Flyers: At All-Star Break, Improbable Run Could Be Reaching Breaking Point
January was certainly a roller-coaster month for the Flyers. They entered the new year with a pair of losses that stretched a losing streak to four games – albeit with a 0-2-2 record. After snapping the streak with a win on Jan. 6, their next game two nights later became a footnote in wake of the Cutter Gauthier trade, bringing back Jamie Drysdale.
Following the trade, the Flyers started on a five-game winning streak, which included a three-game road trip sweep against Minnesota, Winnipeg, and St. Louis before their most dominant performance of the season against the Dallas Stars.
The Flyers were literally flying high. That was just two weeks ago, following the fifth straight win on Jan. 18. In the two weeks since, the team has suffered five straight losses, all in regulation, and their franchise goaltender was granted indefinite leave of absence and charged with sexual assault.
The All-Star break could not have come at a better time for the team to have a reset. It’s reasonable to wonder if the unexpected and improbable run of success that the team has been on for 50 games is reaching the breaking point. The 32 games remaining present a lot of challenges ahead for a team that has had to grind it out to earn their place to this point in the season.
To start, the team comes out of the break with some immediate tests. The Florida Panthers and Winnipeg Jets are ranked in the Top-6 in the league at the break, and welcome the Flyers back to the ice. The Flyers then play two games on home ice against teams on the playoff bubble: the Seattle Kraken and Arizona Coyotes. After a quick trip to face the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Stadium Series against the New Jersey Devils arrives.
Much like January, the month of March will present the challenge of constant game action with little time for rest and recovery. The team plays 15 games in 30 days, including two back-to-backs.
March also brings the trade deadline into the picture. For the Flyers, who once again arrive at a crossroads in the schedule, the decisions regarding a potential playoff push will be made then and there. The team’s position in the standings could dictate just how much the Flyers play seller.
There will be plenty of names listed out before then. Sean Walker and Nick Seeler have already had their names in the rumor mill. Morgan Frost’s name has come up, primarily due to his usage. Reports surfaced on Thursday that the team is taking calls on Scott Laughton. Cam Atkinson and Travis Konecny have one year remaining on their contracts beyond this season, and could also be up for discussion.
Between the possibility of a playoff run that nobody seemed to have on the radar, and a possible busy trade deadline, there will be plenty to watch surrounding the Flyers in the coming weeks as the season hits the homestretch. Given how the team went into the break, there are plenty of questions that are currently left unanswered as the post All-Star break is about to begin.
Kevin Durso is Flyers insider for 97.3 ESPN. Follow him on social media @Kevin_Durso.
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