The Flyers season is over. Mercifully.
Anthony is gonna write something later today, but Chuck Fletcher and Alain Vigneault did their wrap-up press conference a short time ago, and I jotted down some notes here:
- On the reason for the slide this year, Vigneault said he has a couple of theories. He noted that the goaltending slipped a bit as COVID hit the team. That resulted in a situation where they were only playing games and not practicing, which affected the younger players –“I’m not saying that’s the reason, a lot of things happened… but I do think that played a part in our game slipping and our season going the way it did.”
- On a #2 priority, Chuck Fletcher said they could “upgrade everywhere.” Priority #1 would seem to be finding a right-handed defenseman. “We need a lot of our young players to be better,” Fletcher said, pointing out that, outside of Joel Farabee, the young group “plateaued or took a step back.”
- Fletcher didn’t see any problem with the performance or leadership of the veteran players. It’s not something he’s identified as a big issue moving forward.
- AV says he came to Philly to win a Stanley Cup, and he told Fletcher that he felt like he “let everyone down” this season. He thinks he needs some time “on a personal level to reflect on the season.” He wants to put the “emotion out of the way and analyze this properly.”
- RE: the pandemic and complications there, AV said the Canadian players who returned home had a really challenging time this season. Fletcher echoed that sentiment, noting that finding ice time and training time was difficult because of everything being shut down.*
- Fletcher said they just gave up too many goals (no duh), which is where the focus is going to be this offseason.
- AV noted that they were chasing games way too frequently, which is “on him” and “team preparation.” He talked about the players needing to be in a mental state to go out and start the game the right way.
- In terms of surgery, and the World Championships, Fletcher says he doesn’t have any information to share right now. They are doing medicals and imaging later today.
- On Nolan Patrick, Fletcher said it was a positive that he was able to get through the season from a physical standpoint. “It’s something he can build off of,” said the GM, noting Patrick wasn’t fully cleared to play until right before camp.
- AV says Patrick had a challenging year, but echoed Fletcher’s take that making it through the season was a big deal. He wants to see what happens with a full year and full non-pandemic camp.
- On Carter Hart, AV said he has a high level of confidence in the goaltender. He thinks he went through adversity for the first time this year, which is necessary to get better and to grow.
- Vigneault kind of danced around direct questions about his status. He wants to coach the team in a normal year and “normal setting.”
*I have to call bullshit on the border thing. Plenty of Canadian players went home, returned to their U.S. – based teams, and did just fine. And Connor McDavid was in Canada the entire time and put up 100 points in 53 games.
Anyway, put this Flyers season in the bagster. Let’s make some upgrades and move on to next year.