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07-27-2013, 03:27 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: London Ontario
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1. By season's end, the top line of Lecavalier - Giroux - Voracek will be one of the most potent offensive lines and will score some points. Giroux leads the way with 103 points (32 goals, 71 assists); Voracek shows that the past year and half was no fluke and not only puts up a point per game, but also scores 40 for the first time in his career (42 goals, 43 assists for 85 points); Lecavalier has a career rebirth in Philadelphia as he's not straddled with the captaincy or unrealistic expectations that have been on him his entire career and scores a point per game as well (31 goals, 42 assists for 73 points).

2. Brayden Schenn emerges as an offensive force and secures the second line center position with a 62 point season (28 goals, 34 assists). Matt Read plays on his right side and puts up a career best 57 points (24 goals, 33 assists) while Wayne Simmonds cracks the 60 point mark (31 goals, 29 assists).

3. Scott Hartnell is moved to the third line with Sean Couturier and rookie standout Jason Akeson and the trio become one of the most unlikely third line combinations in the league. Couturier puts up a Selke caliber season by posting 44 points (17 goals, 27 assists) and leads the team with +/- of 31. Akeson goes on to have a very good debut by posting 34 points (14 goals, 20 assists) while Hartnell gets back to the 45 point mark (23 goals, 22 assists)

4. Ben Holmstrom returns from a devastating ACL injury and centers the fourth line with wingers Zac Rinaldo and Max Talbot. The trio go on to score only 30 points as a collection, but they place with a fierce intensity and abrasiveness that isn't matched by any team in the league. They become the new version of the old crash line and make their presence felt all season long.

5. Sensing no need to rush him into the lineup, Scott Laughton is returned to his junior team, where he goes on to post a 85 point season in Oshawa and is a standout at the World Junior Tournament. Free agent signee Michael Raffl only gets into a handful of games this season as he hasn't been able to crack the deep Flyers lineup.

6. Kimmo Timonen will no longer be the top pairing defenseman in Philadelphia. Age and wear and tear have finally caught up with him, but he excels in the second pairing role with Nicklas Grossmann. Timonen still puts up a very respectable 38 points (9 goals, 29 assists) while playing less than 20 minutes a night. Grossmann bounces back from concussion issues and plays a full 82 game schedule and becomes more of a positional player than a fierce checker. Grossmann only puts up 7 points, but his defensive play still allows Timonen to contribute offensively and lighten up a bit defensively

7. Erik Gustafsson and Luke Schenn end up becoming the top pairing defensemen in Philadelphia. Schenn plays over 25 minutes a night and leads the team in even strength and PK time. Schenn also comes into camp his lightest he's been in his career and his effort is rewarded with occasion power play time and a career high 27 points (5 goals, 22 assists). Gustafsson really takes flight after his world championship performance and not only plays a solid defensive game, but ends up becoming a top power play guy. Gustafsson puts up a career high 47 points (8 goals, 39 assists).

8. The third pairing is also the most expensive pairing in the league. Mark Streit's offensive game is still in place as he puts up a team best 51 points (11 goals, 40 assists) mostly from the power play, but his defensive game leaves a lot to be desired as he's the only defender on the team with +/- in the - range. As a result, Streit is relegated to power play duty and light even strength ice time with no penalty killing work involved. Coburn starts out the season slowly and rumours start circulating that he's being shopped around the league. Coburn has a serious heart to heart talk with Derian Hatcher, Chris Pronger and Kevin McCarthy when he's made a healthy scratch and the three of them get through to him. Coburn realizes he'll never be a puck carrying defenseman capable of playing outstanding two-way hockey, so he focuses on the defensive side of things and becomes a premier shut down defender. He and Schenn are the lead penalty killing duo and they also play in the last minute of a lead. Coburn goes on to have a very good 60 games of the season. While he only scores 17 points (6 goals, 11 assists), Coburn finally understands his role on the team.

9. None of the prospect defensemen (Alt, Manning, Lauridsen, Lamarche) crack the lineup, but will be called up during points of the year. However, in a 15 game stint, Mark Alt really opens up the teams eyes with his play and when he gets sent back to Adirondack, he dominates down there. With regards to the top three defensive prospects, the following occurs: Samuel Morin does not receive an invite to the WJC team tryouts in December and playing with a chip on his shoulder already, that chip becomes heavier and meaner. Morin ends up scoring 44 points (8 goals, 36 assists), but more important, he becomes the meanest defenseman in all of junior hockey and a standout defensive presence. Robert Hagg has a great year in Europe and at the WJC tournament, he is voted the top defenseman of the tournament and scores 9 points in seven games. Hagg is also voted defenseman of the year in the SEL where he scores 7 goals and 21 assists in 46 games. Gostisbehere ends up as a Hobey Baker finalist after leading Union to the frozen four. In his final season before turning pro, Gostisbehere puts up 11 goals and 37 assists for 48 points.

10. A goaltender finally emerges and after suffering through adversity for the past few years, Steve Mason finally gets his game back on track. Mason appears in 51 games and sports a record of 33 - 14 - 4 with a 2.41 GAA, but more important, a .927 save percentage. Ray Emery makes a nice return to Philadelphia and in 31 games, he puts up a record of 17 - 7 - 7 with a 2.52 GAA and .917 save percentage. Both goalies are rewarded with new long term deals. Mason gets a 4 year, $17 million deal while Emery gets a 3 year, $7.2 million deal.

Of course, this is the absolute best case scenario. I've been accused in the past by others of being overly optimistic, but I think it's very possible that this club can push the 300 goal mark by season's end.

As well, I also feel comfortable with the goaltending. I think Emery knows that he can't be a starter in the league anymore, especially with his hip. However, he was instrumental in helping Crawford along and I think that's the kind of thing the Flyers have been lacking for years - a veteran who can help younger goaltenders along. The fact that he and Mason get along is a great thing. There's no adversarial relationships or anything like that. It's a great mix. As for Mason, he's done a few things to turn his game around. He's gotten rid of all the bad influences he surrounded himself with. He's bought into the team concept and he's bought into what coaches are telling him. He was a headstrong kid who won some hardware in Columbus and he thought he knew it all. He had to sink and be exiled before he put things together. He gets it now and he gets that he has a rare opportunity to prove himself again. I'm expecting a monster year from Mason and I think Emery might be just that guy who can continue to get through to him if Reese can't.

I'm excited for this year. I feel really good about this club and that they're going to surprise a lot of people. I still think they're one real good defenseman away from being a legitimate Stanley Cup contender, but this is going to be a tough team to play in the playoffs.

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