The Philadelphia Flyers’ 2013-14 Report Card
Coming into this season, plenty of Philadelphia Flyers fans felt as if they were short-changed during the 2012-13 season, and rightfully so. After all, it’s not too often that a season is cut in half and teams are forced to play virtually every other day.
Though the end result this season was little better than last year’s, many people are still disappointed by it. That however, depends on how you look at things. With expectations set high coming into the season, yes, it was slightly on the disappointing side, but considering the start the Flyers got off to, I’d say the conclusion was definitely built on a positive note.
Offensively, the Flyers finished on a pretty solid foot. They were the only team in the NHL with seven players who scored 20+ goals, possessed a center who’s up for the MVP award and finished eighth in the league for goals per game (2.84). They did however, lack some speed. Michael Raffl found himself being forced to play on a line he naturally was built to play on, but because he’s got speed, he fit on the line. Speed at the forward position is definitely something Philadelphia should address during this offseason. For the offense, I give them B. Overall, it’s strong, but there are a few little punctures to fill.
Defensively, oh boy, where to start. To make a really long story short, it didn’t go their way at all. Kimmo Timonen, a crafty and experienced, yet declining player, just isn’t a good fit for the Flyers’ need for speed at the point. He was coming off a contract year, so it’s hard to put all the blame on him. Mark Streit was a fantastic signing and the addition of Andrew MacDonald was a smart play also, but the teams negligence towards Erik Gustafsson was probably a bad move. Philadelphia was 19th in league for shots given up per game (30.6). Defense is without question, the primary focus going into the offseason. The defense gets a C, and that’s being generous.
Goaltending was probably the most stable part of the Flyers’ game this past season. Steve Mason flashed signs of ability early and throughout the season. And Ray Emery did a solid job filling in when he was needed. Philadelphia did finish in the middle tier of teams for goals given up per game (2.77), but a large part of that was due to a struggling defense. It’s a big relief for the Flyers knowing that they won’t have to head into the offseason worried about a goaltender. Goaltending gets a B+. Mason looks fantastic, but he still has room to grow. That essentially means he’s only going to get better.
Special teams was another strong feature for the orange and black this past season. Philadelphia finished eighth in league on the power play (19.7%) and seventh in the league on the penalty kill (84.8%). Wayne Simmonds anchored the Flyers on the man advantage, finishing third in the league for power play goals (15). Despite struggling in those areas during their playoff run, the Flyers won’t really have to address that part of their game. If anything it will get better with stronger additions. Special teams gets a hard earned A.
As said before, considering the lousy October they had, the end result was pretty good. The team made the playoffs after missing them last year and finally found a reliable goalie. With all that being said, I give this year’s squad a B-. For the most part, the Flyers are in pretty good shape and, while there’s not a whole lot to address, the concerns they do have are big ones.