It is not often that a 10-game winning streak ends up hurting a team instead of helping it.
However, the Flyers managed to pull it off this season.
While their 10-game winning streak, which spanned from November into December, was a historic stretch, the ramifications of it were ironically detrimental.
The streak created a false impression of how good the team was, which thus prevented the Flyers from heading into the trade deadline as sellers, delayed the promotion of prospects and hurt their draft status.
Let’s take a deeper look.
After their 10th straight win on Dec. 14, the Flyers were two points back of first place in the Metropolitan Division. The thought was it no longer was a matter of if the Flyers would make the playoffs but rather what playoff spot they’d hold.
As we learned, the streak was a mirage.
They played as poorly for the rest of the season as they had prior to the streak and became the first NHL team to miss the playoffs during a year they had a 10-game winning streak.
Ultimately, the streak masked such deficiencies as too many defensive breakdowns and inconsistent special teams and goaltending — all of which greatly contributed to a disappointing finish and must be addressed this summer.
Thanks to the streak, General Manager Ron Hextall was not a seller at the end of February. He dealt Mark Streit, whose contract expired at the end of the season, for veteran Valtteri Filppula, who carries a $5 million cap hit next year.
If the Flyers were buried in the standings, maybe Hextall swaps Streit, one of his goalies and other veterans for draft picks, which could have opened up spots for prospects.
Which leads us to …
Sam Morin, one of the Flyers’ highly-touted prospects, made his NHL debut on Tuesday against the Devils. It is no coincidence that the 2013 first-round pick (11th overall) was called up after the Flyers were officially eliminated from making the playoffs.
It’s apparent Hextall didn’t want to prematurely wave the white flag until the team was completely out of the postseason picture before turning the page to 2017-18.
So instead of getting a 10-12 game sample if called up in March, Morin will play three games. By not creating any other room at the trade deadline, other potential early call-ups like goalie Anthony Stolarz and defensemen Robert Hagg and Travis Sanheim will miss out on gaining valuable experience in the NHL.
If the Flyers only gained 10 points instead of 20 during the streak, they would have a top five pick in the draft rather than No. 11, where they are slotted heading into Wednesday, and a better shot at winning the lottery to pick first overall.