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03-14-2013, 08:55 AM
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I love these "the sky is falling threads". Anytime the Flyers have a down year, it turns into a catastrophe for the fan base. It's a little bit like the Yankees, but obviously without all the rings.

Take a deep breath and think for a second. This team is still pretty stacked moving forward. They have some of the best center depth in the league, featuring a superstar in Giroux, a great scoring and physical threat in Schenn on the second line, and a future elite shutdown guy in Couturier on the third line. How many teams can bolster center depth like that for arguably the next five to ten years?

Wing depth is a bit of an issue, but it's certainly not a problem. Hartnell is still young and has shown excellent chemistry with Giroux. Voracek is beginning to show why he was drafted so high in his draft class. At 23, his combination of skill, size, and speed are turning him into a star. Yes, he's that good. Simmonds is everything you want in a second line winger. He hits, fights, and can work people on the boards. It also doesn't hurt that he can pot 25-30 goals a year. Matt Read seems to be forgotten by a lot of Flyers fans, but I think he'll be resigned and continue to shine. He's Mr. Versatility for the team and is the Flyer's version of Patrick Sharp. That's an excellent top six group of wingers that will all be around for at least five years if the Flyers want them to be. After that, the flyers have some guys in the system who will fill out that bottom six winger role very nicely. Laughton and Cousins have both shown the type of grit that you want from guys in those third line roles, and they can both convert from center to winger at the NHL level.

The defense is actually in pretty good shape if they bring in a puckmover or two to help with their already punishing core. Guys like Schenn, Grossman, and Coburn make it tough on any offense with their size, and they can all move pretty well for how big and physical they are. (Yes leaf fans, even Schenn has become a better skater) Mez should be better, and they should let him walk, imo. Gus is still learning and looks like a solid puckmover that should develop nicely into a second pair guy to compliment a guy like Coburn or Grossman. They need a number one, but half the league could say that. My hopes is that a guy like Ghostisbehere develops and they can run three very balanced pairs until they can finally find a guy that can help offset the loss of Pronger (which is the biggest reason why this team is struggling... one injury)

Obviously Bryz needs to be better, but a lot of it comes from the coaching. Lavy needs to go. His system worked when most of the East was still using run and gun systems, but the conference has shifted to more counter-attack systems. They're built to exploit Lavy's gameplan of constant pressure, and often leave Bryz in no-man's land to take it on the chin. A more conservative coach would not only do the entire team wonders, but it would certainly help Bryz get back to his Phoenix form.

One thing being overlooked, is that this team also has a ton of options too. They can clear up a ton of salary if need be. Briere could be amnestied or traded (his contract numbers are great for some teams), Pronger can ride out his career on LTIR, and Bryz could also be amnestied and replaced by a stop-gap if need be until Stolarz is hopefully ready. The salary cap shouldn't be a huge concern moving forward if Homer plays it right.

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