First Look: Your 2013 Philadelphia Flyers

Claude Giroux is the expected Captain this yearWith the lockout finally over, our Philadelphia Flyers will be back on the ice in two weeks. With the first game likely being January 19th vs the Penguins, we have 12 days to analyze our roster and predict what the future holds. The Flyers are coming off a second round exit to rival New Jersey Devils, after one of the most thrilling series in NHL history vs the Penguins. Claude Giroux was among the points leaders for the entire playoffs, and he only played 11 games. The only major roster changes this year are the losses of Jaromir Jagr to the Dallas Stars, and James van Riemsdyk to the Toronto Maple Leafs. With those departures we welcome defenseman Luke Schenn, and grinder Ruslan Fedotenko to the already strong core the Flyers boast. Here is a look at the projected lines and roster for this season.

Forwards

1st Line: Claude Giroux centers Scott Hartnell and Jakub Voracek

2nd Line: Danny Briere centers Wayne Simmonds and Brayden Schenn

3rd Line: Sean Couturier centers Matt Read and Ruslan Fedotenko

Checking Line: Maxime Talbot centers Eric Wellwood and Tom Sestito (or Zac Rinaldo or Jody Shelley)

Defense

Kimmo Timonen and Braydon Coburn

Andrej Meszaros and Luke Schenn

Nicklas Grossmann and Erik Gustafsson (or Bruno Gervais, Marc-Andre Bourdon, or Brandon Manning)

Goaltenders

Ilya Bryzgalov and Michael Leighton

With a short season, likely with few days off, expect to see a lot of movement in the lines, and a lot of healthy scratches to rest players. Expect to see a lot of Phantoms players brought up to play. Some of the names we could see are Matt Ford, Ben Holmstrom and Tye McGinn up front, and some depth defensemen like Brandon Manning or Danny Syrvet. A name I think Flyers fans should keep an eye on is a big defenseman from Denmark named Oliver Lauridsen. A source close to the situation has told me the Flyers brass is high on Lauridsen, and think he can be a top 6 defenseman before too long. At 6″6 220 lbs, he is a Chris Pronger sized monster, and if he can pan out which I believe he will, it will be huge for this organization going forward.

Flyers fans should also keep tabs on Cal Heeter and Niko Hovinen, our young goalies in the AHL, as they can possibly get a few games in this year, barring injury or poor play.

Expect the Flyers to be one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference yet again, but beware, the Rangers are for real this year, and the Penguins still have two of the top players in the NHL. Expect the Flyers to end up as a 4 or 5 seed this year, but with a top 3 point total.

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Josh Collacchi

Josh is what we like to call a "4 for 4" Philadelphia sports fan, who lives in northern Delaware. Season ticket holder to the Phillies and former season ticket holder for the Eagles, Sixers, and Flyers. Currently attending Wilmington University majoring in Business/Sports Management. He works for the local utility company but, as most of us, his real passion is Philadelphia Sports. Follow him on Twitter @JCollacchi