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MHH Previews the Lesser 29: Philadelphia

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Welcome to a new installment where we will preview each of the other NHL teams who simply make up the bulk of the league the Avalanche play in. Today, we preview the Philadelphia Flyers.

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Their head coach: Dave Hakstol. For those of you who are also NFL fans, you, like me, will find it odd how Philadelphia sports teams seem to fervently enjoy plucking leaders of their professional sports teams from colleges in North Dakota. Hextall is the former coach of the North Dakota Fighting Sioux (WAIT I'M NOT SUPPOSED TO SAY THAT IT'S OFFENSIVE), while the Eagles just drafted Carson Wentz from North Dakota State. For a city that loves its cheesesteaks, historic bells, and fighting, you wonder what makes The Peace Garden State so appealing to them. Hakstol himself was the first coach to jump straight from NCAA to NHL since Bob Johnson fled from Wisconsin to the Flames in 1982.

Their captain: Claude Giroux. Just a really good player on the offensive side of things that any team would love to have on their team. There's nothing bad you can really say about Claude, and his game speaks for itself. Just look at this.

Their 15-16 season: To my surprise, and probably most people's, they found their way into the playoffs which seemed a bit out of reach for them at the start of the season. Rookie sensation Shayne Gostisbehere was a big part in that, when he broke the record for a rookie defenseman points streak, when he managed to elapse 15 games with at least 1 point. He also became the 1st ever rookie to score 4 overtime goals in a season. Nice to have that kind of production from a guy who plays defense. The Flyers met the Capitals in the playoffs and were eliminated in 6 games.

How did they do against the Avs? They were awful in the first meeting between the teams at Wells Fargo Center. Colorado won handily, 4-0, and the Flyers looked just absolutely awful. In the second meeting at Pepsi Center, both teams came in desperately needing a win to stay in each's respective wild card race, and what I will always consider the beginning of the end of the Avs' playoff chances last season, they blew a late lead in the 3rd to Philly to lose in regulation. It was one of the most disappointing/angering/frustrating/incomprehensible (any negative adjective will accurately describe the feelings of that game) the Avs had. And it was the Flyers' first win in Denver in over a decade, to boot.

When do they play the Avs this season? In Denver on December 14th, and at Philadelphia on February 28th.

Will they be good? My mom, a Philadelphia native, will be very disappointed in me if I say they won't make the playoffs, so to avoid that, I'm going to say they make the playoffs. And even if my mom was from Bismarck (which would probably peak the Phillies' front office interests in hiring her as a new general manager), I think this would be a playoff team. I believe they're only the 5th best team in the Metropolitan, but I think they're still the 8th best team in the East. Giroux, Ghost-Bear, Wayne Simmonds, Sean Couturier, and Brayden Schenn are all fun players. The Flyers' goaltending is and seemingly always is the question. If either Steve Mason or Michal Neuvirth could play at a top level for an entire season, I'd bump the Flyers up to being a 2nd round team in the East. They haven't proven they can though, so this seems like a team bound to fall to Pittsburgh or Washington in the 1st round next spring.

3 Questions with their SB Nation blog, Broad Street Hockey: Got nothing for you from them, good people.