Philadelphia Flyers 2013-2014 NHL Season Preview and Predictions
Someone might want to tell Philadelphia Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren that continuing to sign aging veterans to expensive, long term contracts is exactly what you shouldn't do when you're trying to improve a team.
In some circles, the signings of Vincent Lecavalier and Mark Streit have been lauded. While they should help the club out in the short term, it's difficult to see how these deals will be any good when they're all said and done. Streit is a very good offensive defenseman, but he was brought in by a Philadelphia club that needed to bring in one who excelled on the other end of the rink. No one questions Philadelphia's ability to score goals, but defensively they're just going to be lost on the back end. Niklas Grossman will be a constant defensive presence for a club that has numerous question marks.
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Offensively, they'll be fine, especially if Scott Harnell returns to form. The addition on Lecavlier gives the Flyers even more depth up front and there's still the possibility that Simon Gagne is brought back as well. Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek, and Wayne Simmonds should give us the production we've come to expect, but Philadelphia needs to see more development from their young players. Sean Couturier has proven to be a shut down defensive center early on in his career, but they'd like to see him give them a little more in the offensive zone this year. Brayden Schenn and Matt Read will also be leaned on to give them some production when the other guys just aren't going.
With Sergei Bobrovsky bought out in the off season, the Flyers are going to go with a tandem of Ray Emery and Steve Mason in net. I'm not sure why, but there are actually people out there who think this combination can get the job done. Mason is still young and has plenty of talent, but he has a lot to prove. Emery benefitted from playing on a dominant club that had a competent defense in front of him. That won't be the case in Philadelphia this year, so expect Emery's numbers to regress mightily from last year.