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[#] Fri Jul 14 2017 10:30:02 EDT from rss

Subject: BSH Story Time: How a 1998 5th round pick turned into Sean Couturier

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Chris Gratton turned into Sean Couturier. That’s magic, folks.

With development camp in the rear view mirror and the start of the preseason way, way too far ahead of us, it feels like a good time to take a little stroll down Flyers memory lane. Have a seat, get comfy, and join us on the journey from late-round pick to shutdown center.

It was February 5, 1998 and the Flyers were gearing up for another playoff run after being swept by Detroit in the Stanley Cup Finals the prior season. GM Bob Clarke decided to bring in a veteran presence and the Flyers sent a 5th round selection in the 1998 NHL draft to Vancouver for Mike Sillinger.

But that wasn’t enough, and the Flyers were kicked out of the 1998 playoffs in only five games by Dominik Hašek and the Sabres.

Despite his hot start with the team, Mike Sillinger did not last long in Philadelphia. 25 games into 1998-99 season, he and Chris Gratton were shipped off to Tampa Bay in exchange for Mikael Renberg and Daymond Langkow. Daymond Langkow did well in Philadelphia, scoring 23, 50, and 54 points in his three seasons with the Flyers. In the 2001 off-season, the Flyers did what they did best: brought in a star player who was on the back nine of his career with the signing of Jeremy Roenick (JR was still productive though, so we’ll give them a pass). This left no spot on the team for Langkow, who was shipped off to the Phoenix Coyotes in exchange for a 2002 second round pick and a 2003 first round pick. The second rounder was used to move up to the fourth overall selection where the Flyers selected Joni Pitkanen.

The Coyotes, who finished second in their division during their 2001-02 campaign, were not able to build off that success and finished their 2002-03 season second from the bottom in the Pacific Division with a record of 31-35-11-5. Their first round draft pick, which they dealt to the Flyers, fell to the 11th overall selection.

With the 11th overall pick, the Flyers drafted Jeff Carter, a core member of the team for the better part of six seasons. Carter was essential post-lockout rebuild. He was a key member in the 2007-08 run to the Eastern Conference Finals and was one of the team’s best goal scorers throughout the late 2000’s.

Nashville Predators v Philadelphia Flyers Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images

Flyers GM Paul Holmgren made arguably the biggest moves of his career with the Flyers on June 23, 2011, when he shocked the entire city of Philadelphia by trading captain Mike Richards to the Los Angeles Kings and sending leading goal scorer Carter to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Fans were up in arms, wondering what had just happened. In return for Carter they received Jake Voracek, the eighth overall pick in the 2011 draft, and a third round pick in 2011.

With the eighth pick the Flyers drafted center Sean Couturier and that, my friends, is where our story concludes. The story of how a fifth round pick turned into Sean Couturier.

[#] Sat Jul 15 2017 21:32:55 EDT from rss

Subject: Flyers sign remaining RFA

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Stolarz & Lyon ink 1 year deals, Bardreau back for 2 more.

At the start of today the Flyers had three remaining RFA’s left to sign, that number can now be cut down to zero. Alex Lyon, Anthony Stolarz and Cole Bardreau have all agree to contracts with the team.

Stolarz and Lyon, who both saw action with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms have both signed one year, two-way deals. (Details on money are not available at this time.) Lyon spent the majority of the season as the Phantoms starter playing in 47 games, winning 27 of the contests. He posted a 2.74 GAA and .912 SV%. With his first pro season under his belt, Lyon will look once again to take the reigns of the Phantoms and lead them to their first back-to-back playoff appearances since the team last did so in 07/08-08/09. In a crowded pool of goalie prospects, it will be tough for Lyon to truly stand out, but don’t write him off.

It is important to note that with both goalies signing one year deals, this opens up the possibility of Felix Sandstrom coming over from Sweden next season. Also Carter Hart will be able to join the AHL squad next year, having finished up his junior career with the Everett Silvertips.

Stolarz spit time between the Phantoms and Flyers last season, and many thought he could see solid NHL time next season, however with the Flyers signing Brian Elliott it does not look like there will be room for Stolarz. In an event where Michael Neuvirth or Elliott goes down with an injury, look for Stolarz to be called up to the NHL.

In Stolarz’s limited NHL time last season he played very well, including a shutout against the Calgary Flames. While he is still very young at 23 years of age, Stolarz has been passed by a number of goalies drafted under him, most notably Matt Murray and Joonas Korpisalo. He’ll be looking to take advantage of any NHL chance he is given.

The Flyers signed Cole Bardreau out of Cornell University back in March of 2015 and he has spent the last three seasons with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Bardreau has battled injures through his collegiate career and pro career, but that did not stop him from appearing in 72 games last season for the Phantoms, registering 9 goals and 24 points. He is a key member of the Phantoms bottom-six, and while he might not be a flashy name, players such as Bardreau still prove to be valuable to teams through and through.

As per Dave Isaac, Bardreau will earn $650,000 at the NHL level, and $100,000 in the AHL. The second season he’ll earn $125,000 at the AHL level.

[#] Sun Jul 16 2017 14:37:45 EDT from rss

Subject: Nolan Patrick knows Claude Giroux better as

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Turns out the hockey world is pretty small. Shocking.

Just a week ago, we heard from Nolan Patrick about how he met Claude Giroux, and it was long before he was even a twinkle in Ron Hextall’s eye. He was fourteen years old, and the circumstances were a little different: he was calling Claude “coach” instead of “captain.”

