5 Philadelphia Flyers Players That Must Step Up During the 2013-14 Season
5 Flyers Players Who Must Step Up in 2013
The Philadelphia Flyers missed the playoffs last season, and with the type of roster the general manager Paul Holmgren attempts to assemble each year that is just not going to cut it.
The offense was as potent as ever, ranking 9th in the NHL in goals per game. Jakub Voracek emerged as a lethal goal scorer with 22 goals in 48 games during the lockout shortened season. They also got double digit goal efforts from Matt Read, Wayne Simmonds and their captain Claude Giroux.
The Flyers especially excelled on both ends of special teams this past season, ranking third in power play percentage (21.6) and fifth in penalty kill percentage (85.9). Usually if you don’t give up power play goals and you can score them on your own you are in pretty good shape to succeed.
But as always with this team the issue came down to goaltending. Fans were critical of Ilya Bryzgalov after his first season in Philadelphia where he posted a 2.48 GAA and a .909 save percentage. He followed that up with a 2.79 GAA and a .900 save percentage, very mediocre at best and not what you expect from someone who you were giving $51 million to over nine years.
The Bryzgalov debacle is over, and the Flyers have again decided to retool rather than rebuild in an effort to make another Stanley Cup run. They have talent across the roster, but they are not very deep and they are aging; but that is not to say they don’t have enough talent to be competitive. Here are five players that must step up this season for the black and orange.
5. Matt Read
Read had seven goals in the first 17 games he played last season and scored only four in the final 25. He just signed a four-year contract extension with the team and will be expected to be the top option on the second line this year, hopefully helping to fill the void left by Danny Briere.
4. Scott Hartnell
When the Flyers are clicking on all cylinders, Giroux and Hartnell are magical together on the ice. Last year Hartnell scored only eight goals in 32 games after a career high 37 goals and 67 points the year before. The Flyers need Hartnell and Vorcaek to anchor that top line and take some of the pressure off of the captain.
3. Luke Schenn
The Flyers traded one of their many young forwards in James van Riemsdyk to acquire a young defenseman in Schenn. He was okay in year one with a career high +3 rating but posted only 11 points. With no Chris Pronger and the aging duo of Kimmo Timonen and Mark Streit, Schenn needs to prove he can be a top four defenseman for this team.
2. Claude Giroux
Giroux is one of the most talented players in the entire league, but perhaps the “C” on his jersey got to him a bit last year as he netted only 13 goals. He needs to be extremely productive this season and most importantly he needs to stay healthy, because the Flyers are significantly worse without him.
1. Ray Emery
As always with this team the success will hinge on the play of the goalies. They have the duo of Ray Emery and Steve Mason this year, but Emery is the guy to watch. He was lights out last year, going 17-1 with a 1.94 GAA, but his first go-around with the Flyers (16-11, 2.64 GAA) was also mediocre. Flyers fans are hoping Emery take two is more like last season.