Streit. Lecavalier. Emery. Is it enough for the Flyers to contend for the playoffs?
Not playoffs, but the cup.
Having gone out and plucked top names off the–albeit weak–free agent market, General Manager Paul Holmgren is pushing for contention. A Flyers team that jousted for the cup three years ago is reloaded, and ready to challenge in the East.
The Flyers will deploy lines with Giroux, Lecaalier, and Couturier at center. One a top threat currently. One a top threat of the past. One a top threat of the future. Flanking them will be a strong group of wingers highlighted by Scott Hartnell, Wayne Simmonds, and Jak Voracek. On the powerplay, Paul Holmgren has declared that at times Giroux and Lecavalier can play together. A high-scoring line his past season, the Flyers have elevated to a prolific goal output.
Defensively, Philadelphia has acquired a solid blue-line presence. Veteran Mark Streit is sure to add leadership, class, and offense to a static defensive group. Last season, the Flyers defensemen struggled to move the puck efficiently, especially on the power play. In the Islanders playoff series with Pittsburgh, Streit was the team’s second-leading goalscorer behind John Tavares.
In goal, addition by subtraction is the name of the game. The abrupt departure of locker room virus Ilya Bryzgalov has alone improved Philly. The recent return of goaltender Ray Emery brings veteran security to the Flyers, a safety net in goal. The wildcard of the situation is Steve Mason. If he elevates to stardom, the Flyers will become major players in the East. If he falters emphatically, Emery will be waiting to catch his fall.
Without a doubt, the Flyers will be competing in playoff hockey once again, where they belong. The diference is, they an now match Pittsburgh and Boston man-for-man. Philadelphia Flyers hockey is back, and the Stanley Cup is waiting.