It wasn't long after the Flyers playoff run came to an end in Game 6 against the Washington Capitals when the inevitable was revealed. The Flyers had players trying to play through injury, two key players at that.
Both Claude Giroux and Shayne Gostisbehere underwent offseason hip and abdominal surgery.
Fast forward to early September, the start of the season for a few Flyers who are off to the World Cup of Hockey. Gostisbehere debuted last Thursday in Team North America's 4-0 win over Team Europe. By all standards, Gostisbehere looked recovered, showing full mobility in skating and his energetic approach in the offensive zone. Giroux's debut came on Friday, and while he too looked back to normal health-wise, the game didn't come without an unnecessary scare.
Giroux took a hit along the boards from Team USA's Joe Pavelski and crumbled to the ice. He needed to be helped off and instantly left for the locker room. For a few moments, Flyers fans were left holding their breath.
These are the risks and rewards of the Flyers having players at the World Cup. Giroux, Gostisbehere and five others are getting a chance to get thrown into meaningful game action, which can only help. The preseason is hardly designed for players like Giroux, Gostisbehere and Jake Voracek, who already are locks to make the Flyers. But there is a fine line in the risk of being injured and the reward of getting some meaningful play in early.
The start of hockey season is rapidly approaching and players will hit the ice even earlier than usual for game action in the first World Cup of Hockey since 2004.
The 2016 World Cup of Hockey will officially open on Saturday, Sept. 17, but preliminary games are already underway. Canada is the favorite in the tournament with 12/11 odds entering the tournament according to My Top Sportsbook.
By Chris DiFrancesco, Sports Talk Philly staff writer
When the Flyers drafted Travis Konecny with the 24th pick of the first in 2015, GM Ron Hextall knew what he had.
Konecny, 19, lit up the OHL in 2015-16, netting 101 points in just 60 games between the Ottawa 67's and Sarnia Sting, good for eighth in the entire league. Konecny would miss significant time due to injuries, halting his stellar productivity.
The Clachan, Ontario native was arguably the most valuable pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, and that's after the Flyers selected defenseman Ivan Provorov just 17 picks earlier with the seventh overall pick.
It was unexpected that a kid as talented as Konecny would fall to 24, but Hextall pulled the trigger quickly and snatched up a bonafide star in the making. As soon as the draft had ended, Flyers fans felt that their team may have just drafted a superstar minutes after the team also selected the best-rated defenseman of that class.