Where do the Philadelphia Flyers go from here?
The Philadelphia Flyers received the knockout punch against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Sunday's Afternoon Game 6 contest. Philadelphia lost 8-5 and they are eliminated in the first-round for the second time in three seasons.
The Flyers didn't make it to the postseason during the 2016-17 season. Philadelphia had a much better 2017-18 season, but they still have work to do this offseason.
The Flyers aren't ready to be the class of the Metropolitan Division yet and they will be one day. For Flyers fans calling for Dave Hakstol's job, who are you going to find out there that is better? He is the right man for this job because Philadelphia has a lot of young players and Hakstol was recently a college coach at North Dakota a few years ago.
Speaking of young players, they have some very promising players on the way like goalie Carter Hart, forward Matthew Strome, forward Nicolas Aube'-Kubel, and centerman Mike Vecchione. I am not sure if some of them will crack the roster next year, but they are a part of the Flyers future plans.
Defenseman Brandon Manning and John Oduya will be unrestricted free agents and I don't expect the Flyers to bring them back. Robert Hagg is a restricted free agent and the Flyers will most likely bring him back.
Is it worth keeping Radko Gudas on the roster for the next two years when he is owed $3.5 million a season? They could very well move him and it wouldn't be a surprise.
Matt Read and Valtteri Filppula are unrestricted free agents as well. They could be brought back but I wouldn't be surprised if they weren't brought back either. Taylor Leier is a restricted free agent and he most likely won't be back.
Goaltenders Brian Elliott and Michal Neuvirth both have one-year left on their contracts. Goaltending is going to be shaky for the Flyers once again when the 2018-19 season arrives. They won't re-sign Petr Mrazek. He was acquired in a trade from the Detroit Red Wings at the trade deadline, but it didn't work out for them.
Anthony Stolarz and Alex Lyon will also be free agents for the Flyers. They should re-sign one of those two goalies to be the third goalie at the start of the 2018-2019 season. This is insurance until Carter Hart is ready to be in Philadelphia at the start of the 2019-20 season.
Moving Claude Giroux to the wing during the regular season paid off. He did score 34 goals and recorded 68 assists during the regular season. Giroux had a disappearing act in the postseason with only scoring one goal and two assists with a plus/minus of -10.
Sean Couturier scored 31 goals and recorded 45 assists during the regular season as Philadelphia's number one centerman. He played Game's 5 and 6 with a Torn MCL. Couturier scored the game-winning goal in Game 5 and scored a hat-trick and recorded two assists in Game 6. He had five goals and recorded four assists for the Flyers in five postseason games (missed Game 4).
Rookie Nolan Patrick only scored 13 goals and recorded 17 assists during the regular season, but he will play a big role in the near future for the Philadelphia Flyers. Patrick is going to have to take his game to another level next season and it will be a key component in whether or not the Flyers take that next step.
Philadelphia has a couple of solid defenseman in Shayne Gostibehere and Ivan Provorov. They are both good offensively and defensively. Travis Sanheim has potential too, but he needs to see game action next season. He only played 49 games during the regular season, but Sanheim played in four games during the postseason.
They also have defenseman Samuel Morin in the farm system and he has potential, but he might need more polishing in the minors. If the Flyers are able to re-sign Robert Hagg, they will have at least three good defensemen on the team and they could sign another one in free agency.
Philadelphia has a big offseason ahead of them and if they continue to draft well and sign the right free agents, they could be an even better team in the 2018-19 season.