Back in 2013, Nolan Patrick was one of 42 bantam-aged players to be selected to attend NHLPA’s Allstate All-Canadians mentorship camp, a five-day course with appearances by NHL veterans, all-star players, and coaches. Claude Giroux was among the players invited to coach at the camp, and he coached Nolan Patrick personally.

Curious about Claude’s future as a hockey coach? “Well, we lost,” is all Nolan would say when asked. Oh well.

Coach Claude

A post shared by Ryanne Breton (@ryannehaileyb) on

Look at those rosy cheeks right in the center of the frame! It’s like he knew.

Claude must’ve liked Nolan enough to pick him for his team, right? Maybe he doesn’t have a future as a coach, but looks like his scouting skills aren’t half-bad. I feel like this has to be bode well for us. It’s some positive energy. Good mojo. I’m feeling it.

Not totally related, but let’s hope Claude’s gotten better at selfies over the years. I’d like to see a recreation of this one.

[#] Mon Jul 17 2017 07:00:01 EDT from rss

Subject: Monday Morning Fly By: Miss you, ice hockey.

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Today's open discussion thread, complete with your daily dose of Philadelphia Flyers news and notes...

*So, Jeremy Roenick had some things to say about Claude Giroux recently. They're not....great things. [CSN Philly]

*Looks like Charlie isn't the only one super pumped about the idea of Oskar Lindblom making this hockey team. [Inquirer]

*There was a bit of hesitation when Ron decided to pick Morgan Frost late in the first round of this year's draft. But it's looking like maybe Ron got himself a steal. [CSN Philly]

*Speak of Ron, he went ahead and locked up the rest of his remaining RFAs over the weekend. [BSH]

*Do we think that this younger Flyers team will definitely equal a better Flyers team? [Inquirer]

*Our old friend R.J. Umberger is trying to work his way back into the NHL. Bless. [Sportsnet]

*On star power in the NHL, and how much if it a team needs to win a Stanley Cup. [The Hockey News]

*NHL head coaching salaries seem to be trending upwards. [Puck Daddy]

*Hiring rookie coaches like Dave Hakstol also seems to be a trend that's growing. [Sportsnet]

*Summer is fun for things like this: taking a look at how a random 5th round pick turned into Sean Couturier. [BSH]

*And finally, Ivan Provorov isn't the only past connection Nolan Patrick has to his new team. [BSH]

[#] Mon Jul 17 2017 12:12:02 EDT from rss

Subject: Nolan Patrick signs entry-level contract with Flyers

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Three years with the maximum salary plus performance bonuses.

When a player is drafted by an NHL team, all that team is doing is acquiring the rights to the player. In the case of a player being drafted from the Canadian junior ranks, NHL teams hold those rights for two years after the draft year — meaning that in a worst-case scenario, a guy like Nolan Patrick could hold out until June 1, 2019 and go back into the draft if he really, really hated the idea of being a Flyer.

Of course, that almost never happens (although sometimes it does with NCAA players like Jimmy Vesey, for example) — especially not with top players who have a lot to lose by not signing with the team that drafts them. But it’s always true that, until that first entry-level contract is signed, a drafted player isn’t officially a member of the team.

That happened today with Patrick, however, as the Flyers signed him to his three-year entry-level deal. He’ll earn $925,000 per year in base salary, and as a No. 2 overall pick, the rest will be loaded with bonuses. We’ll have to wait to learn his exact cap hit at the end of the season once those bonus marks are reached or not.

Last year’s No. 2 overall pick, Patrik Laine of the Winnipeg Jets, ultimately wound up with a cap hit of $3.575 million on his entry-level deal after bonuses. Ivan Provorov, the No. 7 pick of the Flyers in 2015, has a cap hit of $1.74 million after bonuses. The cap hit for Nico Hischier, this year’s No. 1 overall pick, can reach as high as $3.775 million if all bonuses are hit.

Here’s the full press release from the Flyers:

The Philadelphia Flyers have signed C Nolan Patrick to an entry-level contract, according to general manager Ron Hextall.

Patrick, 18, was selected by the Flyers in the first round (2nd overall) of last month’s 2017 NHL Entry Draft. The 6-2, 199-lb native of Winnipeg, Manitoba has spent the last three seasons playing for the Brandon Wheat Kings of the Western Hockey League, where he served as team captain last season.

In his rookie WHL season of 2014-15, Patrick was a point-per-game player for the Wheat Kings with 56 points (30G, 26A) in 55 games. He posted eight goals and seven assists for 15 points in 19 playoff games to help Brandon reach the WHL championship game, and was named the WHL Rookie of the Year.

Patrick helped the Wheat Kings take that last step in 2015-16 when they won their first WHL championship in 20 years. He scored 41 goals and added 61 assists for 102 points in 72 regular season games, and went on to record 13 goals and 17 assists for 30 points in 23 playoff games, earning WHL playoff MVP honors.

Last season, Patrick posted 20 goals and 26 assists for 46 points in a season where he was limited by injury to 33 games. In 163 career regular season games for Brandon, Patrick has recorded 92 goals and 113 assists for 205 points, along with 96 PIM and a plus-88 rating. He played the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons alongside current Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov.

[#] Mon Jul 17 2017 12:56:37 EDT from rss

Subject: 2016-17 Flyers season review: Jakub Voracek

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A quick glance at the counting stats would have you believe this was just a normal, albeit somewhat down year for Voracek. But that doesn’t tell the whole story.

