Where would all the offense come from? Now were going to have to rely mainly on our defense and goaltending. Those were the kind of statements being thrown around at the beginning of this season. Actually beginning right after the Carter/Richards deals. I don’t need to tell anybody who watched the team last season that the Flyers offense was clicking on all cylinders just about all season long. The powerplay was stellar also. When the season wrapped we were clicking at a 19.7% clip on the pp. That was good for 6th in the league. The one thing most people do not realize is that the Flyers were not led in scoring by Mike Richards or Jeff Carter 2 seasons ago. They were led by one Claude Giroux. And guess who led them in scoring this season? G. The only difference was he put up 17 more points going from 76 to 93. The last season Ritchie and Cartsy were here they each had 66 points each which was tied for 3rd on the team in scoring. Last season Birddog stepped up big time and put up 67 points. A big jump from the 49 he got the year before with Ritchie and Carter. The Richards and Carter deals no doubt put a visible dent in our offense, but when that dent was examined further it turned out to be nothing more then a scratch.
Overall the Flyers lost 9 goals between this season and last scoring 258 last season and 249 this season. Not as drastic of a change as what was first thought. The reason for this is because extended ice time for most of our players helped their performance. Even the rookies when given the time produced well. Eric Wellwood had 12 points in 24 games. That’s running at a half point per game clip in just 24 games. Not bad for the young guy. The Flyers had numerous players with career seasons last year. Simmonds and Voracek are two that come to mind right away. Simmer had a career high in points this season with 49 points and Voracek was one point shy of tying a career high with his 49 points. Jake did however set a new career high in goals with 18. These 2 guys stepped into this offense like they were born to play in it. High tempo. Heavy forecheck. These 2 players thrive on this type of play and if they survive the offseason still in orange and black I expect them to have even better seasons next year.
The rookies were another huge reason our offense didn’t fall off last season. Sean Couturier, Matt Read and Brayden Schenn combined for 49 of the Flyers 249 goals. That’s great production for rookies to chip in. Matt Read’s 24 goals alone were very impressive. Simmonds was a force on the pp causing all kinds of havoc in front of opposing netminders. He’s tough too remember the goal he scored off his face? Great fighter also. Every time he throws down I feel like I’m about to watch a boxing match. As for Schenn I don’t believe we fully saw him blossom last season. I think he is one of these players that benefited mightily from the extra ice time he received this season. Laviolette rewards ice time by jam and Schenn had some great bursts of it last season. He will need to be more consistent this season if he is given a bigger role on the offense. If he is not he will get lost in the deep list of forwards, but I expect full invigorated effort from him this season especially with big bro around now. Couturier, as we all know, was just a beast last season and during the playoffs. His shut down of Malkin in the first round is something to be remembered. As long as he keeps improving his offensive skill the kid is going to be a stud. That’s the part of his game I look for him to get better results from this season.
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