The Philadelphia Flyers’ season ended when the New York Islanders ousted them in six games in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The NHL put its season on pause from mid-March to Aug. 1 due to the coronavirus pandemic. When play resumed, the Flyers romped through the round robin and gained the attention of bookmakers and bettors. They were installed as favorites to win the Eastern Conference at Pennsylvania online sportsbooks.
At the start of the second round of the playoffs, the Flyers and Avalanche led the way in most outright championship bets at BetRivers.
Flyers Eastern Conference and Stanley Cup futures tickets ended up in the trash, but all is not lost. Goaltender Carter Hart had flashes of brilliance, young players showed promise and first-year coach Alain Vigneault finished as the runner-up for the Jack Adams Award (coach of the year).
Lightning and Bruins favorites to win Eastern Conference in 2020-21
At the NHL’s restart, PA sportsbook apps listed the Boston Bruins and the Tampa Bay Lightning as co-favorites at +650. The Lightning beat the Dallas Stars in six games to hoist the Stanley Cup in the NHL’s bubble. Defenseman Victor Hedman, whose Conn Smythe odds opened at +6000, claimed the award.
Of course, a long break will force the start of the 2020-21 NHL season to be pushed back. On Oct. 6, the league and the NHL Players’ Association announced they are targeting January 1 to start the new season.
NHL futures markets for 2020-2021 are available now at PA online sportsbooks.
Stanley Cup favorites:
- Colorado Avalanche: +800
- Tampa Bay Lightning: +850
- Vegas Golden Knights: +900
- Boston Bruins: +1200
- Philadelphia Flyers: +1300
Eastern Conference favorites:
- Tampa Bay Lightning: +375
- Boston Bruins: +550
- Philadelphia Flyers: +600
- Pittsburgh Penguins: +900
Flyers 2020 draft picks
Like pretty much everything else this calendar year, the 2020 NHL draft was held virtually, on Oct. 6 and 7.
The Flyers selected:
- Rd. 1, pick 23: Tyson Foerster (RW)
- Rd. 2, pick 54: Emil Andrae (D)
- Rd. 4, pick 94: Zayde Wisdom (RW)
- Rd. 5, pick 135: Elliot Desnoyers (LW)
- Rd. 6, pick 178: Connor McClennon (RW)
Flyers possible offseason moves
NHL free agency opens on Oct. 9 at noon EST.
Flyers forwards’ inability to consistently produce during the playoffs makes acquiring a goal scorer, either through free agency or a trade, the main objective for general manager Chuck Fletcher. Also, veteran defenseman Matt Niskanen surprised the Flyers when he announced his retirement, so the team will be looking to replace his steady presence on the blue line.
Before and during the draft, there were rumors the Flyers were trying to trade for Winnipeg Jets winger Patrik Laine. The 22-year-old Laine was drafted second overall in 2016. Another intriguing name in the trade rumor mill involves Calgary Flames winger (and New Jersey native) Johnny Gaudreau. Either winger would be a huge addition for the Flyers. In 2019-2020, Laine posted more points (63) than any Flyers player.
Possible free agent targets for the Flyers are:
- Alex Pietrangelo (D)
- Torey Krug (D)
- Bobby Ryan (RW)
- Taylor Hall (LW)
- Alex Galchenyuk (LW)
Will the Flyers host fans this season?
In Oct. 2019, the Wells Fargo Center opened two high-tech sports lounges, the Rivers Casino Philadelphia Sports Lounge and the BetRivers.com Sports Lounge. The Rivers Casino Philadelphia Sports Lounge, on the Main Concourse level, is in the completely redesigned south end of the arena.
The 5,680-square-foot space features 10 86″ screens grouped throughout the seating areas, mixed with odds boards and an additional 16 monitors at the bar.
The BetRivers.com Sports Lounge, on the New City Terrace, faces the bowl so fans can watch the action as it happens below. The nearly 6,500-square-foot lounge is equipped with club chairs, bar and table seating, as well as a custom 22′ long by 8′ tall LED video wall that anchors the viewing area, which has its own dedicated seating space.
An NHL 2020-21 start date is set, but it remains unclear whether fans will be allowed at the Wells Fargo Center, and if they are, how many. Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced on Tuesday that the state is loosening some coronavirus-caused restrictions on crowd limits.
The Pittsburgh Steelers will welcome 5,500 fans to Heinz Field when they host the Philadelphia Eagles on Oct. 11. However, the City of Philadelphia has yet to make a decision on whether it will allow fans at Lincoln Financial Field. And with a situation as dynamic as COVID-19, things could change from now until the puck drops for the Flyers.