One of the worst teams in recent NHL history just completed a season sweep of the Flyers.

Clearly, the 9-2 loss to the Washington Capitals last week was not rock bottom.

The Buffalo Sabres, who just set a dubious NHL record by missing the playoffs in 11 straight seasons, beat the Flyers in all three contests, winning by 6-3, 4-3, and 5-3. The last time the Sabres won three regular-season games in one season against the Flyers was in 2006. In between then and now, the Sabres have gone 21-31-6 against the Flyers.

The players who spoke postgame Sunday appeared visibly frustrated with the result. However, that’s not very different from how they’ve looked during most of their 42 losses.

“I mean, they beat us all three times this year, I guess,” Kevin Hayes said. “No, there’s no frustration that they’ve passed us in any aspect.”

This season, the Sabres are finally seeing the result of years of poor seasons that yield high draft picks. They’re fifth in the Atlantic Division and 11th in the Eastern Conference, which isn’t stellar, but it’s the highest they’ve been in the standings since the 2012-13 season. With numerous young stars on their roster and an impressive showing from Owen Powers (especially against the Flyers), there’s light at the end of the tunnel for the Sabres.

The Flyers, meanwhile, have been stuck in mediocrity and are sinking lower and lower. For years, they’ve alternated good seasons and bad seasons. Now, they’ve strung together two back-to-back atrocious seasons, and there’s only slight hope for the future.

Flyers management can’t wait for the team to get healthy so it can see what it really has. And there’s no denying that the Flyers faced a ton of adversity on the injury front. They’ve been missing the player they were hoping could be their No. 1 defenseman for almost the entirety of the season, and their No. 1 center has been out for more than half the season as well. The other injuries they’ve dealt with are too numerous to list.

One does wonder if Ryan Ellis or Sean Couturier could have provided the extra push for the Flyers in their 11 one-point losses. But then again, the many creative ways the Flyers have found to lose could very well have outweighed any spark Couturier or Ellis could have provided.

But two players don’t make a whole team. And while Hayes has looked better and better with each game, and Noah Cates looks like he could be a valuable asset moving forward, there have been too many who have not played up to expectations.

For some, this is the second season in a row in which they’ve struggled, making their terrible 2020-21 season seem less like the exception and more like the norm. Yet Flyers management keeps emphasizing its confidence in its “core group.”

“I do believe there’s a group of players here that can be part of a winning core,” general manager Chuck Fletcher said in January. The Flyers had already gone through 10-game and 13-game losing streaks by then. They’ve since added six-, four-, and five-game skids.

“I don’t really see this as being a three-, four-, five-year rebuild at all,” CEO Dave Scott said in the same press conference. “We have a pretty good core, I think it really starts with a healthy Coots and Hayes, [Joel] Farabee, we’d love to have Ellis back. We’ve got a core group to build on. I think as we look at the reality of it, two, three pieces, we’d be great. Maybe a little more.”

It’s starting to look like they’ll need maybe a little more than “maybe a little more.”

The Flyers don’t have a top-50 points scorer on the team. They also don’t have a top-100 scorer, unless you count Claude Giroux, who hasn’t been on the team since March 19. Cam Atkinson, the team’s leading scorer, finally checks in at 111. Travis Konecny is currently No. 124, and then there isn’t another Flyer until Farabee at 211.

Granted, Farabee, Hayes, and others have missed chunks of the season with injuries. But when it comes to points per game, Hayes is No. 146, Atkinson is No. 149, and Konecny and Farabee are even further down.

The Capitals game was painful on a smaller scale because watching the way Washington scored at will and racked up nine goals was a bad sign. However, the Flyers’ inability to turn it around since then is the real sign that things aren’t looking good for long-term success.