then came up with the term “aggressive retooling”. Fletcher was right when he said the team lacked top-end talent. It’s obvious. But if Flyers management thinks the way forward this offseason is to just throw more band-aids on everything, rearrange furniture, throw stuff on the wall and hope it sticks, that’s not it. a concrete plan to build something big.
The Flyers will definitely have a top-5 draft pick. They will have young players who deserve more attention at the NHL level beyond the sample size they got this season. But if anyone thinks this will all magically improve overnight, think again.
Kevin Durso is the Flyers Insider for 97.3 ESPN and the Flyers Editor for SportsTalkPhilly.com. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.
Philadelphia Flyers uniforms through the years