After a disappointing season, the harsh spotlight always shines brightest on a team’s highly-paid veterans. And to be sure, the 2016-17 campaign for the Philadelphia Flyers qualified as disappointing, as the club added two talented rookies to a mix that had made the playoffs the previous year, yet regressed and failed to repeat that outcome.

Still, Jakub Voracek seemed to avoid the heaviest criticism, which was primarily directed at captain Claude Giroux. It wasn’t totally unjustified — Giroux’s on-ice play (particularly at even strength) has been in steady decline, and as a former superstar and the captain of the team, he makes for the perfect lightning rod. On the other hand, Voracek never really matched Giroux in terms of league-wide profile, and his counting statistics in 2016-17 (61 points in 82 games) really weren’t all that far off from his performance during his 2013-14 campaign. To many, this past season just felt like a down scoring year in the acceptable range for an up-and-down scorer.

But even though 2013-14 and 2016-17 seemed like similar seasons at first glance for Voracek, the underlying metrics tell a far different tale. While Voracek’s performance four seasons ago may have seemed disappointing coming after his near-point-per-game breakout in the lockout-shortened year, it was accompanied by elite play-driving metrics at 5v5 and perfectly acceptable scoring rates for a first-line winger. This past season, however, saw Voracek’s entire statistical profile take a dip, with little to explain why.

The good parts

Before diving into the disappointing aspects of Jakub Voracek’s 2016-17 season, it’s important to note that it wasn’t all bad. After all, a player doesn’t just luck into scoring 61 points in the best hockey league in the world.

To start, he finished with a +9 penalty differential at 5v5, his best since the 2013-14 season when he finished +15. His all-situations Points/60 of 2.26 led the Flyers, and ranked 87th in the NHL (low-end first line caliber) among forwards with at least 500 minutes played. He also topped all Flyers forwards in overall Shots on Goal/60 (18.30) and Primary Assists/60 (1.00).

Columbus Blue Jackets v Philadelphia Flyers Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Much of that production came from a situation where many fans of the team still believe he struggles: the power play. While his 21 points and 4.60 Points/60 rate at 5v4 were the lowest among the Flyers’ top unit, he still ranked a perfectly acceptable 82nd among the 268 players with at least 100 minutes in the situation last year. In addition, no player on the Flyers drove more entries into the offensive zone on the PP (124, with 104 controlled) than Voracek, and his 83.9% Controlled Entry rate at 5v4 trailed only Giroux. Even without a plus shot (3.85% shooting percentage at 5v4 over the past two seasons), Jakub Voracek is a very effective power play contributor.

In addition, his manually-tracked individual metrics at 5v5 remained strong, as always. Voracek graded out well relative to his teammates in all three zones. On the attack, no Flyers forward averaged more Primary Shot Contributions (unblocked shots + passes than directly led to unblocked shots) per 60 than Voracek, who finished the season at 26.90.

His play in the neutral zone also stood out both from a raw volume and efficiency standpoint. His Controlled Entry rate of 62.89% was second only to Valtteri Filppula, and no Philadelphia player generated more total entries than Voracek and his 26.38 per every 60 minutes of play.

That efficiency extended to Voracek’s play with the puck in the defensive zone, as well. When Voracek attempted to engineer a zone exit, he succeeded 85.26% of the time (3rd among PHI forwards) and did so while retaining possession on 56.69 of his opportunities (also 3rd). He even did so while avoiding failed exits and turnovers, posting (again) the third-lowest Failed Exit percentage out of Flyers forwards.

Considering Voracek’s strong performance in the types of actions that lead to play moving in the right direction, it would be logical to assume that his underlying on-ice metrics would be their usual strong selves. But strangely enough, that was not the case at all.

5v5 results fell off a cliff

Through Giroux certainly got the bulk of the criticism from the “hot take” contingent this past season, a common critique thrown Voracek’s way was that he was never worth the contract that the Flyers gave him, and that the team essentially overpaid based on his 81-points-in-82 games season.

Now, it’s a fair point that the Flyers may have “bought high” in that they signed him to an extension after a career year in terms of scoring. But what that analysis misses is that for years, Jakub Voracek has been one of the league’s best forwards in driving positive outcomes at even strength. That’s what made him an elite player, not the 60-80 point per season scoring range where he has lived.

Prior to the 2015-16 season (during which Voracek was merely very good, and also played on a broken foot for the final month of the season), these are flat out elite metrics.

For example, Voracek finished with a +8.0% CF%RelTM mark in the 2013-14 season, meaning that his teammates performed (on average) about eight percentage points better in terms of play-driving at 5v5 alongside Voracek versus away from him. In the past three seasons, there have been only ten instances of a player surpassing an +8.0% CF%RelTM mark, and three of those belong to the Corsi god Patrice Bergeron. Voracek wasn’t just a good play-driver — he was at the absolute top of the charts.

That’s what makes this year so bizarre. Yes, his relative metrics dipped a bit in 2015-16, but that can be mostly attributed to two things: the foot injury that killed his Corsi at the end of the year (-4.11% Corsi Rel after returning) and the fact that Sean Couturier’s rise into high-end play-driver himself dragged up the performance of the rest of the roster. But Voracek was still perfectly fine on the whole, posting a +2.63% Corsi Rel and an even-better +4.95% Expected Goals Relative as well, showing that it wasn’t empty shots driving his metrics.

Then, 2016-17 happened.

Voracek went from being part of the unquestioned elite four seasons ago, to being an actual drag on his teammates last season. Nor was he scoring at 5v5 to counterbalance dip — his 1.33 Points/60 mark ranked him 227th among forwards with at least 500 minutes in the situation. And while he’s certainly gotten older, this was just his age-27 season. Per the work of Eric Tulsky, play-driving and scoring doesn’t really begin to drop off until the late 20s, and even then, it’s usually more a gradual drop, not a complete cratering.

