by PuckStopsHere on 04/20/13 at 11:42 PM ET
In a shortened season there is a greater uncertainty in the final standings than normal. A run of good or bad luck will have a bigger impact in the standings than it does in an 82 game season. Perhaps the team that will miss the playoffs that is the biggest change from recent results is the Philadelphia Flyers. The Flyers have made the playoffs each of the last five years and advanced past the first round four of those times. In 2010 they made the Stanley Cup finals. This year they will watch the playoffs on television.
The Flyers currently stand in 12th place in the East Conference. They have three games remaining and are seven points back of the eighth place New York Rangers. They have no mathematical chance of making the playoffs this year.
On the short term the Flyers biggest reason for missing the playoffs is their goaltending. Ilya Bryzgalov has been their number one goalie and he isn't having a strong season. He is posting a .898 saves percentage and a 2.84 GAA. In fact newly acquired Steve Mason is posting better numbers so far this year and he is not having a strong season either. The bigger problem is the opportunity cost that came with making Bryzgalov their number one goalie. It has forced the trading of Vezina candidate Sergei Bobrovsky to Columbus. It also forced the trading of Mike Richards and Jeff Carter who were significant parts of Los Angeles's Stanley Cup victory last year. With these pieces Philadelphia would almost certainly be a playoff team.
On defence, the Flyers have not recovered completely from the loss of Chris Pronger to a likely career ending injury. Kimmo Timonen is having a solid season but there isn't much behind him. Brayden Coburn and Luke Schenn have been among the most played members of their defence but neither has been strong this year.
At forward, Claude Giroux is playing well but is not matching last season when he was the third highest scorer in the league. Jakub Voracek is also scoring well. After those two only Wayne Simmonds has more than 25 points among forwards.
The Flyers have dropped in every position this year. They are allowing more goals and scoring fewer goals. That is why they will miss the playoffs. It isn't clear that trend will turn itself around in the future and if it doesn't it should cost GM Paul Holmgren his job. He bet the future on Ilya Bryzgalov and it has become a very poor bet. That bet has cost him several very good hockey players who have made significant contributions elsewhere. They Flyers are worse off because of it. Had Holmgren been inactive and kept his team instead of changing it over for Bryzgalov they would be a better team. The Philadelphia Flyers are currently in bad shape.
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