With Mesz lost to injury for presumably the year and Carle gone back to the Bolts via free agency the offensive production from the D took a couple of heavy blows this offseason. Last offseason it was the offense that fans and analysts alike were somewhat worried about. Replacing the production that Richards and Carter had put up year after year was not that big of a problem as it turned out. The young guns that we acquired stepped up in a big way and it didn’t hurt that G had a breakout season in term of point production. This offseason it’s the back end of the team that lost it’s offensive production and I am not convinced that we have the offensive blueliners to keep the pace up. The Flyers lost around 60 points combined between Carle and Meszaros. Not a small amount to replace. The key when attempting to dissect how the Flyers can overcome this point production loss is examining the potential in the Flyers D. Who when given a bigger role can produce more? Last season we saw Simmonds, Talbot and Read come out of nowhere as 3 big point producers for the offense so who can do it for the defense this upcoming season?
First and foremost it is more important that the D be sharp at well playing D more so than scoring. Having said that every solid NHL team across the board has at least one solid offensive defensive that can put up points from the blueline. For the Flyers Braydon Coburn is the number 1 defensemen on the has to step it up list. He put 24 points last season in 62 games. This total put him behind Meszaros’ 25 and Carle’s 38. Coburn was an animal last season in the playoffs. He laid some nasty hits down in the Pens series. We need him to have that physicality in his game this season as well. He also will need to contribute a bit more offensively. I’m looking to see Coby take advantage of getting a lot more powerplay minutes this season so he could get his point total around 35-40. His career high is 36.
The brand new Luke Schenn is next on this list. He’s proved to be physical. He can hit with the best of them. If Schenn is solid defensively and pummels the opposition every game this season I will not criticize him. However it would be of great benefit to the Flyers if he could chip in 30 points. It’s not unreasonable, but is probably shooting too high. So far Schenn has proved to be about a 20 point per season player. The great thing he has going for him is that he is young. Defensemen can develop their offensive game late. I think that he’s going to have a big season for the orange and black.
Last, but certainly not least is the Wounded Warrior – Kimmo Timonen. Kimmo has been roughed up as of late. Injuries have been wearing on him the last few seasons. He has not let his offensive game slip much if at all though. He is a solid 40-45 point producer every season and solid defensively as well. Kimmo will need to really be the man here this season. He is the rock of the defense. The Brian Dawkins of the Flyers. He will need to give all he’s got this season and stay healthy. A tough task for battle tested veteran, but if we know anything about Kimmo it’s this – he don’t complain just does his job.