His on-ice goal differentials were even worse. In fact, no regular Flyers forward — not Bellemare, Lyubimov, or even Chris VandeVelde — had a lower on-ice Goals For percentage at 5v5 than Voracek’s 36.73%. Granted, goal differential is primarily driven by high-variance factors like on-ice shooting percentage and save percentage, and Voracek’s performance in the latter (90.07%) was lower than any regular Flyers player last year. That almost certainly won’t recur. But it’s not like Voracek’s shot differentials were incredible. This was a case of a player having a mediocre year by the underlying numbers combined with some poor puck luck, and the result was a forward thought by some to be the best on the roster posting the team’s worst on-ice results at 5v5.

That’s not an problem that a team can survive and remain a contender.

What was the primary issue last year?

We know that Voracek’s advanced metrics in 2016-17 were uncharacteristically poor. But that only tells part of the story. In order to dive deeper, it helps to break down play-driving into its components.

Just like point totals have two components — goals and assists — a play-driving metric consists of two parts: on-ice shot generation and on-ice shot suppression. Two players may grade out similarly in the final metric, but got to that place in totally different ways. For example, Vladimir Tarasenko and Gabriel Landeskog finished with close-to-identical Corsi ratings last year (52.6% Corsi For and +3.5% CF%RelTM for the former, 51.4% Corsi For and +3.5% CF%RelTM for the latter), but Tarasenko got there primarily by driving shot generation, while Landeskog did it via shot suppression. Same end result, just different methods.

Breaking down the play of Voracek into components helps in understanding his season because we can zero in on what area of his results tailed off in comparison to how he performed in previous years. We’ll use two statistics for this exercise — CorsiFor%RelTM, which looks at Voracek’s performance in raw shot attempts relative to his teammates, and xG Relative, which essentially does the same, except it also accounts for the quality of the shots.

When looking at Voracek’s Corsi shot suppression and creation metrics relative to his teammates, we don’t get much of an answer. After years of beating out his teammates handily in both metrics, Voracek was a drag both offensively and defensively last year.

Note: When measuring shot creation by this metric, positive is good. For shot suppression, however, being in the negative is good.

The suppression is a little bit worse than the creation, but Voracek’s shot creation metrics have always been a bit better (even though in the past both have been great). Does xG tell a different tale?

Now we may have something here. Voracek still outperformed his teammates in relative xG shot creation last season, but flopped when it came to on-ice scoring chance prevention. The visualizations from Micah Blake McCurdy evaluating shot volume and quality against with Voracek on the ice in 2015-16 vs. 2016-17 showcase the latter perfectly.

In 2015-16, the slot and netfront is mostly blue, meaning that the Flyers averaged less shots allowed in that area than league-average with Voracek on the ice — the ideal outcome. Last season is a totally different story. Suddenly, the most dangerous area of the ice is almost entirely in the red, meaning the Flyers were bleeding high-danger chances with Voracek out there.

So case closed, right? Voracek’s biggest issue was on the defensive side of the puck, and that’s what he needs to work on.

Not so fast.

Via the hard work of Corey Sznajder and the data scraping of Muneeb Alam, we have 68 games worth of on-ice manually-tracked metrics from the 2016-17 season. From this, we can derive Offensive Zone Score and Defensive Zone Score, which essentially determine whether the team generated and allowed more or less shots with a player on the ice than would be expected considering how many entries they were witness to.

In those 68 games, Voracek’s Offensive Zone Score was a horrific -8.01%. Considering the amount of times the Flyers entered the offensive zone with him on the ice, the team was “expected” to generate about 736 unblocked shot attempts. In reality, however, they created just 677 — a 59 shot swing. Interestingly enough, his Defensive Zone Score was actually solid at 3.58%.

So, Voracek did a poor job in helping prevent quality chances in the defensive zone, and also seemingly struggled to help his team create unblocked shots period in the offensive zone. That’s certainly a recipe for a poor season.

Making sense of what happened

Now we have a better handle on what went wrong, but we’re no closer to discovering why Voracek struggled in these areas at age-27 after dominating in them for years. Truthfully, there really isn’t a clear-cut explanation. Voracek still looked like his usual self in terms of speed, in comparison to Giroux who certainly has slowed in recent years. And by the microstats like individual entry generation, exit generation, and raw shot contributions, Voracek still graded out extremely well. The easy answers just don’t apply here.

That leaves us in the realm of theory. I’ve been able to conjure up three that make sense to me as plausible explanations, but none come with indisputable evidence. Still, I feel they are worth exploring.

The first is essentially the Murphy’s Law theory. Basically, it holds that Voracek is fine, and just dealt with extreme bad luck in terms of on-ice goals and on-ice shots. Previously, I referenced Voracek’s Offensive and Defensive Zone Scores. What needs to be noted there is that those metrics have been found to show very low repeatability, meaning that if a player posts a poor Offensive Zone Score in one season (as Voracek did), it means little in determining whether his OZS will also be poor the following season. It’s highly subject to random variance.

On the other hand, Neutral Zone Score (basically, did the Flyers win the zone entry battle with Voracek on the ice) does show repeatability, and Voracek graded out perfectly fine in that metric. Out of Flyers players with at least 200 minutes at 5v5 last year, only Jordan Weal, Matt Read and Claude Giroux had a better NZS than Voracek and his 52.57 percent.

