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Looking ahead for the Flyers: Only minor tweaks needed (aside from in goal, of course)

Shayne Gostisbehere, left, and Ivan Provorov provide the core to one of the league's best young groups on defense. AP Photo/Tom Mihalek

As each NHL team is eliminated from playoff contention -- either mathematically or by losing in the postseason -- we'll take a look at why its quest for the Stanley Cup fell short in 2017-18, along with three keys to its offseason and a way-too-early prediction for what 2018-19 will hold.


What went wrong

Let's keep things in perspective. No, the Philadelphia Flyers didn't get too close against the Pittsburgh Penguins in their first-round series. But the fact that the Flyers even played this late in the season is something at which to marvel.

Around Thanksgiving, the Flyers were mired in a 10-game losing streak and chants of "Fire Hakstol" reverberated around the Wells Fargo Center. Those calls would resurface, but it's hard to argue that this team didn't improve substantially; the Flyers are trending up.

Depth, however, plagued Philadelphia; the Flyers struggle when either Sean Couturier or Claude Giroux are not on the ice. And of course, there's the decades-long issue that won't go away: goaltending. Philadelphia has become the factory of sadness for churning out goaltenders, a la the NFL's Cleveland Browns and quarterbacks. Brian Elliott became the 10th Flyers goalie to start a playoff game for Philly since 2005, most in NHL in that span. While the 33-year-old journeyman shouldn't be the only scapegoat for playoff woes, he certainly couldn't match up against Sidney Crosby & Co.