2014/15 Season Preview – Philadelphia Flyers

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/fe/Claude_Giroux_2012-04-13.JPG/800px-Claude_Giroux_2012-04-13.JPG

2013/14 Season Record – 6th in Western Conference, 3rd in Metropolitan Division

W

L OT PTS

GOAL DIFF.

42 30 10 94

+1

2013/14 Season Recap

The 2013/14 season was one of ups and downs for the Flyers and their fans. After a losing start, head-coach Peter Laviolette was fired and Craig Berube promoted to the post. It took a little while for the club to take to Berube’s methods and style, but once they did, they become one of the most dangerous offensive teams in the NHL.

Captain Claude Giroux’s season also took a while to get going, but he lead the Flyers on all fronts, backed by Wayne Simmonds, who had a career year and Jakub Voracek, his line partner.

The Flyers gained playoff status, but fell at the first hurdle against bitter rivals the New York Rangers in Game 7.

Projected Roster

LW

C RW
Brayden Schenn

Claude Giroux (C)

Jakub Voracek

RJ Umberger Vincent Lecavalier

Wayne Simmonds

Michael Raffl

Sean Couturier Matt Read
Zac Rinaldo Pierre-Edouard Bellemare

Jason Akeson

LD

RD
Andrew MacDonald-(Kimmo Timonen)

Braydon Coburn

Mark Streit

Nick Grossmann
Michael Del Zotto

Luke Schenn

G

Steve Mason

Ray Emery

EXTRAS

Jay Rosehill

Ryan White

Nick Schultz

 Top Call-Up Options

Forward  Andrew Gordon/Blair Jones/Nick Cousins
Defense Sam Morin/Shayne Gostisbehere/Robert Hagg
Goal Rob Zepp/Anthony Stolarz

 Top Prospects

  1. Scott Laughton
  2. Robert Hagg
  3. Shayne Gostisbehere

Key Additions

  • Kimmo Timonen (1 year extension) @ $2,000,000
  • RJ Umberger (Inc Trade, 3 years) @ $4,600,000
  • Brayden Schenn (2 years) @ $5,000,000
  • Ray Emery (resigned, 1 year) @ 1,000,000
  • Rob Zepp (1 year) @ $600,000
  • Nick Schultz (1 year) @ $1,250,000
  • Jason Akeson (resigned, 1 year) @  $575,000: 2 way
  • Michael Del Zotto (1 year) @ $1,300,000
  • Ryan White (1 year) @ $575,000: 2 way

Key Subtractions

  • Scott Hartnell (traded)
  • Steve Downie (UFA)
  • Adam Hall (UFA)

Roster Thoughts:

When looking at the Flyers forward lines, the top line is as good as any in the league, based around Giroux and the speed of Voracek and Raffl; the same could be said about the second line with possibly one of the best “power” forwards active in the league, Wayne Simmonds. The third line was critical for the Flyers during the 2013-14 season, often being paired against the opposition top line due to the defensive capabilities of Couturier and Read. But one thing becomes glaringly obvious when looking at the top 4 lines is the lack of any quality or options on the LW.

Going into the 2014-15 season, the Flyers’ defensive options would’ve looked slightly stronger than the previous season, however the injury to Timonen is a huge blow to the hopes of the club. Berube has made it one of his priorities to get the defence jumping on the play and contributing more to the offence, but questions will still remain about their ability when the opposition play a speed game. Many of the Flyers prospects who could break through either this season or next, come in the form of defencemen, Hagg, Gostisbehere and Morin.

Steve Mason has the potential to be one of the best goalies in the NHL, and showed last season that he could steal games for his club. He’ll need to continue that kind of form for this to be a successful season. A good move in the off season by Hextall the new GM was re-signing Ray Emery for another year for only $1m. He provides solid and very able backup to Mason.

Key Player:

Whenever this question is asked regarding the Flyers, the most obvious answer is usually Claude Giroux. However; the Flyers have been notoriously weak on defence for some time, and without key man Kimmo Timonen the Flyers’ defence is significantly weaker.

I personally feel the key man for the Flyers this coming season will be Steve Mason. After his trade to the Flyers, he re-found the form that gained him the Calder Trophy in 2008-09 and really kicked on in his development during his first full season with the Flyers last term.

With the Flyers defence still being very questionable, Mason will have to be at his absolute best throughout this season if the Flyers are to achieve anything.

2014/15 Expectations:

Craig Berube did a fantastic job in reinvigorating the Flyers last season. As that season progressed it was obvious to see the development of the style and intensity he was demanding from his players and that can only become more entrenched in them as time goes on.

Berube and fans alike will be expecting further development from the likes of Couturier, Schenn and Raffl and expecting them to start contributing bigger performances and point totals.

Going into the new season, it can be said that the Flyers are one of the teams in the NHL who apart from player development, haven’t really strengthened their core line up, it could actually be said they go into the season slightly weaker. With veteran Flyer Scott Hartnell traded for RJ Umberger (who contributed 18 less points than Hartnell during last season) the club didn’t address the obvious need for a top LW. This coupled with no real club strengthening moves in the off season and the loss of Kimmo Timonen for what could be a significant part of the season due to blood clots the Flyers will be relatively thin on the ground.

This being said, as last season proved more than anything, this is an incredibly tight-knit, passionate and determined group who never know when to give up. Lead by one of the best players in world hockey, backed up by the top quality of Wayne Simmonds and Jakub Voracek, who both will be expected to contribute heavily, as well as the consistency of Matt Read, Sean Couturier and Brayden Schenn, who again, will be expected to contribute significantly more than previous seasons the Flyers do have the offensive to trouble any team in the league.

As to how far this team can go? I’d expect the Flyers to be very competitive in the Metropolitan division and to make the playoffs, but this year I’d fully expect the club to make more of an impact in the playoffs than during 2013/14.

Follow James on Twitter, and while you’re at it follow Ice Nation UK for all the best hockey talk!

RECENT ARTICLES:

26 comments

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s