After a long summer, it's finally time to say goodbye to the offseason.
It's that time to see new faces, learn new numbers and cheer for your Philadelphia Flyers again!
The Flyers open up the 2013-14 season tonight against the Toronto Maple Leafs hoping to start fresh after their disappointing 2013 season. Philadelphia failed to make the playoffs for just the second time in the last 18 years, despite having high expectations. The Flyers struggled all season to keep the puck out of their net as poor defense and lackluster goaltending kept them from reaching a .500 record all season, until the final game, finishing with a 23-22-3 record.
Philadelphia was also riddled with injuries throughout the season. 14 of the Flyers regulars missed some time during the season and only 2 players played in all 48 games (Claude Giroux and Jake Voracek). They also dressed more players due to injuries than any other team in the entire National Hockey League when they suited up 39 different skaters including 4 goaltenders. To put that into perspective the LA Kings dressed 26 players in the 48 game season.
So the offseason proved to be a busy one for Flyers GM Paul Holmgren as he attempted to addressed each issue via trade and free agency.
- The Flyers have completely revamped their mindset on goaltending. After 2 disappointing seasons playing for the Flyers, Ilya Bryzgalov was bought out of his nine year contract.
- Steve Mason, former Calder Trophy winner (rookie of the year) was picked up at the trade deadline.
- Then 2013 Stanley Cup winner, Ray Emery was signed as a free agent.
- The two goalies will play as a tandem while fighting for a number one role since both are only signed to one year contracts.
- First GM Paul Holmgren traded for the former captain of the New York Islanders, Mark Streit. Streit will bring speed, offensive talent and leadership to Philadelphia.
- Next the Flyers resigned Erik Gustafsson in the offseason as he earned his place on the team last season when he was called up from the AHL and stayed with the big club for the remainder of the season (27 games). The man they call Gus averaged over 20 minutes per game (only 4 Flyers averaged more).
- Finally the Flyers invited 2009 Stanley Cup winner, Hal Gill to training camp. Following the camp, Philadelphia made it official by signing the 6'7" 250 pound defenseman. Gill will serve as the 7th (or possibly 8th) defenseman and will bring size, toughness, stability and leadership to the Flyers.
- The toughest loss for the Flyers came when they were forced to buy-out all around good guy and fan-favorite Danny Briere. Philadelphia was handcuffed by his hefty $6.5 million contract, therefore used their compliance buy-out on Briere to free up space. Danny Briere was picked up by Montreal.
- To replace the 14 year veteran, the Flyers went out and signed another 14 year veteran and Stanley Cup winner Vincent Lecavalier. In his 14 year career, all spent with the Tampa Bay Lightning, Lecavalier, who was also captain of his team, scored 383 goals and 874 points in 1037 games. Lecavalier will bring size, leadership and most importantly points. Lecavalier, minus the shortened lockout season, has scored 20+ goals in 12 straight seasons (including a 40 and 52 goal season) and 49+ points in 11 of his last 12 seasons.
- The Flyers will also give 2012 first round draft pick Scott Laughton 9 games to make the team before they must choose whether to keep him for the rest of the season or 'slide' him back to his Canadian junior team. Laughton, who will start on the 4th line, brings speed, grit and an excellent shot to the team.
Jake Voracek (upper body injury) was injured during a preseason game but GM Paul Holmgren said he is better and will start in tonight's game.
Claude Giroux was injured in August and had surgery to repair his right index finger after tearing some tendons in a freak golfing accident. Giroux has recovered and is 100%. He will also start on Wednesday night.
Flyers 2013-14 Opening Day Roster (23)
Claude Giroux, Scott Hartnell, Jake Voracek, Vincent Lecavalier, Wayne Simmonds, Brayden Schenn, Sean Couturier, Matt Read, Max Talbot, Scott Laughton, Zac Rinaldo, Jay Rosehill, and Adam Hall.
Kimmo Timonen, Luke Schenn, Mark Streit, Niklas Grossmann, Braydon Coburn, Andrej Meszaros, Erik Gustafsson, and Hall Gill.
Ray Emery and Steve Mason
New Things to Learn About the NHL
The NHL made a few changes to the game this season that will effect the Flyers.
The NHL changed the conferences and divisions, moving a few teams around. The Flyers, previously in the Atlantic division are now in the Metropolitan Division with 7 other teams: New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins, New York Islanders, New Jersey Devils, Washington Capitals, Carolina Hurricanes and the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The NHL has adopted 'hybrid' icing. The simple explanation of this is: it it no longer a race to the puck for icing, but rather it is a race to the faceoff dot. If the defender wins the race, it is deemed icing; if the forward wins the icing is cancelled.
The depth behind the net will be 4 inches shallower and the curves on the side of the nets will lose 1 inch on each side. On top of that the angles of the posts which meet the crossbar will change to close to a 90 degree angle.
New Flyers and Numbers
- 21 - Scott Laughton
- 29 - Ray Emery
- 32 - Mark Streit
- 40 - Vincent Lecavalier
- 75 - Hal Gill
The Philadelphia Flyers will open their season tonight, Wednesday, October 2nd, against the Toronto Maple Leafs (who won their opener yesterday against Montreal) at 7:30 PM at home.