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May 24, 2023

Flyers check-in: It's the Cutter Gauthier show at World Championship

Plus the Flyers' push for better transparency with fans and how former Flyers are on the brink of pushing the Florida Panthers into the Stanley Cup Final.

After introducing Danny Brière as the full-time general manager, Keith Jones as the new president of hockey operations, and what the organization is dubbing a "new era of orange" for a rebuild, all has been mostly calm around the Flyers in the couple of weeks since. 

But that doesn't mean quiet. 

Their top prospect is on the international stage and putting on a show, they're taking steps toward better transparency with the fan base, some familiar names are making serious noise in pursuit of the Stanley Cup, and Tuesday brought word that the Flyers are being lined up for an outdoor game against the Devils next season. 

You can read more about the reported Stadium Series matchup HERE

As for those other beats, let's check in...

Cutting right through

The IIHF World Championship exists in an awkward spot for NHL players and fans. 

As an international tournament that annually receives participation from some of the league's best, it should carry some weight, but instead always ends up meaning one of two things:  Either your team didn't make the playoffs or didn't last long enough in them to still be able to fly over. 

So yeah, more often than not, you don't want to have to be thinking about Worlds. 

Cutter Gauthier is making a rare exception though. 

As a 19-year-old winger and the Flyers' top pick from last year's draft, he joined Team USA for the tournament and hasn't just kept up with the pros and other fellow prospects, he's leading the charge. 

In seven games so far, Gauthier's six goals are the second most of any player in the tournament and his plus-10 rating has been leading it throughout. 

He's been all over the ice, showing off a pure goal-scoring ability the Flyers have been sorely lacking and even the playmaking skills and anticipation that keep the puck moving toward the net as seen here:

Gauthier had the opening tally in a 3-0 win over Denmark on Friday, a hat trick in a 9-0 drubbing of France on Sunday, and on Tuesday, notched the primary assist on the first-period goal that tied the U.S. back up with Sweden on the way to a 4-3 victory. 

He'll be going back to Boston College this year for a sophomore season, but with this type of showing right now, he can't get to Philadelphia soon enough. 

Fully transparent

As the Flyers' introduced their new front office leadership on the floor of the Wells Fargo Center two weeks ago, they were plain in stating that the team needed to be rebuilt, that it was going to take some considerable time, yet that it would all be necessary in order to get their process done right. 

But they also expressed a desire to have better communication with the fans moving forward, which had grown lacking and into a major point of frustration over the past several years as the team completely bottomed out. 

For Jones, Brière, coach John Tortorella, team governor Dan Hilferty, and Valerie Camillo on the business side, it's important to them to be able to clearly convey where the team is going, the moves they're making, and why in the years ahead as the Flyers begin to make their climb back to relevance. 

On Tuesday, the organization introduced one of the ways they intend to do it with the announcement of an ongoing offseason docuseries entitled "Liftoff: Embarking on a New Era of Flyers Hockey," which will offer an in-depth look at a critical summer for the team stretching from now to the draft, free agency, and all the way up development camp in July. 

The first episode will premiere Wednesday night at 7 p.m. on the Flyers' YouTube channel

A trailer dropped Tuesday alongside the announcement as an early look:

"Having been a part of this process, I believe this is an outstanding way to engage and really connect with our fans," Jones said in a press release. "What's exciting to me is that we've consistently said we are going to build this team the right way and with this series, we are telling that story in real-time as it is unfolding."

Added Camillo: "This is a new era for our franchise, and one of our top priorities is for our fans to see what's happening behind the scenes and understand the vision that Jonesy and Danny have for our team. Our fans have made it clear that they want to be part of this rebuild every step of the way, and one of the best ways for us to do that is by giving them an all-access pass during this critical offseason."

Former Flyers in Florida

The Florida Panthers enter Wednesday night just one win away from a spot in the Stanley Cup Final. 

Nick Cousins is an overtime hero, Radko Gudas is a contributing and highly physical presence on their blueline, Alex Lyon caught the hot hand between the pipes to help make Florida's final push into the playoffs in the first place, then Sergei Bobrovsky took over and has been a brick wall ever since. 

Oh yeah, and Aleksander Barkov pulled off a filthy move for a crucial goal in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals that he might have just learned from someone we know. 

There's more to it obviously, like Matthew Tkachuk completely taking over as one of the postseason's best players, but former Flyers are playing a heavy role in the Panthers' underdog run right now and may just push them into the final stage with Florida leading the Carolina Hurricanes in the series 3-0. 

Things didn't work out in Philly for each of them – and each for different reasons – but Sunrise looks like it ended up being the right place, right time for all of them, and in turn, exactly what the Panthers needed for this run. 

Shayne Gostisbehere is on Carolina now too and has been a nice boost to their defensive depth since the trade deadline, but again, the Hurricanes are in a 3-0 hole right now. A high stick he took to the head late in the third period of Game 3 Monday night that didn't get called sure didn't help them there either. 

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