48 games. Fewer than 90 days, this is playoff hockey, but for an entire season. With the lockout shortened season starting Saturday vs the Penguins, the Flyers look to go deeper into the playoffs this year after losing to the Devils in the second round last year. The Flyers lost Jaromir Jagr, James van Riemsdyk, Pavel Kubina, Sergei Bobrovsky, and Matt Carle. They added Luke Schenn, Ruslan Fedotenko, Kurtis Foster, Bruno Gervais, Danny Syvret, and Brian Boucher. One would think the Flyers offense may be a downgrade with the losses of Jagr and JVR, but the truth is the Flyers young talent will easily make up the production. I also believe that people are really underestimating the defense. Our third pairing contains Nicklas Grossmann, who I believe is one of the most underrated D men in the game. He can single handedly shut down teams at times. The only liability I see is Kimmo Timonen, but being paired up with Luke Schenn will help minimize his size concerns. Second year players Brayden Schenn, Matt Read and Sean Couturier are in line for breakout seasons, especially since they have already been playing in the AHL. Schenn, as of now is looking like Jagr’s replacement on the first line, and Couturier will center the Flyers 3rd line and play on the penalty kill and power play. Also, Jakub Voracek will continue to improve as he has each season, and I believe he can develop into one of the better play-making forwards in the Atlantic Division. The Flyers lines and statistical projections: G for goals A for assists.
Luke Schenn (2 G 8 A) Kimmo Timonen (4 G 18 A)
Nick Grossmann (1 G 6 A) Kurtis Foster (6 G 5 A)
Ilya Bryzgalov (38 GS 22-12-4) 2.45 GAA .908 SV%
Brian Boucher ( 5 GS 2-1-2) 2.5 GAA .900 SV%
Michael Leighton (5 GS 1-3-1) 2.7 GAA .895 SV%
I believe the Flyers will end up 25-16-7 for 57 points, which will be good enough for a top 4 seed in the playoffs. The Flyers will score a TON of goals because of their scoring depth on the first 3 lines and because of the short rest period, young legs will be favored and will thrive. Giroux, Schenn, Voracek, Couturier, Read, Simmonds, Wellwood, and Rinaldo are all less than 25 years old. The brisk pace of this season will favor the Flyers relative to other teams who have an older core. ‘
I believe the Flyers can make a cup run this year, BUT only if Bryzgalov can take them there, because like a QB, an NHL team only goes as far as their goalie takes them.Tags: 2013 Season, Andrej Meszaros, Brayden Schenn, Braydon Coburn, Brian Boucher, Bruno Gervais, Claude Giroux, Danny Briere, Danny Syvret, Eric Wellwood, Ilya Bryzgalov, Jakub Voracek, Kimmo Timonen, Kurtis Foster, Luke Schenn, Matt Read, Michael Leighton, NHL, Philadelphia Flyers, Ruslan Fedotenko, Scott Hartnell, Sean Couturier, Wayne Simmonds, Zac Rinaldo