5 Stats That Explain Philadelphia Flyers' Slow Start in 2013-14
There is on way around it at this point: The Philadelphia Flyers look like a really bad hockey team so far in the 2013-14 season.
They have lost six of their first seven games and have yet to score more than two goals in any game.
Luckily, none of those games have been against division opponents, and there is obviously still time to make up for the putrid start. But that turnaround must start immediately.
Why have the Flyers been so bad thus far? Here are five key stats that help to explain why Philadelphia is 1-6 right now.
All stats from NHL.com
Minor Penalties Per Game
Minor Penalties per Game: 5.71
The Flyers are currently averaging almost six minor penalties per game, which is most in the league. It's more telling to look at minors per game instead of total minutes, because majors and game misconducts often don't result in power plays and skew the overall numbers a lot.
But the Flyers have had a ridiculous amount of penalty kills because of their lack of discipline, but also their lack of speed. Guys like Nicklas Grossmann have had multiple bad hooking calls because of their lack of speed.
Zac Rinaldo has four minor penalties, which is absolutely unacceptable considering he has only played 70 shifts. His energetic playing style has been praised, but the energy has not at all been worth the penalty killing that comes from his ridiculous lack of discipline.
Average Age of Defense
Average Age of Defense: 29.14
I could not find a list of the average age of defensive units of other NHL teams for comparison, but I know that in today's NHL, an average age of over 29 for defensemen in just way too high.
The game is getting faster and more wide open at the professional level, making it harder for defensemen to keep up with forwards unless they are exceptionally quick on their skates. Defensemen also typically rack up the most minutes on the team, so stamina is important.
Luke Schenn, the Flyers' youngest defensemen, is known more as a slower, powerful defensive defenseman, which is fine in its own right but is not what the Flyers need.
As a result, they are taking bad penalties and breaking down in the third period, where the Flyers are getting outscored 10-2.
Power-Play Percentage: 6.9%
The Flyers have converted on only about seven percent of their power-play opportunities this season so far, which is third worst in the league.
Nobody has gotten on a roll or stepped up, and things really look out of sync. There have been a few bad breaks, close calls and posts hit, but they just are not making enough good plays to have any type of sustainable success.
This needs to get better to help boost the offense. Mark Streit was supposed to be a big boost for the power play as a quarterback on the point, but he's ultimately done very little.
Also, while Scott Hartnell has found a lot of success on the man-advantage in recent years, he has no goals (in any situation) this season.
Giroux and Voracek Goals
Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek: Combined 0 Goals
There really is not much to elaborate on here, and I have already written on this topic. Giroux is the captain, team leader and is considered one of the biggest superstars in the league.
Voracek is an exceptional offensive talent who had a breakout campaign in 2013. The fact that neither of them have scored a single goal is shocking and incredibly disappointing.
Goals Per Game
Goals Per Game: 1.43
This is pretty much just a summation of all the other problems the Flyers have had so far. They average the second-least goals per game in the NHL through their first seven games.
The Flyers have not scored more than two goals in a game. Tye McGinn leads the team with three goals.
Giroux, Voracek and Hartnell have been mentioned, but Matt Read, Wayne Simmonds, Sean Couturier, Mark Streit and Kimmo Timonen are all looking for their first goal as well.
The talent is there, but the cohesion is not. Most players don't look confident, and nobody is stepping up and making big plays. This needs to change immediately, or the season will be lost.