A season after missing the playoffs for the first time since
2006-07, the Philadelphia Flyers were back in the postseason last year. They
were knocked out in the first round, in seven games against the New York
Rangers, who would go on to lose in the Stanley Cup Finals.
R.J Umberger – LW Scott
Hartnell – LW
Michael Del Zotto – D Steve
Downie – RW
Nick Schultz – D Hal
Gill – D
Ryan White – C
Blair Jones – C
Craig Berube took over for Peter Laviolette three games into
the season and coached the Flyers to a 42-27-10 record. Heading into the
2014-15 season the Flyers are mostly the same team except they will not have
Scott Hartnell after trading him to the Columbus Blue Jackets this offseason.
Hartnell spent seven seasons with the Flyers, but was traded for R.J Umberger
and a fourth round pick this summer. Hartnell had become a mainstay on the
top-line with Claude Giroux, but it looks like that will be Wayne Simmonds or
Matt Read’s spot this season.
Giroux is an elite playmaking centre who got off to a slow
start last season, but after being snubbed from Team Canada, he went on to lead
the league in points with 29 (9G / 20A) in 24 games after the Olympics. He is
surrounded by quality talent. The aforementioned Simmonds scored a career-high
29 goals last season. He also added 31 assists and 106 penalty minutes, which
makes him a valuable all-around player. If he lands on the top-line with
Giroux, 35 goals becomes attainable. Another impressive stat about the
26-year-old winger, is that he has only missed nine games through his first six
Jakub Voracek is one of the Flyers’ most dynamic offensive
threats. He has speed for days, a strong shot and he is a feisty competitor. He
has flourished the last two seasons while playing with Giroux, and has 25-goal,
40 assist potential. Don’t forget about Vincent Lecavalier. He is getting up
there in age and his minutes have dropped considerably, but he can still pot 20
The rest of the Philly lineup is loaded with young talent.
Read is 28, but only has 196 games of NHL experience. If he gets top-6 minutes,
he is a 25-plus goal candidate.
Brayden Schenn, 23, scored 20 goals and 21 assists in 82
games in his second full NHL season. With 192 games under his belt, expect
20-20 seasons to become a trend with loads of upside. Sean Couturier, 21, just
finished his first full year as well. He is already one of the best two-way,
shut-down centres in the NHL.
On the blueline, the Flyers may have lost one of their best
defensemen longterm. It was already shaping up as Kimmo Timonen’s last NHL
season, but this offseason he had to be treated for multiple blood clots in
both lungs and right leg. He is out indefinitely with no timetable for a
return. That leaves you with Mark Streit and Andrew MacDonald to man the fort.
Streit will be 37 in December, but age does not appear to be slowing him down.
He has not missed a game in four seasons while averaging nine goals and 37
assists (46 points) per 82 games over that span. MacDonald had a career year in
2013-14, but did not produce that much after being acquired by the Flyers. He
had 24 points in 63 games on Long Island, but just four assists in 19 games
with Philly. The Timonen situation prompted the Flyers to sign Michael Del Zotto, who should help pick up the slack on the power-play. He has regressed
over the last few years and may be a defensive liability at times, but
offensively he will help.
Between the pipes the tandem of Steve Mason and Ray Emery is
back this season. Last year Mason sort of resurrected his career. He finished
seventh in the NHL with 33 wins, while posting a 2.50 GAA (25th) and .917 SV%
(21st). He is the clear number-1 over.
Season prediction: The Flyers will finish fourth in the
Metropolitan Division, qualifying for the playoffs for the seventh time in
View the Flyers’ entire roster and cap space heading into
the 2014-15 season.