Five-on-five numbers indicate the Flyers just aren’t very good

Image c/o Amy Irving

It’s been a schedule full of disappointments through 16 games in this 2013 NHL season. The Flyers sit in last place in the Atlantic Division, and 12th in the Eastern Conference; but they are only two points out of the eight spot.

It’s no secret that the special teams have, and should, receive their fair share of the blame.  The power play comes in at eighteenth in the league, while the penalty kill ranks sixteenth. All of that, while the Flyers lead the league in minor penalties, and have had the seventh most power play opportunities. It’s not exactly a recipe for success.

But how does the team fair at even strength? With even man-power, our beloved orange and black surely do well with all of their young talent and skill? I mean, if only they could cut down on penalties, and bump the power play percentage up a couple of percentage points, they’d be rolling in “W’s”.

Well…no.

During five on five play, the Flyers come in in the bottom third of the league in goals for per game, shots for per game, and goals against per game. They are middle of the pack in shots against per game.

The chart below indicates the value as well as the rank in parentheses.

They are allowing fewer shots against when compared to last year, but are still managing to allow more goals against. So despite the night and day difference in Ilya Bryzgalov’s play, as indicated by Justin in his latest article, the Flyers are still inept at five on five.

Offensively, they are averaging a full goal per game fewer, and generating far less shots. Comparing the numbers from last year to this year is staggering.

I expected a drop off, but not quite like this. There’s a bit of a perfect storm of failure going on right now.

  • Admittedly, I was never a big James van Riemsdyk fan, and was fully prepared to trade him, but he would sure look nice on this team right now.
  • Jaromir Jagr certainly appears to have been far more critical to this team than many people considered.
  • Wayne Simmonds and Max Talbot both shattered their career highs last year. Expecting that again is just silly
  • The Flyers put all of their eggs in the “second-year players” basket, and it isn’t working. Sean Couturier, Brayden Schenn, and Matt Read are just not producing at the level that is needed (Matt Read is really the exception).
  • The loss of Scott Hartnell is massive at this point in time. If it weren’t for his and Andrej Meszaros’ injuries, I can’t help but think there may have already been a shake-up move made by Paul Holmgren.

Something just isn’t right in Flyer-dom. I think Bill Meltzer hits the nail on the head with this one.

I entertained the idea, during the offseason, that this wasn’t a playoff team; but the fan in me made me place them in the 6-8 seed range. I can only hope that that’s the case now.