This isn’t exactly the way the Philadelphia Flyers had drawn up their start to the season.
The Flyers currently sit at 0-3 to start the year. You never want to start a year off that way, especially in a shortened season. But it’s still just three games in, condensed schedule or not, and it’s probably a bit premature to hit the panic button in the City of Brotherly Love.
However, looking at this Philadelphia blue line, it’s clear that the concerns over the defensive corps that this club had coming into the season were completely valid. In each of the three games, the defense has looked downright putrid at times, and it doesn’t bode well for Ilya Bryzgalov.
There’s no doubt that Bryzgalov didn’t have the season he would have liked in his first year with Philly. But coming in and attempting to rebound, those in front of him are making life awfully difficult, which is probably to be expected with the likes of Luke Schenn and Kurtis Foster manning the blue line in front of him.
Through three games, the Flyers have allowed Bryz to be peppered with shot after shot. He’s faced 92 in that trio of games combined, allowing nine goals. That’s not completely terrible, especially when you consider what is playing in front of him on defense. Even worse, the Flyers haven’t seen the production of the offense to offset those defensive struggles either.
It’s not time to panic in Philadelphia. Not yet. But it is going to take some serious re-focusing, and perhaps a move or two to get things right. Bryz has done his part, and it’s time for the Flyers in front of him to return the favor. That starts with the defense in front of him. You can’t rely on outscoring the opponent each game, which the Flyers are probably capable of.
It wouldn’t be a shock to see the Flyers make a move for a D-man long before the trade deadline. But it’s clear that they need some help. Bryz is likely going to continue to see his fair share of the blame for the Flyers struggles, even if he has a blue line full of pylons skating in front of him. That blame that he’ll likely be saddled with isn’t justified, given the Flyers’ inability to ice a solid group of D-men.
The Flyers were considered a Stanley Cup contender coming into the season, despite those glaring issues on the back end. They have yet to back up that talk, and Ilya Bryzgalov would likely appreciate it if his teammates in front of him, offense and defense alike, could step it up. And perhaps the front office could acquire a steady defenseman to throw out there, as well.