I’ve never viewed Voracek as an especially strong defensive winger, despite the fact that he has always produced stellar shot and chance suppression results. Instead, I’ve personally evaluated him as a player who suppresses shots mostly because the team usually has the puck in the offensive zone when he plays — basically a living embodiment of “the best defense is a good offense” truism.

Except this year, the Flyers struggled to retain possession and create shots in the offensive zone with Voracek on the ice, as shown by the awful OZS that he posted. That meant more time spent defending, which maybe was always a secret semi-weakness of his game that was never noticed due to the ever-present puck possession edge. Combine that with the fact that he spent 374 minutes with Travis Konecny in 2016-17 (who is clearly still learning off-puck defensive zone positioning at the NHL level), and you get poor shot suppression results.

2017 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series - Philadelphia Flyers v Pittsburgh Penguins Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

The best part about this theory is that it implies a bounce back is inevitable. Offensive Zone Score isn’t a repeatable stat, so Voracek should extract more value out of his entries next season, allowing him to spend less time on defense. Then, Voracek goes back to his usual play-driving self and everyone is happy.

Theory No. 2 also absolves Voracek, though it reassigns blame away from the hockey gods and towards another figure in the Flyers’ organization: Dave Hakstol. In Voracek’s two seasons under the former University of North Dakota head coach, his play-driving metrics and his 5v5 scoring have fallen off a cliff. Even before his foot injury in 2015-16, Voracek’s Corsi and xG were lagging in comparison to past years, so that can’t even be used as the entire explanation for the dropoff.

Under Hakstol, the Flyers play a less-rush oriented game versus how they operated under Craig Berube and Peter Laviolette, and have also leaned on the low-to-high offensive zone method to create a large portion of their shots. Neither of these changes seem to fit the with creative, play-making Voracek, who has long been the team’s best controlled entry player in the neutral zone and loves to thread picture-perfect passes into the slot area.

This is a theory that I believe Ron Hextall has to take seriously and evaluate further this season, especially because Giroux has also struggled at 5v5 under this coach. If Dave Hakstol is incapable of extracting full value out of the organization’s two highest-paid assets... well, let’s just say it’s a lot easier to fire a coach than it is to trade two $8 million a year players.

The third theory is the most concerning one for Flyers fans: Voracek is simply exiting his prime and for some reason, the decline is unusually rapid and surprisingly steep. His non-power play metrics have been in gradual decline since his peak years of 2012-13 and 2013-14, and it’s not difficult to slap an aging curve over that year-by-year play-driving chart. Maybe various ailments and injuries have sapped something from Voracek’s game, and it’s just not coming back. That possibility can’t be ruled out just because it’s difficult to accept and would be a disaster for the Flyers.

I would not be comfortable in claiming that any of these theories are definitely the explanation for Jakub Voracek’s struggles in 2016-17. But supporting evidence exists for each, and I could legitimately see any of them being the answer.

What should the Flyers do about Voracek?

Despite his team-leading 61 points, it’s difficult for me to call Voracek’s season anything but a total disappointment. After roaring out of the gate with 10 points in his first 10 games and 35 points in the 38 contests played in 2016, Voracek’s scoring touch dried up over the season’s final three months. His 26 points in 44 games pace in the 2017 calendar year was more befitting a solid second-line winger than the franchise cornerstone that Voracek is.

Even more concerning was the collapse in his underlying metrics. Long one of the league’s best play-drivers, Voracek actually underperformed relative to his own teammates in 2016-17. In addition, no Flyers forward had a worse Goals For percentage at 5v5, a shameful standing for a player of Voracek’s caliber, even accounting for the fact that GF% is highly subject to forces outside of the player’s control. You still don’t want your best winger getting regularly clobbered in terms of goal differential, PDO or not.

The Flyers are in a strange position, in that their prospect pipeline is stacked and young talent is beginning to flood the roster, just as legitimate questions arise regarding the career trajectories of their two biggest veteran stars. Giroux’s situation is actually the more straightforward case, in that he’s either aging poorly and will continue to decline, or has been playing through injury for the past two years and will bounce back. Voracek, on the other hand, is more difficult to evaluate, and he has seven years left on his massive deal while Giroux has just five.

If Theory #3 is actually correct, shopping Voracek would be the best move. Unlike Giroux, he doesn’t have a no-movement or no-trade clause, so Hextall has flexibility in dangling Voracek around the league if he chose to do so. The idea of Voracek having an even worse year next season with six more years at $8.25 million per to come is a frightening thought.

But I’m not convinced that Voracek is actually in rapid decline. Also unlike Giroux, Voracek still looks like Jake Voracek, nor have microstats like Controlled Entry rate taken a dip for him like they have in Giroux’s case. The Voracek from three years ago wasn’t merely good — he was legitimately one of the best all-around forwards in hockey, and it would be painful to give that up due to an overreaction to a Murphy’s Law season.

At this point, the Flyers are probably best served taking a “wait and see” approach to Voracek moving into 2017-18. If the numbers bounce back, then a panic move was avoided and he remains a key piece moving forward. But if they don’t, Hextall needs to take an honest look at the situation and determine if it’s the player or the coach who is more to blame, then act accordingly.

All statistics courtesy of NaturalStatTrick, Stats.Hockeyanalysis, Corsica.Hockey, or manually-tracked by Corey Sznajder.

[#] Tue Jul 18 2017 07:00:01 EDT from rss

Subject: Tuesday Morning Fly By: It's nice to make things official.

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Today's open discussion thread, complete with your daily dose of Philadelphia Flyers news and notes...

