Flyers weekly observations: Kudos to Chuck Fletcher, Alain Vigneault


The Flyers have their most points entering December since 1995-96, when Eric Lindros was scoring a career-high 115 points and Ron Hextall was holding down the crease.

The 2019-20 club capped off an NHL-best November with a perfect 4-0-0 week in which it allowed only 1.75 goals per game (see story).

Let's get into that and more with a few weekly observations:

• The season is only two months young but general manager Chuck Fletcher and head coach Alain Vigneault deserve a great deal of credit.

They've answered the bell in many ways.

Fans wanted a proactive offseason. Fletcher went out and acquired Matt Niskanen and Kevin Hayes. He also added Tyler Pitlick and Justin Braun. No prospects or young foundational pieces were sacrificed in the process.

Vigneault has mentioned how important Niskanen has been for Ivan Provorov, who has turned back into the Flyers' best defenseman. The quiet, accomplished Niskanen, though, is arguably the Flyers' most vital piece on the blue line.

With the absence of Nolan Patrick (migraine disorder), Hayes' presence down the middle has become that much bigger. He has helped the Flyers significantly at 5-on-5 and on the penalty kill, which is third best in the NHL (85.7 percent). The 27-year-old center is also on pace to match his career high of 25 goals.

Pitlick is healthy and performing like a dependable fourth-line winger, while Braun has played well alongside Travis Sanheim during the four-game winning streak.

On top of the additions, many clamored for the prospects to play. Joel Farabee, 19, and Morgan Frost, 20, two of the organization's prized prospects, are here right now and being relied upon, while eight rookies have played.

And lastly, fans had grown accustomed to and increasingly frustrated with slow starts to the season. Over their previous five seasons, the Flyers went a combined 23-25-6 in October and 23-29-14 in November.

This season, the Flyers matched their best-ever November (10-2-4, 24 points) and entered Sunday tied for the NHL's fifth-most points with 35 at 15-7-5.

Impressive work by Fletcher, Vigneault and the staff.

2019-20 on Dec. 1

2018-19 on Dec. 1

• The Flyers haven't just had a strong November. They've been one of the NHL's best teams since Oct. 21, earning at least a point in 17 of 21 games with a 13-4-4 record and 30 points.

Coming into Sunday, only one NHL team had more points over that span — the defending champion Blues with 31.

"Not knowing exactly what we had to work with, I believe that we’re a work in progress and I really believe that we have steps forward to make," Vigneault said on Nov. 16. "We’re not where I want this team to be, we’re not where I know our team wants to be, but we’re in a good place."

The Flyers are starting to see the results they believed would come from the process. Instead of digging out of a hole, they must build on it.

Hitting the road this week, or wasting away on the couch in a food coma? The perfect time to binge your favorite NBC Sports Philadelphia podcast! Click here for more.

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