GDHQNHL15_2pg-Philadelphia Flyers 1

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Offense An example of the Flyers’ issues here is that the acquisition of left wing R.J. Umberger—for popular Scott Hartnell—is an expected upgrade, even if Umberger scored only 34 points (18 goals) last year. The Flyers did exceed the league average in goals scored last year, but they still averaged under three a game, and that’s not enough for a team that has aspirations beyond the first round of the playoffs. There is no denying the talent of center Claude Giroux, whose 86 points led the team last year. Giroux is a strong scorer and an excellent set-up man on the Flyers’ first line and has the ability to manufacture offense in a variety of ways. He’s a tough player, despite not being overly big, showed his clutch play with seven game-winners last year, and he is clearly the team’s top man. Second-line winger Wayne Simmonds brings a great combination of scoring pop (29 goals) and power to the equation. He’s great on the power play (15 goals) and has the ability to bull his way through and around enemy defensemen. Seventh-year wing Jakub Voracek had his best year as a pro in 2013-14, particularly because he notched a career-high 39 assists. He’s a strong presence on the outside who can play well at both ends. The Flyers spent a lot of money on Vincent Lecavalier last year, but he disappointed. He scored 20 goals but had a team-low minus-16 rating. Lecavalier scored eight times on the power play and had a shot percentage of 15.2, best on the club, but he wasn’t a strong two-way player. Despite Lecavalier’s presence on the second line, Brayden Schenn may be moving ahead of him in the club’s perception. He had his best year by far in ’13-14, scoring 20 times and looking like someone who could produce even more in the future. Veteran Matt Read is another reliable producer on the outside. Defense The Flyers received some bad news over the summer when veteran defenseman Kimmo Timonen, a blue-line stalwart, was found to have blood clots in both lungs and his leg. Timonen had wanted to play one final season with the team, but this puts his future in significant doubt, even though he has overcome clots previously during his career. Although the 39-year old Timonen was no longer on the first line, he still was still sixth on the team in assists last year and had a plus-five rating. The top blue-liner in Philadelphia is Mark Streit, who was fifth on the team with 44 points last year and had a plus-three rating. Braydon EASTERN CONFERENCE METROPOLITAN DIVISION Wayne Simmonds Philadelphia FLYERS Key Additions: LW R.J. Umberger; D Michael Del Zotto; D Nick Schultz Key Subtractions: LW Scott Hartnell; D Erik Gustafsson; D Andrej Mezaros Strengths: Scoring depth, lack of size, penalty kill Weaknesses: Power play, defense Len Redkoles/NHL/Getty Images


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