The Philadelphia Flyers are in a bit of a transition period. Not necessarily in their roster-building philosophy, as the team is continuing their rebuilding process. But they are in a transition period in their front office. Former Flyers star Daniel Briere is now the team's new general manager. And he made quite the first impression this summer.
Briere knows the heights the Flyers want to reach once again. After all, the last time Philadelphia made the Stanley Cup Final, Briere was on the ice. Not only that, but he put in an incredible performance, scoring 12 goals and 30 points in 23 games.
Briere also knows that the process in getting to those heights won't be easy. And it certainly won't happen overnight. This upcoming season is all about progress on the ice, first and foremost. With that in mind, let's get a bit crazy and make some bold predictions for the Philadelphia Flyers ahead of the 2023-24 NHL season.
Couturier finds his game
Flyers forward Sean Couturier has not played a regular season game since December 2021. He recently returned to game action, skating in Philadelphia's preseason contest last Monday. If he remains healthy, he should find himself on the Flyers roster.
His health is certainly a major factor that we can't ignore. But Couturier's return to the ice should be a success nonetheless. The veteran forward is not going to light up the score sheet. You won't see him replicate his 30-goal seasons from the late 2010s. And it's unlikely he finds himself in contention for any awards, either.
That said, the Flyers won't need him to do any of that. They need him to come in and turn in solid performances night in and night out. Couturier has the ability to do that, and health permitting, he will do so just fine this season.
Noah Cates emerges
One of the more intriguing Flyers players ahead of the new season is young forward Noah Cates. He enjoyed a nice rookie season, scoring 13 goals and 38 points over a full 82 games. His play earned him consideration for both the Calder and the Selke, though he ultimately won neither.
This upcoming season, Cates should truly break out. And really, this is a trend that dates back to the second half of last season. The 24-year-old struggled to begin his rookie campaign. But as the season went on, he began to find his stride. He became more productive offensively and played like a true shutdown player defensively.
Cates should continue this improvement in 2023-24. He will improve his point production in his second full season, though his biggest improvement will come on the defensive end of the ice. In fact, don't be surprised if Cates finds himself as a dark horse for the Selke Trophy this upcoming campaign.
Flyers surpass 80 points
The Flyers finished this past season with 75 points. It marked their third straight season in which they finished in the bottom half of the Metropolitan Division. That trend probably holds true in 2023-24, but they should still see some improvement.
The Flyers will surpass the 80-point mark this season. This would continue another trend you can point out with Philadelphia over the last three years. They have increased their point total each season, going from 58 points in 2020-21 to 61 in 2021-22.
It'll take more than just a successful Couturier return or Cates emerging for this to happen. Philadelphia will need players like Carter Hart, Travis Sanheim, and Scott Laughton to step up as well. And if that happens, the Flyers could end the season with more than 80 points for the first time since 2019-20.