Today, our series continues with three of the top nine Philadelphia Flyers for the 2012-2013 season. These players not only will play a key role in wins and losses, but their individual efforts can help alleviate pressure from the teams’ main offensive attractions.
9. Wayne Simmonds (RW): One of the best ways to score in the NHL is to get the puck to the front of the net, pick up the lose pucks and deposit them into the net. Simmonds was the Flyers best player at doing that, aside from Scott Hartnell. When acquiring Simmonds with Brayden Schenn last off season, the Flyers had faith that Simmonds could do all the dirty work in front of the net. Whether it was screening the goalie, drawing penalties, or depositing pucks, Simmonds did everything that the Flyers envisioned he could do. Simmonds needs to be a key in the Flyers high powered offensive attack, especially if they want to get farther than they did a year ago.
8. Sean Couturier (C): As we have spoken about a lot in these past few posts, youth was key for the Flyers last season and it will play a bigger role heading into 2012-2013 and into the future. Couturier was one of the youngest players in the NHL last season. At 19, Couturier recorded 27 points and played 77 games. He also recorded a hat trick in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The reason Couturier is high up on this list is due to the fact that he thrives on two-way hockey. Couturier was unbelievable in holding Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby to a combined 16 points, which was extremely low for a record-setting opening round. This season coach Peter Laviolette will most likely call upon Couturier even more than a year ago. Look for Couturier to begin to develop into one of the best two-way hockey players in the NHL.
7. Braydon Coburn (D): Injuries, upon injuries, upon injuries. That is what the Flyers blue line has had to deal with over the past couple of seasons, so much so that Coburn has gotten more playing time and has developed into one of the Flyers best defensemen. Last season, Coburn recorded 24 points but he was on the ice for 10 more goals than goals against. Due to injuries, Coburn’s play will be evaluated even more so than ever before. Look for Coburn to thrive under this pressure and continue to develop into one of the better defensemen in the NHL.