Philadelphia Flyers' Biggest Areas for Improvement in 2nd Half of 2013-14 Season
The Philadelphia Flyers have really turned things around after an awful start, but they still have a number of areas for improvement over the second half of the 2013-14 season.
They are showing some promise and could potentially make a playoff run, but these facets of the game could also end up holding them back.
Here are the four areas the Flyers need to improve on in the second half of the year.
Offense from the Defense
Nobody expects the Flyers defense to be an offensive juggernaut, but it needs to be a lot better it has been. Mark Streit has picked it up recently, but he still leads Philadelphia's defensemen with just 18 points.
Kimmo Timonen has looked old, scoring only 12 points this season, and pretty much everyone else looks slow and turnover-prone. Braydon Coburn, Nicklas Grossmann, and Luke Schenn have combined for just 20 points this season.
The Flyers forwards are talented, but they can only do so much.
Fans vastly underrate the importance of defensemen making good outlet passes and helping the transition out of the defensive zone, but it has a huge impact on the entire team's potential for offensive output.
When the Flyers outshoot their opponents, their win percentage is .667. When they are outshot by their opponents, the Flyers' winning percentage is .381.
But the Flyers average just slightly less shots per game than they give up, and clearly, they need to figure out a way to get more pucks on the net.
Guys like Scott Hartnell and Jakub Voracek have just 100 and 101 shots, respectively, and need to do better there. Brayden Schenn also has just 74, and needs to get the puck on goal more often as well.
This interactive graph shows some interesting advanced metrics and gives players' corsi ratings, which compares the shots for compared to the shots against while a player is on the ice and provides some further insight into the discussion.
The Schenn brothers, despite playing weak competition and taking more offensive zone faceoffs, still have negative corsi ratings, which is disappointing and needs to be improved.
The Flyers are actually 16th in the league in power-play percentage, so they are right in the middle of the pack. But with all of their talent, that's simply not good enough.
Guys like Claude Giroux, Kimmo Timonen and Scott Hartnell have helped carry the power play, and therefore, the whole offense, over the past two seasons.
But all of them have come up a bit short this year. Hartnell had 16 in the 2011-12 season, but just three this year. Voracek has helped carry some weight, but Vincent Lecavalier's injuries have also prevented him from contributing on the man advantage like he was expected to.
They need their power play to be one of the top units in the league, and so far they've been disappointingly mediocre.
The Flyers have improved slightly already in this area since a dreadful start, but they still take way too many penalties and hinder their own progress within games.
They have spent the second-most time on the penalty kill out of all the teams in the NHL, and unsurprisingly have committed the second most minor penalties in the NHL as well.
Coach Craig Berube needs to continue harping on this, because penalties can kill periods and swing momentum when taken at the wrong time. It also forces teams to expend more energy on the penalty kill.
If they don't show more discipline, it will be impossible to be legitimate contenders.