The last time the Flyers made it to the Stanley Cup Final came after the 2009-10 season.
Claude Giroux and James van Riemsdyk are the only remaining players from that team. Both have said this year’s team is the most competitive since that club a decade ago.
“Yeah, I do believe that this is probably our best chance that we’ve had since,’’ Giroux said. “We have a lot of depth. We have veterans. We have young players that do a lot for us. Our goaltending. We’re just good everywhere.
“Confidence is a big part of it. If we can get that confidence early on during the round robin, I think that’s going to be huge for us.’’
The Flyers head into this year’s postseason having not won a playoff series since 2012, a drought which is a franchise record.
>Raffl also optimistic
Like Giroux, Michael Raffl also has been around the Flyers for quite some time. He joined the team for the 2013-14 season so he’s been through plenty of ups and downs.
According to Raffl, this season could be a rather big “up.’’
“To be honest with you, I think this is the strongest team I’ve been on since I got over here,’’ Raffl said. “We improved over the course of last season and put us in a real good spot towards the end.
“Obviously that four-month break didn’t help, but I was surprised at the shape the boys were when they came in for the camp. I think the boys are ready to go.’’
>Sanheim: Flyers taking round robin seriously
Defenseman Travis Sanheim says the Flyers won’t be holding back when they take on the Boston Bruins on Sunday in the round robin opener.
“For us, we are the fourth seed so we kind of got nothing to lose,’’ he said. “It’s a good chance for us to get our game where it needs to be come playoff time.
“In saying that, we’re going to take every game like it the playoffs and we need to win it. It’s going to be a good test. There’s a lot of good teams in that round robin. I think it’s going to set us up well for when playoffs roll around.’’
>Different looks on power play
Every team goes through it at some point in the season, namely the power play gets a little too predictable. Perhaps stale is a better word.
So assistant coach Michel Therrien, who oversees the power play unit, has been trying different looks to keep penalty killers off balance.
For instance, in training camp, Giroux sometimes played on the right side instead of the left.
“We’ve got two different set-ups that we like and I think it puts the other team more on their heels,’’ Therrien explained. “We tried ‘G’ on his strong side (left). He’s been used to playing on his forehand side but we wanted to go through that process about getting used to playing on the right side, too.
“We want to have different looks and it takes time to work on different looks. It takes time for the players to feel comfortable with different looks. There’s no doubt at the end the players feel a lot more comfortable about the way we want to approach our power play.’’