The Philadelphia Flyers are pretty close to signing defenseman Mark Streit to a multi-year deal now that the team has officially announced they will use their compliance buyout on Danny Briere. There is still no word on whether or not Ilya Bryzgalov will also be sent packing, since as of right now the Flyers claim they plan to keep him. Either way, these roster moves are sure to affect the dynamic of the team next season.
Bearing that there are no more impactful roster moves, the core of the team will remain intact. Last season, that core team was unimpressive, so key players will need to step up next season.
So, who will take the lead next year?
Captain Claude Giroux is not going anywhere, but after a disappointing season, he has to show improvement next year. Giroux was quietly making points last season, but he just wasn’t racking up goals like he did the previous year. Was the pressure to be a star in addition to lead as captain in a shortened season too much for him to handle? It is very possible, but next year he cannot make the same excuses. Giroux will definitely try to make up for last season and playing a full 82-game season with a hopefully healthy squad will definitely help him.
Jakub Voracek really stepped up in the shortened season and earned the “player of the week” title for many weeks. He proved to be in it to win it this season, even though the rest of the team struggled. He did well playing alongside Giroux and Wayne Simmonds, so this is definitely a line that should be utilized next season. The fear is that Voracek will flop after a breakout season last year, but if he’s on the right line and has linemates that back him well, he should be equally effective next season.
Simmonds is also expected to be a key player next season, and this is mostly because of how well he’s managed on a line with Giroux and Voracek, and even with Matt Read. Simmonds makes smart moves and appears to mesh well with whatever line he is on. He’s a key player and it looks like the Flyers do not want to part with him.
Read’s name has been brought up a lot in trade talks, and if the Flyers are truly considering acquiring the Los Angeles Kings‘ Jonathan Bernier, Read may be going to the Western Conference. Bearing in mind he does not get traded, Read will also be helpful to the Flyers success next season. He was really strong earlier on this past season and appeared sluggish after his injury. Read could have done better last season, but his injury clearly hindered him as the season dragged on.
The Flyers have a lot of kinks to work out during training camp and the pre-season, but these four players will be key to help getting them back to being the Stanley Cup contenders we all know they can be.