2013-14 ROSTER CHANGES
OUT: C Daniel Briere; L Simon Gagne; R Mike Knuble; G Ilya Bryzgalov
IN: D Mark Streit; G Ray Emery; C Vincent Lacavalier
LAST YEARS RECORD: 23-22-3 49 points 10th in the Conference; 4th in Atlantic Division
Being in Pennsylvania gives me a slight advantage over my colleagues of getting more press about both the Penguins and Flyers. However, to their advantage, they don’t have to hear what Flyers fans have been cheering about all summer long: A trip back to the playoffs and this time going deeper……Not so fast.
On paper the Flyers look good, especially if they can add Daniel Cleary to their roster. When this past summers off-seasons acquisitions of Streit, Lacavalier, and Emery were made, not only did the Philly press/fans proclaim the Flyers the most improved team in the Conference; they were also looking to be in the playoffs by April. What?! Look again. Tell me if I’m missing something. Three old guys and a starting goalie are gone and were replaced with two old guys and a backup goalie. Now let me define “Old” here. Old by my definition is the amount of games played, so it’s more mileage than it is age. The Flyers have a legit young core, but if Cleary does in fact sign, the Flyers are starting FOUR players with 800 games played or more. Folks Detroit doesn’t even have that many. Only Tampa matches that many in the Conference.
Offense: This is a bright spot for the Flyers. Good amount of goals to spread around and the Flyers should have six players with 20+ goals. Look for Giroux, Voraceck and Simmons to lead the team.
Defense: This needs to be a bounce back year for many players on the defense. Timonen & Luke Schenn cannot do it all by themselves. Streit is no Matt Carle but he will help on the powerplay.
Goalies: Emery had a great year last year. But he’s going from a Stanley Cup team to a team that will probably struggle defensively. Mason should be a decent backup, but should Emery falter the Flyers better look at other options.
Overall: I have to give credit where it’s due: the offense is legit and may steal games, but some of the older players must stay healthy. The defense will be a working progress and goaltending should be decent. Philly is a bubble team as of now. If they fail, look for coach Laviolette to be gone by mid season. Hold on Flyers fans, you’re in for a ride.
UPDATE!!! 11:30am. Cleary just signed with Detroit, for less years and money…..what does that say?