As each day passes on, the opening day of the 2014-2015 NHL season gets closer and closer. It is good that the offseason lasts only a couple of months before action picks up again. There are three areas Philadelphia Flyers fans should pay attention to this season coaching, the Flyers young core, and defense.
Coach Craig Berube took over the Flyers three games into the season. Overall, Berube did a great job with implementing his system with short little time. Berube lead the Flyers into the playoffs although it was cut short in the first round against the N.Y. Rangers. The Flyers did not go out of their way with major roster moves this offseason except the Scott Hartnell trade for R.J Umberger. Leaving Berube with pretty much the same team as last season. Berube now has had a full offseason of having full control of the team. We should see some new strategies and tactics on display
The Flyers young core consists of Brayden Schenn, Wayne Simmonds, Matt Read, Michael Rafll, Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek, Sean Couturier, and both Jason Akeson and Scott Laughton if they make the roster. Giroux is the all-star playmaker on the team. Simmonds and Couturier stepped up their play. Simmonds finished the season with career highs 29 goals, 31 assists, and 60 points. 15 of his goals were off the power play. Couturier showed a lot more confidence in his game and became the Flyers best defensive center and also contributed offensively posting 39 points. Schenn and Rafl both signed extensions with the Flyers. Voracek showed that he is a nice compliment with Giroux and can be a top wing. Read is a great penalty killer player and can create offense.
Akeson provides youth to the team and has the potential to be a top 6 player. Laughton is the most hyped up offensive prospect the Flyers have. Laughton is a two-way player who draws comparison to former Flyer and current L.A Kings player Mike Richards. Besides Giroux, Voracek, and Simmonds, any player of the Flyers young core could breakout. Something for fans to watch for.
The defense is the weakest spot the Flyers have. The future Flyers D looks amazing with prospects Robert Hagg, Samuel Morin, Shayne Gostisbehere, and Travis Sanheim. However, it’s the current D that has problems besides a couple players. Were lucky that Kimmo Timonen came back for another year but Mark Streit started to look good towards the end of the season. I am expecting Mark Streit to be more comfortable and preform a lot better then his first season in Philadelphia where he accumulated 10 goals, 34 assists, and 44 points.
I am really interested to see what new tactics during the offseason the Flyers have implemented under Coach Berube. The Flyers have the firepower on offense to be a high scoring team. The Flyers were the 10th highest scoring team in the NHL last season. As for the defense, it will stay the same unless a major injury provides an opportunity for someone to come in. If that were the case, I could see Hagg or Gostisbehere having a chance.
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