*The Flyers signed Nolan Patrick to his entry level contract yesterday, which means we are officially going steady. Pretty exciting if you ask me. [BSH]

*Speaking of our new boyfriend, let's look back at the Flyers' draft process and what lead them to choose Nolan. [Flyers]

*Phil Myers wants to make this hockey team out of camp and hooooo baby would that be something. [CSN Philly]

*We've reached the time in the offseason at which the good writers are doing deep dives into random hockey topics, and thankfully we have Meltzer here looking into the Flyers home/road record discrepancy. [Hockeybuzz]

*Speaking of deep dives, Charlie digs into Jakub Voracek's season to try and figure out what exactly is going on with one of our best players having a down year. [BSH]

*And there's always Yost going into some good stuff, like this piece on zone starts. [TSN]

*The Golden Knights are claiming to have more ticket revenue than the Flyers. Mazel tov, kids. [Puck Daddy]

*And that's all we've got for hockey news since summer sucks but guess what?! New BSH Radio today, woo!

[#] Tue Jul 18 2017 11:00:09 EDT from rss

Subject: Hextall wraps up his to-do list

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The gang has some fun talking about Ron Hextall’s final contracts of the summer before trying to figure out what the heck is up with Jake Voracek

As summer is heating up, the Flyers have wrapped up their offseason checklist, signing Nolan Patrick to his entry-level contract and took care of restricted free agents Scott Laughton, Taylor Leier, Cole Bardreau, Anthony Stolarz, and Alex Lyon. The gang then dives into Charlie's article evaluating Jakub Voracek, and wrap up their development camp evaluations after Steph and Bill attended the 3 on-3 tournament which ended the on-ice portion of camp.

You can listen below or on your mobile device thanks to iTunes, Google Play, and Soundcloud.

Follow us on twitter @BSH_Radio to yell at us about goalies!

[#] Tue Jul 18 2017 16:00:02 EDT from rss

Subject: Broad Street Hockey 2017 Draft Party Video

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Re-live drafting Nolan Patrick while surrounded by your favorite Flyers fans!

Were you not able to make it to our draft party? Do you want to re-live the Flyers drafting Nolan Patrick one more time? Well you’re in luck! We’ve put together a short video re-capping the night Nolan became a Flyer.

[#] Wed Jul 19 2017 07:00:02 EDT from rss

Subject: Wednesday Morning Fly By: Is this thing still on?

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Today's open discussion thread, complete with your daily dose of Philadelphia Flyers news and notes...

*Jesus christ there is truly nothing happening in the hockey world right now. Good news though! New BSH Radio!! [BSH]

*Looks like development camp invite Ivan Kosorenkov has earn himself an invite to rookie camp in September. [Hockeybuzz]

*The Phantoms are relying on coaches and veteran players to show the new kids the ropes up in Leigh Valley. [WFMZ]

*Matthew Strome is super excited to have so much attention being shown to his skating...uh...troubles. Kid is really eager to get better. [CSN Philly]

*We talked about this a bit on BSH Radio this week but how in the world is Jaromir Jagr still unsigned? He's really good still! [Puck Daddy]

*Knock-off hockey jerseys are very often hilariously bad, but this are the most hilarious. [TSN]

*Speaking of jerseys, can the NHL learn something from the NBA when it comes to team uniforms? [SB Nation]

*And finally, there's a new Goon movie coming out. First one was pretty funny. This one should be too. [ProHockeyTalk]

[#] Wed Jul 19 2017 10:49:05 EDT from rss

Subject: Submit your ranking for our Philadelphia Flyers Top 25 Under 25!

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Want to vote alongside our writers in our ranking of the top young talent in the Flyers’ organization? Here’s your chance.

We have reached the deadest part of the hockey offseason, and we’re unlikely to get much in the way of real news between now and Labor Day pertaining to our favorite hockey team. So let’s talk about the future.

Long-time readers of the site will be familiar with our Flyers Top 25 Under 25 series, in which we rank every player under organizational control under the age of 25 based on their value to the organization. We do a brief version during the season (here’s the final post from our version of that this past winter) and a fuller, more in-depth version during the offseason. With August near, it’s time for us to get ready for the summer version.

Last year, for the first time, we opened up one spot on the voters’ panel to you, the people. We’re going to do that again this time around, so if you’d like to see your opinion help decide the final rankings, here’s your chance.

Please use the form below, or at this link, to rank the 25 players in the organization under 25, based on their current value to the organization. How you choose to define that is up to you — NHL-readiness right now, long-term upside, trade value, etc.

Some quick notes:

  • Five players have been removed from the ballot that was sent out last winter. Nick Cousins and Merrick Madsen were traded to Arizona, Jesper Pettersson and Samuel Dove-McFalls were not retained by the team, and Jordan Weal had his 25th birthday.
  • Meanwhile, 11 players have been added to the ballot from February: the nine members of the 2017 NHL Draft class (a group headlined, of course, by Nolan Patrick), as well as college free agent Mike Vecchione and Michigan forward Brendan Warren (acquired via Arizona).
  • Please only submit one ballot.
  • Make sure to only pick any given player once; otherwise, we cannot guarantee that your ballot will be counted.
  • Please do not submit any joke ballots, or else they will be thrown out and you’ll have wasted the time to have scrolled through an entire Google form and clicked through 25 dropdown boxes for nothing. We reserve the right to decide what is and is not a joke ballot — reasonable difference in opinion is fine, but we will know a ballot that wasn’t taken seriously when we see it.
  • Please submit your ranking by the end of the day (11:59 p.m. ET) next Thursday, July 27.

