The Flyers are set to open the 2021-22 season on Friday night, and expectations seem to be moderate.

The team added plenty of new faces and is hopeful for a bounce-back season from goalie Carter Hart, who struggled in 2020-21.

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However, there is at least one ESPN NHL analyst who thinks they could surprise this season. NHL reporter Emily Kaplan lists the Flyers as her surprise team this season, suggesting that the addressed their blue line issues.

I could see them running the table in the Metro Division. I liked their offseason; the throughline of their moves was adding competitive spirit. I especially like how they addressed the blue line by adding Ryan Ellis (an overall stud defenseman), Rasmus Ristolainen (who desperately needed a change of scenery) and Keith Yandle (who might just make Philly's power play fun to watch). That all should help protect Carter Hart, who is poised to bounce back in a big way.

Kaplan thinks all the new faces on the defense should help Hart have a bounce back season, which could help them in the Metropolitan Division. Adding Ryan Ellis, Rasmus Ristolainen and Keith Yandle gives the team a totally different look on the blue line.

Look for Ryan Ellis and Ivan Provorov on the top pairing, Ristolainen and Travis Sanheim as the No. 2 pairing and Yandle and Justin Braun as the No. 3 pairing.

You can listen to the Flyers open the season against the Vancouver Canucks on Friday at 7pm on 97.3 ESPN with Tim Saunders and Steve Coates calling all the action.

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