For years, the Flyers have been one of the NHL's consistently good teams. They've also got probably the best (if not most injury-prone) player in the world, Peter Forsberg. So why are they having such a dismal start to the season?
After last night's loss to Florida (?!), the Flyers have been beaten in five straight and are currently last in the Atlantic with a 1-6-1 record. The Flyers have never been shy about spending money to enhance the roster. The problems are twofold:
1 - The Flyers are ill-adapted to the new NHL. Too big and slow, especially on defense, a problem that is compounded by the fact that no one on the team is playing with any serious drive. I mean, Derian Hatcher has 0 points and is a -10. He cannot cut it in the new game.
2 - Lack of secondary scoring. Simon Gagne's troubles are well-documented, but the Flyers are a team built so that their success is predicated on a core of young forwards, and those forwards are not getting the job done. To wit:
Jeff Carter - 1 g, 1 a
R.J. Umberger - 1 g, 0 a
Mike Richards - 0 g, 0 a
Ryan Calder - 0 g, 0 a
That's just not gonna cut it. And of course Gagne, who has 4 points and is a -2 so far, needs to step up his production. The Flyers invested a lot of money, $5.25M, in the fact that Gagne could step into the role of elite player, and it hasn't happened.
More importantly, the team is pushing the panic button already. They recently waived three players and are switching lines constantly. A quick fix will be nowhere to be found. The team has to stick with four lines and wait for chemistry to develop. If it doesn't, they know they'll need to rebuilt going into next season.