Flyers Season Preview

Discussion in 'HFNHL Talk' started by Mandaou, Oct 9, 2005.

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  1. Mandaou

    Mandaou Registered User

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    Season Preview - Flyers

    Perhaps the team should change their name to the Philadelphia Morphs! The faces on the Flyers lineup continue to change as the GM finds the right ingredients for a serious Stanley Cup run.

    Eight new starting roster players were brought in via the trade route, while 10 have left. A few of the key acquisitions are Sheldon Souray, Andrei Markov, Scott Gomez, Anton Volchenkov and Ray Whitney. However, despite the high profile acquisitions, critics point to the fact the team still lacks a superstar player who will carry the team during critical junctures in games.


    Forwards

    The Flyers continue to be deep at centre, although some of the faces have changed. Jason Arnott returns centering the 1st line. Arnott’s big body and strength could make for a career year in the new HFNHL. Scott Gomez acquired in the off-season will be the #2 centre. The smaller, quicker and faster Gomez provides a change a pace from Arnott. A GM favourite, feisty Mike Fisher will be the 3rd line centre. Rounding out the middle of the ice is Stephane Yelle whose main role will be as a defensive specialist.

    Great Expectations……Simon Gagne. After a year off, Gagne is healed and should be ready to take his game to the elite level. In fact, for the Flyers to make the playoffs and proceed deep in the playoffs, Gagne must reach superstar status. Veteran Ray Whitney was picked up in the off-season for a mid-round pick. A salary dump by Ottawa, Philly was happy to oblige although his salary could hamstring the team going forward. Super Pest Vaclav Varada fills out the LW. The gritty forward is not expected to contribute much offensively but will be counted on PK and to create some problems for the top players on the opposing teams.

    A huge problem for the Flyers remains on the right side. How bad is it? Scott Mellamby is projected as the #1 RW. Yikes!!! Mike Grier and Turner Stevenson are nice 3rd and 4th line wingers but one of them will be the second line winger. The Flyers must upgrade this position.

    Defense

    At the start of the summer, this looked like another problem area for the Flyers. A series of trades has solidified the group as the lineup now features a nice blend of veterans and youngsters. Defensive specialist Mike Rathje and offensive defenseman Sheldon Souray lead the group. Andrei Markov provides a nice blend of both and appears ready for a breakout season. The GM believes that his latest acquisition (Markov) is going to pay huge dividends for many seasons to come. The A-Train, Anton Volchenkov brings his hard-hitting style from San Jose, who’ll be teamed up with rugged veteran Shane Hnidy. Andrei Zyuzin will round out the top 4. Zyuzin a former #1 pick has been a disappointment but the Flyers believe they can resurrect his career.

    Goaltending

    Dominik Hasek is well past his prime but the Flyers hope that his still good enough to ride him to the playoffs. Hasek has worked out with a personal trainer for the first time in his career and appears fit and motivated.

    Backing up Hasek is Arturs Irbe. The diminutive Latvian is a capable backup but his salary will motivate the Flyers to find someone else to spell Hasek. Pascal Leclaire is still a year away. The team is praying that Dominik does not sustain a prolonged injury or their season could be lost.

    Player to Watch

    Sheldon Souray. When the Flyers traded for Souray they envisioned a puck moving, hard shooting defenseman who could log a lot of ice time and quarterback the powerplay, which has been one of the worse in the league for years.

    Waiting in the Wings

    Pascal Leclaire enjoyed a strong training camp and could be signed to backup Domink Hasek if Arturs Irbe falters. Leclaire is agile, quick and technically sound. Consistency is the only thing holding him back

    Needs

    The Flyers can do with the right-wingers they have although an upgrade is needed. The bigger problem is goaltending. Expect the Flyers to offer their #1 pick or a top prospect for a #1B goalie to backup Hasek and provide insurance if he gets hurt.

    Where They’ll Finish

    A lot depends on Dominik Hasek. This team is good enough to overcome their weakness on the right wing but is not good enough to overcome average goaltending. The Flyers make the playoffs but will not win home ice advantage in the first round.
     
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