When all is said and done, all of the community ballots will be combined and scored, and the end result will count as one ballot in the final vote next to each of our writers’ ballots. If you have any questions, please drop them in the comments, or send them to me via Twitter or email ( Enjoy!

[#] Thu Jul 20 2017 07:00:02 EDT from rss

Subject: Thursday Morning Fly By: BSH needs you.

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Today's open discussion thread, complete with your daily dose of Philadelphia Flyers news and notes...

*It's the mooooost wonderful tiiiiiiime of the yeeeeaaaaaar! 25 Under 25 time!! Before we show you our ranking we want to know yours, so please please please vote! [BSH]

*Hey, Nolan Patrick is skating! This is most excellent news. [Sons of Penn]

*A ranking of the best farm systems in the league, you say? Wonder where the Flyers fall... [The Hockey Writers]

*DGB is a hero for pumping out rankings and lists all summer long; here's his list of five players who won a Stanley Cup due to really bad timing. [The Hockey News]

*And here in these dark days you might be itching for some new hockey sites you hadn't yet heard of. Information and resources and such. The Leafs fans are here for you. [Pension Plan Puppets]

*And finally, since the entire hockey world is at the cottage and nothing good will happen from here ''til September, enjoy this fun video of the BSH Draft Party that was an amazing time. It will get you through these hot and empty days. [BSH]

[#] Thu Jul 20 2017 10:00:02 EDT from rss

Subject: Top 10 photos of Andrew MacDonald being Andrew MacDonald from the 2016-2017 season

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A special Flyers Frese Frame season recap gallery

[#] Fri Jul 21 2017 07:00:01 EDT from rss

Subject: Friday Morning Fly By: the face...

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Today's open discussion thread, complete with your daily dose of Philadelphia Flyers news and notes...

*So Nolan Patrick was set to make his big debut on the Flyers practice ice but he did not do this because he has an infection in his face. An infection. IN his face. [Inquirer]

*Which makes this article about how there's no need to wait on Nolan Patrick as long as he is healthy kind of hilarious. [Daily News]

*Nicolas Aube-Kubel is another one of the Flyers' sort-of middling prospects who is hoping to make more of an impact this season. [CSN Philly]

*As Flyers fans, we really should greet each morning with a loud, genuine, THANK YOU to the Nashville Predators for matching that Shea Weber offer sheet lo those many years ago. [Puck Daddy]

*So what would you say is the best play in Flyers' history? [CSN Philly]

*The Golden Knights tested their prospects' knowledge of 90s music and the results are predictably hilarious and also hello you are old. [SB Nation]

*Looks like the AHL is going to allow its players to go to the Olympics. No two-way guys, though. [CSN Philly]

*Buuuuttttt because the NHL is an absolute shitshow, there is reportedly a "backup schedule" that would allow for the league to break while players represent their countries. Would not surprise at all, to be honest. [Puck Daddy]

*There is always a ton of speculation about what goes on in NHL locker rooms, from who leads to who is a cancer, so it's kinda fun to hear about it from a players' perspective. [The Players' Tribune]

*Have you ranked your top 25 under 25 yet?? DO IT IT IS FUN! [BSH]

*And finally, Andrew MacDonald: truly the gift that keeps on giving. [BSH]

[#] Mon Jul 24 2017 07:00:02 EDT from rss

Subject: Monday Morning Fly By: Be sure to properly lance all boils

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Today's open discussion thread, complete with your daily dose of Philadelphia Flyers news and notes...

*Have you cast your ballot for the Flyers top 25 under 25? No? Okay well go do that now and then come back for all this linky goodness. [BSH]

*It is the year of our lord two thousand and seventeen and we are still debating the worth of Sean Couturier. This is why we can't have nice things, you guys. [Hockeybuzz]

*And also Claude Giroux! Folks.... [CSN Philly]

*So Nolan Patrick had an abscess on his face. Eww. Like, this is a team that gives zero details about any injury ever and yet for some reason we are all forced to live with the facts surrounding someone's face boil. [Inquirer]

*Mikhail Vorobyev is excited to bring his game to North America. [Flyers]

*You know what's cool? The Flyers drafted a kid in high school and he has already shown some promise. That's pretty fun. [CSN Philly]

*George McPhee has way too many defensemen on his roster but doesn't seem to think that's an urgent problem. [ProHockeyTalk]

*And finally, South Jersey's Own Johnny "Hockey" Gaudreau wants to be a Flyers. Happy Monday. [Sportsnet]

[#] Mon Jul 24 2017 11:00:02 EDT from rss

Subject: BSH Story Time: The time Bobby Clarke had his jersey stolen

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In which Bobby Clarke joins the esteemed company of Zac Rinaldo and Darroll Powe.

Bobby Clarke. Arguably the most recognizable Flyer of all time. That toothless grin that stretched ear to ear, and that number 16 jersey flowing on the ice.

Well, except for those two games in 1981 where Clarke did not sport his now-retired number 16.

Story time!

It was February of 1981 and the Flyers were on the final two games of a six-game road trip out west. They were struggling, having only won one of their last four games. After coming off a 6-2 loss against the up-and-coming Oilers, the Flyers were preparing for their next game in Winnipeg, against the Jets.

But there was one issue: Bobby Clarke didn’t have a jersey to wear. Reportedly, someone had stolen his jersey sometime before the game. Remember, these were the days when teams would only travel with one set of jerseys.

