Regular Season: The Flyers fell well short of expectations last season, as they have one of the more talented offensive corps but they had problems in their own end. Their goaltending issues of the past continued to haunt them, and although Ilya Bryzgalov was not terrible, he was a distraction to the team.
Playoffs: The Flyers finished 10th in the Eastern Conference, 6 points out of the playoffs.
Ready To Make The Jump: F Jason Akeson
BIG 3 FACTORS
1. Rolling The Dice In Goal: After long suffering goaltending woes, including anteing up a huge contract to Ilya Bryzgalov, the Flyers are going to try to make a go of it with the 2nd lowest cost committed to goaltending in the league. Emery and Steve Mason combine for a cap hit of $3.1M (half of what it would have been with Bryzgalov in the fold) they had to go cheap due to cap restraints in front of them. Emery should have the inside track on the starters job, in his second go-around in Philly, after the first one was abruptly cut short by the hip injury that nearly ended his career.
2. Forward Thinking: The Flyers let some veterans walk, such as Briere, Knuble and Gagne, essentially replacing them with Lecavalier. Hopefully for their sake, the change of scenery will let the former superstar get back or at least near to the level he was 5 years ago. He doesn’t need to be “the man”, but he is an important piece to the puzzle that is the Flyers success.
3. Blue Crew: With Chris Pronger‘s return improbable, the Flyers went out and signed veteran Mark Streit to help on the blue line. With Striet and Kimmo Timonen, the Flyers have a pair of similar defenseman, both smallish, aging but still productive, for now. Braydon Coburn and Luke Schenn are two players who have size and offensive potential that need to step up their all-around game for the Flyers to make some noise.
PROGNOSIS: Overall, the quality of this team is too good to miss the playoffs once again. If Emery (or Mason, if he wins the job) is simply consistent it will mean a playoff berth. If the goaltending is good, the Flyers will compete for a top seed, and if they are very good, they could battle with the Penguins for the division title.
PREDICTION: 3rd Metropolitan Division
We have been and will be previewing every NHL team ahead of Training Camp which for most teams will begin on Sept 11th. As a twist, we will be unveiling our teams in reverse order to how I predict they will finish in the standings. Here is the schedule (you can click on a team name to see the preview for that team):
|1||Sept 9||Sept 8||Sept 7||Sept 6|
|2||Sept 5||Sept 4||Sept 3||Sept 2|