From the Flyers' perspective, watching the Islanders get roasted Monday by Tampa Bay, 8-2, reinforced just how much work Philadelphia general manager Chuck Fletcher needs to do in the offseason.
The Flyers scored a combined total of three goals in their four losses to the Islanders in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
In Game 1 of the conference finals Monday, the Steven Stamkos-less Lightning seemed to have more odd-man rushes than the Flyers had in their seven-game series against the Isles.
The Lightning chased Isles goalie Thomas Greiss by scoring three goals on nine shots at the start of their romp.
That’s the same Greiss who has been a backup for most of the postseason – and had a ridiculous 1.08 goals-against average and an even more ridiculous .960 save percentage in three playoff appearances against the Flyers.
Brayden Point had two goals for Tampa in Game 1. That’s one more goal than the combined total scored by Travis Konecny, Jake Voracek and Claude Giroux in the entire seven-game series against the Islanders.
The Lightning had 34 shots on goal in Game 1 against New York, and, incredibly, had just one shot that missed the net.
The Flyers had 16 shots on goal in their awful Game 7, and 11 missed the net.
Granted, after a draining seven-game series against the Flyers, the Islanders probably had a letdown in their opener against Tampa. Look for them to be much better the rest of the series.
Still, based on the Flyers’ showing against the Islanders, Fletcher knows he needs to upgrade his forwards in the coming months.
There are reports that wingers Patrik Laine, Max Domi, Nikolaj Ehlers, Alex Killorn and Kyle Palmieri are available – and yes, Johnny Gaudreau would fit nicely in Philadelphia if Calgary decided to send him home. The Flyers' James van Riemsdyk, Shayne Gostisbehere and Voracek will be mentioned in trade rumors.
That said, deals are much more difficult in the salary-cap era.
That bring us to free agency, which is tentatively scheduled to start Oct. 9 at noon. Here are some potential unrestricted free-agent forwards who will draw Fletcher’s attention:
Taylor Hall, 28, LW ($6 million cap hit this season): He has gone downhill since winning the MVP in 2017-18 – an award Giroux should have won – and produced 16 goals and a minus-14 rating this season. The biggest “name” forward in the UFA market, but his cost figures to be too high for the Flyers.
Mike Hoffman, 30, LW-RW ($5.2 million cap hit this season): He isn’t defensively responsible – minus-49 over the last three seasons – but he is a sniper (65 goals over the last two years) who would boost the Flyers' power play. He had 17 power-play goals in 2018-19, and 11 this season.
Tyler Toffoli, 28 RW-LW ($4.6 million cap hit this season): He has ties to Flyers senior adviser Dean Lombardi from their days in L.A. and is coming off a 24-goal season, combined with the Kings and Vancouver.
Evgenii Dadonov, 30, RW ($4 million cap hit this season): An underrated player who scored 28, 28, and 25 goals (in 69 games) over the last three seasons with Florida, he would bolster the Flyers' power play.
Alex Galchenyuk, 26, LW-RW ($4.9 million cap hit this season): He’s coming off a disappointing season, but the one-time 30-goal scorer is young enough to bounce back.
Derick Brassard, 32, LW ($1.2 million cap hit this season): He’s not a sniper, but his speed helps generate offense and he’s a solid bottom-six player.
Craig Smith, 31, RW ($4.25 million cap hit this season): An under-the-radar player, Smith has averaged 20.6 goals over the last seven seasons with Nashville.
Vladislav Namestnikov, 27, LW-RW ($4 million cap hit this season): He had 17 goals this season and was productive (four goals in 12 games) in the playoffs for Colorado.
Mikael Granlund, 28, LW-RW ($5.75 million cap hit this season): He had his best seasons (26 and 21-goal campaigns) while in Minnesota when Fletcher was the GM, so there’s that. He is coming off a a 17-goal season in 63 games with Nashville.
Back to this year’s playoffs ...
The Flyers' future looks bright, but there are no guarantees they will get this close to the conference finals next year. Injuries happen. Bad matchups happen. That’s why when you get to a Game 7 showdown, you need to bring your "A" game.
The Flyers didn’t even bring their "D" game.
Greiss was rarely tested, and had the easiest Game 7 shutout in recent memory, 4-0.
The Flyers-Islanders series was supposed to be about the intriguing goalie matchup between Carter Hart, star on the rise, and the Isles' Semyon Varlamov, a proven veteran.
Yet, it was Greiss who had the two most significant wins in the series, including the first Game 7 shutout for the Isles since Glenn “Chico” Resch in 1975.
But his real value came in Game 4, a 36-save performance in a 3-2 Islanders win that gave New York a 3-1 series lead.
From here, it was the turning point of the series.
In the final seconds of Game 4′s second period, you may recall, Greiss stopped van Riemsdyk from in close, and then somehow denied Voracek on the rebound to keep the game tied at 1-1.
In hindsight, they were perhaps the biggest saves of the series. In the third period, the Islanders twice beat Brian Elliott to make it 3-1 and seal the win.
That loss put the Flyers in a huge hole. To their credit, they won the next two games in overtime and set up what became an anticlimactic Game 7.
But in the end, their offense was offensive.