All That Has Transpired: Philadelphia Flyers

We’re going to take a look at each NHL team, breaking down every new addition and subtraction, as well as promising prospects.

Today, we take a look at the Philadelphia Flyers.

By: Andy Hughes (@PensNation_Andy)


Philadelphia Flyers

2013-14 Season: 42-30-10 – 94 points – (3rd Metropolitan Division; 6th Eastern Conference)

After the unfortunate announcement regarding Kimmo Timonen's health issues, the Flyers quickly signed Michael Del Zotto. (Jim Mone/Associated Press)

After the unfortunate announcement regarding Kimmo Timonen’s health issues, the Flyers quickly signed Michael Del Zotto. (Jim Mone/Associated Press)

Free Agents Signed:
D Michael Del Zotto (Nashville)
D Nick Schultz (Columbus)
RW Andrew Gordon (Winnipeg)
RW Zack Stortini (Anaheim)
C Ryan White (Montreal)
C Blair Jones (Calgary)
G Rob Zepp (Europe)
C Pierre-Edouard Bellemare (Europe)

Free Agents Lost:
RW Adam Hall (Europe)
RW Steve Downie (Pittsburgh)
D Bruno Gervais (Colorado)
C Ben Holmstrom (Carolina)
C Kris Newbury (Washington)

Tye McGinn to San Jose for a 2015 third-round draft pick
Scott Hartnell to Columbus for R.J. Umberger and a 2015 fourth-round draft pick

Promising Prospects:
C Scott Laughton
D Robert Hagg
D Shayne Gostisbehere
D Samuel Morin
G Anthony Stolarz

The Philadelphia Flyers were awful at the beginning of last season, starting with a 1-7 record. However, they still finished 12 games over .500 and made the playoffs. Craig Berube, the head coach who was brought in 3 games into last season, hopes his team can improve this season after being knocked out in the first round in 2013-14. New GM Ron Hextall had an eventful offseason in his first year, to say the least. The team traded fan favorite Scott Hartnell to Columbus for R.J. Umberger, who played three seasons with the Flyers from 2005-2008. The team also lost Steve Downie, Adam Hall and Bruno Gervais to free agency. While those aren’t significant subtractions, the Flyers received awful news regarding one of their top defensemen.

Kimmo Timonen, a defensemen who has been with the team since 2007-08, was diagnosed with blood clots in both of his lungs and his right leg. It is unknown if he will ever play again. With Timonen out indefinitely, Hextall quickly signed defenseman Michael Del Zotto to a one-year deal worth $1.3 million. Del Zotto will get a good opportunity with the Flyers as he fell out of favor with the New York Rangers, the team that drafted him in the first round of the 2008 NHL Draft. He made his NHL debut at age 19 and showed some promise at certain points, but has really struggled the past two years. The Nashville Predators decided to not offer him a contract this offseason, which made him a free agent. Del Zotto will have some big shoes to fill with Timonen out. In addition to Del Zotto, Philadelphia signed defenseman Nick Schultz and European forward Pierre-Edouard Bellemare. Bellemare is an intriguing signing and could end up being a nice international find. He registered 20 goals and 35 points in 52 games in Sweden last year. He will most likely start the year on the fourth line.

It appears Brayden Schenn will replace Hartnell on the first line and skate alongside Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek, which could end up being a very productive line. Giroux and Voracek were the top two scorers for Philadelphia last season and Schenn scored 20 goals. All three played in all 82 games as well.  It appears Sean Couturier is going to get an opportunity to showcase his offensive skills this season as he will begin the year as the team’s second line center. He’s been more known for his defensive game, but playing with Matt Read and the always dangerous Wayne Simmonds should boost his offensive production. Two wild cards for the Flyers this season will be veterans Vincent Lecavalier and Umberger. Lecavalier bounced up and down the lineup last season and also had injury trouble. Umberger isn’t the player he used to be, which is why many people were confused by the Hartnell trade. We’ll have to see if the Pittsburgh native has a good season in his reunion with the Flyers.

There is going to be a ton of pressure on the defense this season without Timonen in the lineup. When Chris Pronger was held out of the lineup with his concussion issues, Timonen stepped up to become their top defensemen. Who will now step up in Timonen’s absence? They have plenty of veterans on the blue line such as Mark Streit, Braydon Coburn, Andrew MacDonald, Nicklas Grossmann and Luke Schenn to go along with Del Zotto. This group will need to improve after struggling mightily in the playoffs last season.

Steve Mason and Ray Emery will return this season with Mason as the starter. He had his best season since 2009 last season, which was refreshing for the young goaltender. Emery will obviously be the backup, a role in which he embraced last season when Mason emerged as the starter.

It’s honestly hard to predict how the Flyers will do this season. They have some good young players and veterans, but also have a lot of wild cards in their lineup. The Flyers will need to stay away from the injury bug or they may have some major issues. Mason will also need to have a season like he did last year in order for the team to compete in the playoffs. I don’t see the Flyers finishing in one of the top three spots in the Metro division, but I see them competing for a playoff spot.

Projected Lineup:

Brayden Schenn – Claude Giroux – Jakub Voracek
Matt Read – Sean Couturier – Wayne Simmonds
Michael Raffl – Vincent Lecavalier – R.J. Umberger
Zac Rinaldo – Pierre-Edouard Bellemare – Jason Akeson
Jay Rosehill

Braydon Coburn- Andrew MacDonald
Nicklas Grossmann – Mark Streit
Michael Del Zotto – Luke Schenn
Nick Schultz

Steve Mason
Ray Emery