The Philadelphia Flyers are a perennial playoff team, missing only once in the past 18 years. The team has a huge budget, a legacy of grit and victory, and the entire eastern portion of Pennsylvania on their side. Great players have tried their damndest, but not a single Stanley Cup has been earned for nearly 30 years. This year, a banged-up and bruised Flyers squad tried to make the best of an injury-riddled season and are on pace to merely miss the cut for 8th place. While young Captain Claude Giroux, veterans like Danny Briere and Kimmo Timonen, and spaceman Ilya Bryzgalov would all love a chance in the tournament, missing the playoffs is actually a great thing.
For the past few years, the Flyers have relied heavily on the aforementioned forwards and some tough defenseman. Those players almost always required some sort of painful surgery to repair injuries after the playoffs. The team has a history of injured players that sit on the Injured Reserve for years, never stepping on the ice and costing the team millions in cap space.
When the shortened season was announced this year, some Flyer fans were hoping the whole thing would have been cancelled, just to give the Orange and Black a chance to recuperate. While other teams were getting an extended break during the spring, the Flyers just kept playing and playing, never getting the proper amount of rest between seasons. They came into this season with multiple people on IR, some carrying over injuries from last year, some repairing career-long issues, and others that tweaked something while playing abroad during the lockout. All in all, this team was not ready for this season and is in no shape to play in the playoffs.
Even better, giving Giroux, Briere, Timonen and the rest much longer to heal, or get surgeries and heal, will mean that next season will be even better. Add in the fact that the Flyers are guaranteed a better draft pick than they have had in a decade, missing the playoffs might be the best thing that’s happened to this squad. The newbies from the Adirondack Phantoms are getting a shot to prove themselves without the pressure of blowing the “big game” that gets them into the playoffs. With only a handful of games left, the Flyers can end their season on a high note and not hobble their way into assured defeat in the playoffs.
Jesse Seilhan is a Philadelphia Flyers writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Anonymousbeard and add him to your network on Google.