The only option was to wear the one extra jersey the Flyers had, which was number 36. Two other Flyers (Greg Adams and Reid Bailey) had this number; however, neither played a part in the two games Clarke wore this number.

Bobby went on to record one assist in a 6-3 win against the Winnipeg Jets, and in the following game he was held scoreless in a 4-2 win against the North Stars.

The Flyers returned back from their road trip after the game in Minnesota and Clarke’s number 16 was replaced, as all order in the world was restored.

[#] Tue Jul 25 2017 07:00:02 EDT from rss to ING

Subject: Tuesday Morning Fly By: SUMMER IS BORING

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Today's open discussion thread, complete with your daily dose of Philadelphia Flyers news and notes...

*Soooooo...what should we expect from Scott Laughton this season? [CSN Philly]

*How's about Travis Konecny? Maybe a little more consistency in his second year? [Sports Talk Philly]

*On the whole, though? It's not crazy to expect this team to pack way more of an offensive punch than they did last year. []

*Cooper Marody and Brendan Warren are hoping to find a place together on the Flyers after college. [CSN Philly]

*Philly is getting a new hockey team! That seems like something that could be fun and good. [Inquirer]

*Summer time is wedding season for the NHL, and even some Flyers have been part of the festivities. [TSN]

*The date for the Flyers' Wives Fight For Lives Carnival has been set and it's super early again which is...curious. [Flyers]

*Anyone remember these weird hockey equipment things? They're so weird. [TSN]

*Hockey in Houston? Maybe! [CBS Sports]

*In addition to our own Flyers 25 Under 25, SB Nation will be doing a league-wide ranking soon which will be fun. [SB Nation]

*First up is Montreal forward Alex Galchenyuk. [SB Nation]

*And finally! Another edition of BSH story time! This time we look at the time Bobby Clarke had his jersey stolen. [BSH]

[#] Tue Jul 25 2017 11:00:11 EDT from rss

Subject: Wayne Simmonds: Re-sign or ship out?

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The year: 2019. The gang: vigorously debating the future of Wayne Simmonds. The volume: loud.

With the dog days of summer in full swing, the BSH Radio crew turns their focus towards the future. The status of Wayne Simmonds is the big debate, and whether the Flyers should plan to re-sign him after the 2018-19 season at age-31, or possibly trade him for a haul before his current contract expires. Steph and Kelly lean towards the "trade him!" camp, Bill is all about a new contract for Mr. Train, while Charlie provides the "wait and see" perspective. Then, the conversation moves towards the most polarizing player on the Flyers -- Sean Couturier. The gang breaks down exactly why he's become a "you either love him or hate him" type of player, before diving into his ideal linemates for 2017-18. The show concludes with Bill imploring the Flyers to bring back a local hero, and Steph expressing concerns about the Jakub Voracek contract.

You can listen below or on your mobile device thanks to iTunes, Google Play, and Soundcloud.

Follow us on twitter @BSH_Radio and then pop on over to iTunes and give us an honest (five-star) review!

[#] Wed Jul 26 2017 07:00:01 EDT from rss

Subject: Wednesday Morning Fly By: Have you asked yourself "Is it October yet?" lately?

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Today's open discussion thread, complete with your daily dose of Philadelphia Flyers news and notes...

*Heeeeeyyyyy Nolan Patrick's boil-less face is back on the ice! Excellent news. [Sons of Penn]

*Let's take a closer look at the newest ice hockey game in town, the former Aston Rebels. [CSN Philly]

*The Flyers have some excellent goaltending prospects coming up through the ranks in the next couple of years. Who are the rest of the league's top kids in net? [The Hockey Writers]

*Our old pal Mark Streit has found himself a home in an old familiar place. Good for him. [CBC]

*SB Nation's league-wide 25 Under 25 continues with #24: Jonathan Drouin. Man there are a lot of great kids in this league right now. [SB Nation]

*On players whose season was defined by their shooting percentage last year. [Medium]

*And finally, there's literally nothing going on in hockey but don't you worry, BSH Radio is still rolling on and we are inventing problems to talk about. Always remember to stay after the credits. [BSH]

[#] Thu Jul 27 2017 07:00:02 EDT from rss

Subject: Thursday Morning Fly By: Do more offer sheets, jerks

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Today's open discussion thread, complete with your daily dose of Philadelphia Flyers news and notes...

*It would appear that Anthony Stolarz doesn't yet have a permanent place on this hockey team, but he's gonna work real hard to change that this year. [Flyers]

*Johnny Gaudreau is getting a lot of attention lately since he said he wants to be a Flyers. Which is absolutely going to happen when he's like 34 and has nothing left in the tank. [Courier-Post]

*Alex Lyon is heading into his second season with the Phantoms and is hoping to get a chance to shine. [Flyers]

*SB Nation's 25 Under 25 is on to #23, Sean Monahan. [SB Nation]

*Team Canada has named its pre-Olympic tournament rosters, giving us the first look at what a team without NHLers might look like. [TSN]

*What's interesting is there are a number of super old guys without contracts, like Shane Doan and Jerome Iginla. It'll be interesting to see if the Olympic GMs go the NHL alumni route. [The Hockey News]

*Speaking of, here's a look at the remaining free agents that are actually good. Amazing that Jaromir Jagr still doesn't have a job. [The Hockey News]

*So what's up with NHL general managers refusing to use the offer sheet option? [SB Nation]

*The offseason is the time when everyone likes to go hard on forced narratives, so here's DGB on seven NHL offseason storylines that have completely dropped off the radar. [Sportsnet]

*And finally, not saying you MUST do this this weekend but um.... [TSN]

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