Thread: Improved teams
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07-18-2012, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Pantokrator View Post
It seems to me that when I look around the league, none of the strong team really improved much. In fact, it seems that many took a step back. Detroit lost Lidstrom, Pitt lost Staal, we lost Jagr and Carle, Boston lost Thomas, et al.

Dallas and Minnesota have improved greatly, but these teams were on the outside last year. In the old days, it seemed like every year the good teams/rich teams improved the most. I am a pessimist, but it seems that the Flyers' losses might not hurt them too much because of the losses of the other teams.

I was wondering what the consensus was as to which teams improved the most and how that will effect the Flyers ability to make the playoffs.
I don't think the Flyers got worse. The Flyers had spots to fill and players internally are going to be given a chance to fill those slots. For instance, with Jagr leaving, that gives Voracek a chance to play on the top line. When you consider that Voracek scored 48 points last year playing between the second and third line, I think there's a good chance that Voracek can add an additional 10 to 15 points to his point totals playing with Giroux and Hartnell. As for the second line, Briere will move to the left wing, Schenn will stay at center and Simmonds goes to the right side. Let's also not forget that Simmonds scored 28 goals while playing less than 17 minutes a night. With Simmonds probably getting 18 to 19 minutes a night of ice time, there's no reason to believe that he can't add to his totals and that 30 to 35 goals aren't out of the equation.

The third line will probably be Talbot / Couturier / Read. Couturier showed great chemistry with both guys at different times last year and I think this can be a line that will also produce offensively. I see Couturier's numbers going up and I see Read's numbers also improving. As for Talbot, he was a great scorer in junior and while he was never given a scoring role in the NHL, he also showed last season he can put the puck in the net.

In terms of the fourth line. It will be what it will be. Fedotenko / Holmstrom / Wellwood should give teams fits. There's a lot of grit on that line, there's a lot of defensive awareness and with Wellwood, there's more than enough speed to make up for what Fedotenko may have lost.

As for the defense, losing Carle's minutes hurts. No doubt about that. But with a healthy Meszaros and a rejuvenated (and lighter) Schenn, there's no reason to believe that this group can't be relied upon. On top of it, if the Grossmann / Coburn pairing can remain effective, that really lightens the load for Timonen (which is something the Flyers desperately need).

I mentioned previously that the Flyers off season was addition by subtraction. They could afford to let certain guys walk because they had the players internally to fill the spots. I don't see a set back by the club at all. This was a club that was expected by many to barely qualify for a playoff spot last year. This club will remain competitive and I think they might be a little tighter defensively this year. That will certainly go a long way.

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