Last Season – The Flyers finished 5th in the Eastern Conference with a 47-26-9 record. They won an epic battle in the first round against the Penguins, before falling to the New Jersey Devils in the second round.
Ready to Step In – Erik Gustafsson played 30 games last season, and could stick full time this year as a defensive defenseman. He had 5 points, but more importantly was plus +12.
Look For A Bounce-back Season From – With a 109 point season, there isn’t many players who had an off year. However for the Flyers, wishful thinking would see a dramatic return by Chris Pronger, but the concussion woes he is experiencing will likely end his career.
Upside – The success the Flyers had last season came with 8 rookies playing 30 or more games, including mainstays Matt Read, Zac Rinaldo, Sean Couturier and Brayden Schenn. With another year of experience, they will be that much better as a group.
Downside – You get the feeling that Sergei Bryzgalov is one wrong turn away from a complete implosion. He is good, and for the most part stable, but cracks in the armour have reared their ugly head at times.
2013 Prognosis – With the arms race between the Rangers, Penguins and Flyers brewing, winning the division will be vital. While the winner will get a top 3 seed, the remaining 2 could end up in a 4-5 seed first round matchup. The Flyers want to avoid that at all costs, since they didn’t have much left in the tank after the Penguins series.